November 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to the November Edition of my newsletter. Please feel free to reply with a comment. I am always looking to improve on the content for my subscribers.

Also, visit my website to view my listings, search for properties, or to enjoy one of my archived newsletters and stories on Florida History.

Wishing you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving!

Planning to have a wild turkey for Thanksgiving? 
Interestingly enough, the bird found in the Sunshine State is a breed apart, one for the science books. That's right, there is a Florida turkey (Meleagris gallopavo osceola), which is different from the Eastern turkey or the Rio Grande turkey.
Early Spanish explorers marveled about the abundance of the Florida turkey, mostly along the Caloosahatchee River, Homosassa River, Kissimmee River and Myakka River. But the bird was most apparent elsewhere too.

In fact, A.W. Schorger, in his comprehensive and weighty volume, The Wild Turkey: Its History and Domestication, states that "within a single state, turkeys can live in so great a variety of habitats that it is impossible to define habitat succinctly. . . . The general statement has been made that the Florida turkey thrives in a mixture of heavy hardwoods and open pasture."

In 1892 one Florida turkey weighed in excess of 70 pounds, although the average weight of males is from 18 to 20 pounds, females, from 6 to 10 pounds. Then there's the matter of the wild turkey's innards, which can digest just about anything, even walnuts complete with shell. Experiments have shown that a wild turkey's gizzards can crush just about anything, including hollow cubes of lead.

There's no sure-fire way to detect the age of wild turkeys, whether from Florida or elsewhere. What with their caruncles and beards, they all look old. And they can live as long as 10 years. Even in captivity in Washington's National Zoo they've been known to hang on for as long as 6 years 8 months. The only clue to a real old bird is in the piece de resistance, with the breast meat tougher than leather.

Forget about determining the sex of the wild turkey. Color and size, the usual yardsticks for birds, won't always be good clues, although one expert writing in 1956 swore by a method in which turkey droppings were measured. Of course, it's easy to find out who's who by listening to the birds during the spring, when there's a whole lot of gobbling going on.

The gobbler, or male, blurts out a gil-obble, obble, obble, quit, quit, cut, with the hen uttering a cluck, cluck, keow, keow, keow. However, there are variations on this theme, which run from goo-goo-goo and puttt-puttt- puttt-puttt to queet, queet, cuick, cuick, cuick and cuionk, cuionk, cuionk. To the untrained ear the sounds may be simply gobbledygook.

Years ago someone started the legend that wild turkeys were the highlight of the first Thanksgiving in America. But that's a lot of historical dressing. There was more venison on the table because several Indians advised Colonists not to eat the fowl because its offensive qualities might be infectious. For example, New England Indians observed that the wild turkey was a real sloth, weighing as much as 60 pounds. What was worse, the bird appeared to be a real dummy. It was 100 percent a creature of habit, doing the same thing each day, even sleeping in the same place at night.

If a hunter got one on the roost, the others would remain undisturbed, fair game for the hunter who wanted more. Indians also pointed out that while wild turkeys appeared to fight one another, sometimes all day, there was no evidence of a single death from combat wounds. However, some fat birds succumbed to combat fatigue.

The wild turkey has been smothered in other truths and myths. It was called turkey for the reason that its strange looks seemed foreign, and no country was more foreign in early modern times than Turkey. Historically, the biggest consumer of wild turkeys hasn't been man but other birds as well as foxes and bobcats. There's even evidence of a turkey being devoured by an alligator as it ventured to a stream -- perhaps for a big drink of water.

Finally, word has it that the birds aren't clear thinkers. They often get confused. In flight they have been known to crash into windows, as in Asheville, N.C., in 1902 and in Winslow, Ill., in 1961 or to run into telephone wires and the sides of buildings.

If, after all these ruffled details, a Florida wild turkey still sounds good for Thanksgiving, then bon appetit!

Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity’s
“23rd Annual Turkey Trot"!

5K Run/ Fun Walk
Thanksgiving Morning November 25th

See more:
Did America’s First Thanksgiving Actually Happen In Florida And Not Plymouth Rock?

Let's view this theory with some fast facts:

Historical documentation and textual records lead historians to believe that Florida was discovered and settled by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León in 1513.

