In 1939 when Steve Hale, Jr. was a student at Georgia Tech, he visited Vero Beach, Florida during a Spring break. While exploring this beautiful little town for the first time, he met an elderly man who opened up a whole new world for him. This person, because of his poor health, had moved south from New Jersey to Vero Beach and started his own mail order fruit shipping business. Proudly showing Steve around his small packinghouse, he gave Steve a sample of his fresh, just picked, tree-ripened fruit. Steve had never tasted oranges and grapefruit so sweet and juicy. Before leaving to go back to school, he found out that Vero Beach was located in the very heart of the Indian River citrus belt, even then known for growing the best tasting Florida Oranges and grapefruit.
Inspired by this visit, Steve decided that if an elderly man in poor health could establish and operate a business like this, a young energetic person could surely be able to do the same. Right then and there he made this his goal. However, this dream had to be postponed.
Upon graduating, in 1940, with a Mechanical Engineering degree and a commission in the U.S. Naval Reserve as an Ensign, and since war seemed inevitable, he volunteered for active duty. Upon completing his service in 1946, he immediately headed for Vero Beach,Florida with his wife, Polly, and two small children.
Polly and Steve started their Indian River fruit business by renting a small fruit stand located along the side of U.S. Highway # 1. Their home was their office and they used a shed behind their house for packing fruit. Their first mailing list was made up of names of all their relatives and friends. Another continual source of new names came from customers stopping at their fruit stand to enjoy fresh squeezed orange juice. Many bought fruit to take home with them, and ordered baskets of fruit to be shipped to relatives and friends up north. Names of recipients receiving these gift baskets provided additional new names as well.
Steve picked the fruit, packed it in their shed, and trucked it to the Railway Express Station. Polly, in addition to caring for the children, manned the phone, answering questions and taking fruit orders. In the evenings, they shared the tasks of taking care of the children, writing gift cards to be inserted in the fruit baskets, and typing the shipping labels.
From this small start, Hale Groves has grown rapidly for over a half a century. Acknowledged as being one of Florida’s leaders in the gift fruit industry, it has become a national company shipping Florida oranges, grapefruit, honeybells, specialty fruit and other products throughout the United States and Canada. As in the beginning, Hale Groves has always guaranteed complete satisfaction to their customers.
Hale Indian River Groves is located in Indian River County near Vero Beach and Wabasso, the very heart of the famous Indian River Citrus Belt — a relatively small but premier citrus producing area in Florida.
We are fortunate in having dedicated associates who take pride in doing their part in enhancing the good reputation of Hale Groves.
Hale Groves is fortunate to have a special combination of rich soil, ample water supply, and moderate climate – very rarely reaching a freezing temperature. All this, combined with our modern grove management, are contributing factors that make our oranges and grapefruit the juiciest and best tasting you will find.
Our motto is: The freshest and best tasting. Guaranteed.
We are looking forward to the opportunity to serve you.