The Indian River Select® Brand is built on a rich history of Florida citrus in an area that produces some of the most amazing fruit on the planet.
Learn more about the Indian River area and see why our founder, Cliff Burg chose this area and these fruits for our select, 100% pure Florida juices.
The Legend of Indian River Citrus
Florida sunshine, sabal palms swaying gently in balmy tropical breezes. Here, on the east coast of sunny Florida, there flows an ancient coastal river… “Indian River”. Over time, nature has created a rich, fertile, narrow strip of land known today as “The Indian River Citrus District.” Here, this perfect combination of year-round sunshine, tropical rains and fertile soil produces the finest citrus in the world.
For over a century, the Indian River Citrus District has been famous for growing the most luscious, sweet-tasting fresh citrus available! Only oranges and grapefruit grown in this rich, fertile area can be labeled Indian River Fruit.
What makes our juice so special? We take the center cut of the Florida citrus harvest, using only mid to late season oranges and grapefruit, picked at their peak. Then process them in small runs, to a higher standard (brix), thus giving our juice a richer, sweeter, fresher taste. Many consider Indian River Select® Brand to be the best juice they have ever tasted.
Meet our Founder, Cliff Burg: The Western Warrior
Developer and businessman Cliff Burg transforms South Florida living.Perhaps you live in one of the more than 12,000 four-unit condominium buildings, apartments or homes constructed by Clifford Burg. Maybe on your breakfast table there’s a bottle of orange juice by the Indian River Select® Brand, a company created by Burg. Or maybe you’ve passed by Trailside, Martin County’s first upscale equestrian community, also developed by Burg.
Either way, there are few people in Martin County who helped transform South Florida’s living and drinking habits more than this hard-working, colorful Florida native.
Growing up in the section of western Palm Beach County known as Loxahatchee, Burg, 68, came from a family of citrus growers. His father worked the groves while his mother packed citrus, back when each individual orange or grapefruit was carefully wrapped for shipping up north or west. His mother also had a citrus nursery, and Burg often helped where he was needed.
In the early ’50s, however, the citrus industry changed. The buyer was interested in orange juice concentrate – greatly impacting the packing houses and encouraging Burg’s father to change careers. He went into building.
“That’s how I evolved into being in the building business,” Burg says. “I don’t know if there’s a connection from working the land to developing it, but you certainly have an appreciation for the land you have or are working on.”
Burg attended Palm Beach Junior College (now Palm Beach Community College) and became more and more involved in the building industry, working as a carpenter with his brother, Norman. They were building homes in the Boynton Beach and Lake Worth area when an engineering friend asked them to build dormitories for the college. The brothers were building other larger buildings when their uncle, who was working for developer Otto “Buzz” DiVosta’s father, was asked for a recommendation for home builders. The brothers were named, and the Burgs were soon building for the DiVostas.
“I wore out the wheelbarrows and shovels. I was in charge of that,” Burg says with a laugh.
Soon, Burg and his brother gained a reputation for high-quality structures – they would build the foundation and complete the heavy work, and Buzz DiVosta would finish up with the rest of the construction. When they developed a fast-building method of constructing four-plex condominiums, first in Palm Beach Gardens and then throughout southern coastal Florida, the builders officially paired up. They first formed Shell Construction, later renaming the venture the Burg & DiVosta Corporation. Burg even moved into their first four-plex unit, where he was living when he met his future bride, Sheri, who he married in 1980.
“We kept our prices low, and we did a lot of the building in-house with our own plumbers. We were our own electrical contractor, and we developed the land,” he says. “That’s a little unusual, but we could maintain our quality, cost, control and schedule.”
With this method of building, Burg and his partners built around 12,000 housing units from Fort Lauderdale to Port St. Lucie, including The Bluffs in Jupiter. They built and sold with remarkable speed. With reasonable prices and a location next to the water, they sold 1,000 units in two days with prospective home buyers camping out for the deal
“We had a backlog, but we had a great staff and great craftsmen,” he says, adding that by then he was wearing out “his tires” instead of wheelbarrows.
In 1989, he sold his share of the business to DiVosta, who continued to build until he sold the company to Pulte Homes a few years later. Meanwhile, Burg focused on land planning and developing, including projects such as Harbour Pointe near Martin Downs and the 20-acre ranchette, Trailside.
Burg also brought Box Ranch to western Martin County, with more than 6,000 acres of citrus and cattle. When much of his grove suffered from the canker outbreak a few years ago, he developed some of that property, too. Today, it is called the Sunlight Ranch and Saddle Club, and it’s home to the first annual Women’s Arena Polo Series (February through May 2010), which Burg organized himself.
In the mid-90s, Burg also decided to go back into the citrus business now that consumer tastes wanted fresh, not-from-concentrate fruit juices again. In 1996, he struck a deal with Publix to carry his Indian River Select® Brand juice.
“We’re in about 3,500 stores, and we focus on very high quality in our orange and grapefruit business,” Burg explains. “We do a very good job on O.J., but we have one of the premier grapefruit juices.”
When he’s not working his ranch or overseeing his juice company, Burg and his wife spend much of the year on their ranch in Wyoming, where they journey into the mountains on backpacking trips. With the children grown, they also enjoy spending time with their 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
“I really enjoy the time period in which I grew up. I got to see Florida as it was and got to be a major part of the building of Florida and the citrus industry,” says the Jupiter Island resident. “My wife says, ‘When are we going to retire?’ I guess I have to slow down and do a little more fishing.”
Still, Burg says he has “all the bad habits you can get, except golf,” so even though he is as busy as ever, he makes time for hunting, fishing, diving, traveling and skiing. His horseback riding style is typical of the Old-Florida ranching man he’s always been: Western, complete with a saddle horn.
STORY BY SUZANNE WENTLEY
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DIANE DULTMEIER