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Aloha and Welcome to My Website!

I am an Associate Broker, Realtor® with Long Realty West Valley, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate.
I specialize in real estate sales in Arizona West Valley Golf Retirement Communities.
I have Bachelor of Science Degrees in Chemistry and Biology and a Masters Degree in Business Administration with Project Management concentration.

As a year-round Sun City Grand resident and full-time Associate Broker Realtor®, I can help you buy and/or sell real estate in the golf retirement communities of Sun City Grand, Sun City West, Corte Bella, Arizona Traditions, Sun City Festival, PebbleCreek and Trilogy at Vistancia.
Buyers and sellers receive what they desire when selecting me as their estate agent:
an experienced, dedicated, well-educated, professional local Realtor® who specializes in real estate in Arizona golf retirement communities.


What's Happening


Consult any Arizona history text, and you’ll quickly learn of the 5 C’s, each of which played a critical role in Arizona’s rise.  They are of course climate, cattle, copper, cotton and citrus.  If you thought one of the 5 was the football team the Cardinals,  read this article quick!  Sadly, like Rodney Dangerfield, our “Big 5” seldom get the respect they deserve.  This is most notably true of citrus.  Why one of these worthy fruits has even been relegated to a euphemism. Most of us have at one time or another, in disgust at an inferior product (a car I owned comes to mind), rolled our eyes and grumbled “Boy, it’s a lemon.”  Ironic, because a 100 years ago an Arizona miner or cavalryman, plagued by the then common vitamin C deficiency disease of scurvy, would have danced a rickety gig of joy at seeing one of these yellow fruits, exclaimed, “Oh boy, a LEMON!,”  and probably forked over a week’s pay for one of these curative back then rare beauties.  Today, with one in 3 homes in the Valley of the Sun sporting a citrus tree in a side or back yard, we routinely under-rate the blessing.


Citrus has been a gift not only to Arizona, but the world, for 3000 years.  And talk about a gift that keeps on giving, over time. A single mature lemon tree can produce 500 to 600 lbs. of lemons a year. Records date the first cultivated  citrus trees to areas around Southern China, Burma (Myanmar) and Northern India.  With trade, citrus worked its way south. Tangerines, a variety of Mandarin orange, are named for Tangier, Morocco, from which the fruits were first shipped to Europe.  As early as the 15oo’s Portuguese and Spanish explorers brought citrus to the Americas, first to the West Indies, then Mexico, Brazil and Florida.  It would take another 200 years for citrus to work their way north to here.  They came with the faith. We can thank Spanish Missionary Father Eusebio Kino who in his tough trek north, was Arizona’s “Johnny Appleseed” of citrus.  He planted the first tree here in 1707. Orange and lemon trees would grace many a mission courtyard or hacienda garden.  But it would take 150 years and a far more worldly father, founding father of the City of Phoenix, Jack Swilling, to “up the ante.”  He saw the potential if abundant sun could meet water and seed, and acted on it.


 Swilling  surveyed and identified ancient Hohokam irrigation canals (of local interest, one of these ran from the Hassayampa River near Wickenberg to what is today Phoenix, closely paralleling what is today Grand Ave.).  He formed a water company.  Old canals were repaired, reconstructed, inter-connected.  Lines now diverted the Salt River.  Other canals soon followed, most notably William J. Murphy’s “American” Canal, build between 1883-85, which further redirected Salt River flow.  Now there was enough water to nurture not just small pioneer home gardens, but full scale commercial crops.  Murphy successfully planted 1800 orange trees in Ingelside.  Soon there were commercial trees in Mesa and then Yuma. By the mid 1890’s over 1500 acres were into citrus production.  The limiting factor was now not water, but transportation costs. In 1928 this was solved with the formation of the Arizona Citrus Grower’s Association.  A co-op was able to facilitate what an individual farmer was not.  By the 30’s citrus was now Arizona’s leading cash crop, beating out barley, wheat, corn, squash, beans, peppers, and even cotton. In 1935,  more than 1.2 million boxes of grapefruits  were produced. Commercial citrus farming continued a steady upward growth till it peaked around 1970 with some 80,000 acres in production.


Ironically, the catalyst for the demise of one of Arizona’s formative “C’s” came at the hands of another of it’s founding “C’s,” climate.  It was not only crops that craved the sun and prospered in it. In the 60’s, savvy developers (like Del Webb) tapped into this and connected the nation to “affordable sunshine.”  “Snowbirds” flocked in in droves, and bought in, encroaching on and whittling away at Arizona’s most productive farming acreage.  I am one of those snowbirds, now firmly planted in Sun City Grand, smack dab in the middle of one of those purloined acres. As I write I am hydrating on a lovely icy grapefruit spritzer.  Curious, I just snuck a peek at the fine print on the can. It was imported from California. I’m part of the reason, part of a dynamic changing Arizona history.


