The History of The Ultimate Citrus Page Internet Site
Revised April 23, 2001
The Ultimate Citrus Page, Ultimatecitrus.com, is a portal to the world of citrus on the Internet. The following is a short history of how I came to establish The Ultimate Citrus Page.
My first introduction to the Internet was when I signed up with America Online (AOL) in 1994. Besides sending e-mail, I used it to keep up with the weather and news. The first web page that I published was my personal home page in 1995, basically to have an index of my favorite links available whenever I logged onto the Internet, making it my default "start" page for my web browser. I started by adding links to my favorite weather sites, since being a citrus grower, you have to keep track of the weather. I then searched for and added all the available sites related to citrus. Since there was very little on the Internet at that time related to the citrus industry, all these links, including the weather links, only filled about one printed page.
I then decided, that I would create a web page so other citrus growers could use the same links that I had collected. (Even though, very few growers had access to the Internet then.) Thus, The Ultimate Citrus Page <http://www.ultimatecitrus.com>, was born in 1995, as an index for growers. I soon expanded it to also use it as a generic image marketing tool to help enhance the image of the Florida citrus industry and to promote Florida citrus products, both fresh and juice. Since orange juice is really a commodity, anything to increase consumption should help all growers. (At that time, the Florida Department of Citrus had no marketing presence on the web, although their economic department at Gainesville did have some citrus economic information available.)
The Ultimate Citrus Page is basically an index of all other web pages related to the citrus industry. It is a jumping-off place for the World Wide Web of citrus. It originally contained links exclusively to Florida Citrus related web sites, but now includes links to over 18 foreign countries plus California, Arizona, and Texas. It has grown from a one printed page list of links to what now is over 70 printed pages, including citrus recipes that I have collected. When I first began, there were no citrus organizations with web pages. I placed the first citrus organization on the Internet when I created the Gulf Citrus Growers Associations web page, a page that I continue to maintain today. (I am a director and chairman of the Community Relations Committee of Gulf Citrus.) Other web pages that I maintain include the DISC, Decision Information for Citrus web site, of which I am a member, Burnette and Associates web page, which markets citrus related gift items including citrus crate label books and calendars, the Florida Science Source web site, and the Citrus Administrative Committee's web page. I also originally developed, but subsequently turned over responsibilities to others, the Florida State Horticultural Society's web page.
Today, The Ultimate Citrus Page has links to 20 citrus organizations. Before I created my citrus page, there were only a handful of gift fruit shippers online. Now I have links to 86. I also have links to 26 fund-raising and 23 commercial shippers who have web sites. There are links to over 70 companies that supply products to the citrus industry, including agri-chemicals, software specific for the citrus/agriculture industry, equipment and other supplies. Plus I have many other links to citrus related information for growers, students, and consumers. To date, The Ultimate Citrus Page index page has received over 211,000 hits, averaging about 300 unique hits per day. All pages together receive, on average, over 1,000 hits per day.
Many of the ideas on the site stem from the many e-mail questions I receive from all over the world by people in the trade, growers, consumers, and students. Gift fruit operations and other citrus related enterprises send me e-mail asking to have their new web site listed on The Ultimate Citrus Page. They, in turn, often place a link back to my page as a reference for their customers to find out more information about citrus. (I do not charge for listing links, but do take banner ads.) Having a good background in citrus horticulture and citrus marketing, I am able to answer most of these questions. I quickly became the citrus "expert" of the Internet. If I dont know the answer, I usually try to point them in the right direction. I also answer many questions from students doing science fair projects on citrus subjects via e-mail. Answering these e-mail questions averages about an hour per week of my time. I believe that this service helps people to think positively about citrus and the citrus industry. Thus when I help a door yard citrus grower with their citrus tree at home, they might remember that when they go to the polls and vote on an issue that will help agriculture rather than hurt us. They may also go out and buy more orange juice.
I received so many questions about how oranges are harvested and processed, that I decided to write "The Story of Florida Orange Juice - from the Grove to Your Glass". I took pictures of the entire process, scanned them in, and, along with the text, uploaded them to the Internet. I can't count how many times students of all ages, including graduate students, have asked permission to use the article as a source for a research project that they are working on. This article is now linked from several Florida Department of Citrus web pages, and several educational sites.
I currently maintain, my personal home page and The Story of Florida Orange Juice on my personal AOL account. As of November, 1998, I registered the domain name of ULTIMATECITRUS.COM and have now moved The Ultimate Citrus Page to www.ultimatecitrus.com to make it easier for web surfers interested in the citrus industry to find my web site. I create most of my own graphics using a graphic program called CorelDraw® and then export them in GIF or JPEG format. I use a freeware program called AOLPress® to publish my web pages and then upload them to the AOL server or to ultimatecitrus.com by FTP. I probably average about 30-60 minutes a week updating The Ultimate Citrus Page, basically as a hobby. I usually update the index when someone sends me an e-mail requesting that I add a link to their web site. I also periodically use various search engines to find new sites related to citrus, or I occasionally see an advertisement in a industry print magazine for a company that has their new web site listed. I truly enjoy maintaining it as a service to the citrus industry.
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by Chet Townsend.
This page was last updated on February 1, 2011 by Chet Townsend.