Today only about 20,000 acres scattered across the state remain in commercial citrus production.  In 1985 there were 12 citrus packing plants in the Phoenix area. Today there are none. The last packing facility, in Mesa, closed in 1910.  Real estate values had far outstripped crop returns from the same lands.  Arizona’s contribution to the citrus market, though now a ghost of it’s former self, is still a significant factor to our state’s economy, to the tune of about $37,000,000.  But that won’t last.  Population grow will continue, as will production costs, and competition (yep, from California, as well as from Texas and dominant Florida, and now strongly emerging foreign growers like Brazil and Australia). A devastating new pest, the Asian Citrus Psyllid, a tiny insect about the size of the tip of a ball point pen, but with a lethal outcome dubbed “Yellow Dragon Disease,” has already destroyed 10% of Florida’s citrus industry, and has now been detected in some trees in Lake Havasu, and our most productive remaining commercial citrus area, Yuma. And lastly, the water issue: as green growing thing go, citrus trees require a lot of water, and everything reliant on water in the West is “on notice.”  Maybe my tongue-in-cheek remark early about the Cardinals trumping one of our original “C’s” may be prophetic.  When part of our state seal no longer shows an orchard, but replaces it with University of Phoenix stadium, remember you read it here first.


All that said, if like me, you harbor one (or more) of Arizona’s citrus trees in your yard, here are a few tips to make that endangered beauty flourish.  Citrus trees do take a lot of water, but need time to dry out between watering.  DO NOT drip water daily or even every other day, as this causes salt buildup in the soil and creates an ideal hot/moist environment that encourages “root rot” disease. In the summer, water once every 2 weeks. During prolonged extreme heat, a weekly watering may be required.  In winter, you can go 3 to 4 weeks between watering.  Best months to plant new trees are Oct., March, or April. Fertilize Feb., May and early Oct.  Use a fertilizer specific for citrus, about a half a cup (about a handful) for small trees, up to a cup or two for big ones. Citrus trees seldom need to be trimmed. In fact, low hanging branches help protect the trunks, which are susceptible to sunburn. That is why you often see the trunks of citrus trees here whitewashed. Consider the paint Sun Screen lotion for the tender trunk.  


A little historical aside: perhaps you wondered how or why Englishmen were once referred to as “Limies.”  As mentioned early in this article, early pioneers were often stricken with scurvy, especially during long ocean passages from old world to new, or in the “outposts.”  Early on, English medics recognized that juice from citrus fruit seemed to prevent or help cure this scourge, so packed crates of limes on the manifests of British ships. Hence the name.  In case you are wondering, one lemon will give you a full day’s dose of Vitamin C.  However, 33% of that is in the rind (outer skin of the fruit), which many just discard.  Don’t. Zest and dry it.  I like mixing a dried zested blend from a variety of citrus fruits (lime, lemon, grapefruit, tangerines, oranges) all together with a coarser good quality salt ground on the coarse side, and then adding fresh finely diced and then dried rosemary from my garden (it grows great here).  Its fun to experiment with other herbal blends. Italian seasoning is nice. So too is oregano, even a touch of sage. The same “designer” blends from a high end culinary shop will run you from $15 to $40.  Do it yourself and it’ll be fresher and less than a tenth the cost. The resultant blend is aromatic, keeps well, and is absolutely delicious on chicken, fish, soups and stews. And it makes a great personalized gift. So, “Give me a ‘C.’” Bon a petit.  Now run off and see what you can find about the other 4 Arizona “C’s.”  We’ll compare notes in future blogs.                                                    

Sun City Grand Resident,

Anthony De La Torre

Phoenix Retirement Communities blog
Sun, 24 Jan 2016 04:17:01 +0000
5 C’s, each of which played a critical role in Arizona’s rise: climate, cattle, copper, cotton, citrus and now the Cardinals. Last week I harvested our citrus trees, which prompted me to write about the history of and importance of citrus to Arizona. Enj ... [Read More]
The year they banned Christmas
Sun, 24 Jan 2016 04:05:53 +0000
Being expatriated Washingtonians, one small daily ritual my wife and I cherish is our morning cup of Starbucks.  It’s a small thing, but not. Somehow it rejuvenates us, and braces us.  Whatever the day will throw, we’re ready. But one recent day I looked ... [Read More]
As 2015 Ends
Fri, 01 Jan 2016 03:14:34 +0000
As I sit back to reflect on 2015, I am so grateful for all the people I have in my life. Its been quite a journey for me, full of ups and downs. I’ve seen lots of happiness, illness, deaths and life challenges. Thank you for the friendships, many of ... [Read More]
December 31, 2015
Fri, 01 Jan 2016 02:07:09 +0000
As I watch the last sunset of 2015, it just feels appropriate to acknowledge all that we experienced in 2015.  The Good, the not so good, the in between and the stuff we never want to experience again. As we begin our clean slate of 2016, let us first be ... [Read More]
Trick or Treat ?
Wed, 02 Dec 2015 04:43:45 +0000
It’s October already!  We slip into the month of pumpkins. Where I come from the leaves would be at peak turn, nights now crisp with a whiff of warming wood fires in the air.  Little goblins and goblinettes would be thinking already of Halloween costumes ... [Read More]
Copyright © 2007 Leolinda Bowers™. All Rights Reserved.
Leolinda Bowers
Long Realty West Valley
Ph: (623) 937-5701Fax:(623) 321-1117
Surprise, AZ 85374 US
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