In 1565, Pedro Menendez de Aviles founded the city of St. Augustine at the Timucua village of Seloy, the oldest city in America.

Massachusetts was first settled by the Pilgrims in 1620. Although sailed by before then, had no established colony until Plymouth Colony in 1620.

Can you connect the dots with that?

After St. Augustine was founded and claimed by the Spanish, Father Francisco Lopez, the fleet’s captain, performed a Catholic mass of thanksgiving to say grace for their safe arrival and founding of new land. The ceremony was held around an altar with the estimated 800 new colonists aboard the fleet and the Timucua tribe looking on.

Menedez then extended an invitation to the tribe, and they all enjoyed the celebratory meal on September 8, 1565

University of Florida professor emeritus of history Michael Gannon wrote in his book “The Cross in the Sand” that this communal gathering was the first of what we now celebrate every fourth Thursday of November. “It was the first community act of religion and thanksgiving in the first permanent settlement in the land.”

Citrus Spotlight
Florida anticipates high-quality crop thanks to favorable growing conditions
Despite U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts for a smaller production of all oranges and grapefruits this year, Florida citrus growers said favorable growing conditions and favorable weather are resulting in a strong, high-quality Florida citrus crop.

“We are excited about this season as we are off to a great start,” said Al Finch, president of Dundee, Fla.-based Florida Classic Growers. “The color of the fruit is exceptional, especially the Florida navels.” 

Doug Feek, president of Fort Pierce, Fla.-based DLF International, said supply is close to what it was last season, but overall fruit quality has improved. He also said promoting smaller-sized fruit in three- or four-pound bags will be an opportunity this season.

Continued efforts to manage citrus greening is another factor leading to increased quality crop, GT Parris said. 

Feek said demand on the East Coast is about the same as last year, and there has been an increase in business in the Midwest. He said while prices of oranges are similar to last year, grapefruit prices are slightly higher.

According to the USDA, overall U.S. citrus production for the fresh market is estimated at 3.45 million tons in 2020-21, down 6% from the previous season, with smaller fresh-market crops of oranges (down 11%), grapefruit (down 15%) and lemons (down 6%). The USDA’s October forecast for Florida’s production of all oranges was down 11% from last season with grapefruit production down 7% and all tangerine and tangelo production up 1%.

Parris said there are few orange exports, but there still is demand in Europe and Asia for grapefruit. He said the challenge with exports will be the cost, getting a container and ensuring the product arrives in time. He also said domestically they are working through labor and trucking issues.

Roe said a challenge for Florida citrus continues to be fighting for shelf space in competition with other domestic and imported products. At the same time, he said the biggest opportunity they are seeing this year has been with import struggles. 

“The biggest opportunity is what we saw with the import challenges and the port delays,” Roe said. “Inconsistent import supply opened up some opportunities for Florida.”

In terms of other domestic product, Roe said getting product from California to the East Coast is met with high freight costs and a shortage of drivers, so there is an increased demand for a product produced regionally. 

Overall, Roe said demand for Florida citrus is high across all varieties, including grapefruit, oranges, tangerines and pomelos. Roe said he believes specialty crops including tangerines will see an increase in Florida this year. Overall, he believes the future is bright for Florida citrus.

“The fresh Florida citrus industry is going to continue to grow,” Roe said. “After a culling period of different packers and marketers, the people left are heavily investing in this.”

“Florida is moving in the right direction,” Parris said. “The guys who stayed in it are doing a wonderful job putting out a good piece of fruit. They stayed in it because their hearts are in it.”

In the future, Feek said the state could see more packers join together in business, and processes will continue to become more automated.

Featured Listings
4.9 Acres with Creek Frontage
SW Piggyback Rd. #B Arcadia, FL 34266
4.9 acres in DeSoto County with CREEK FRONTAGE. An ideal home site for country living. This land is located less than 10 minutes to Arcadia, but secluded enough for rural living. Call today for a showing.

MLS: C7446929
Total Acres: 4.9
Listing Price: $100,000

Development Opportunity Downtown Punta Gorda
290 E Charlotte Ave. Punta Gorda, FL 33950
Conveniently located 1.12 Acres in growing Punta Gorda City limits. CC zoning allows for a multitude of commercial development opportunities PLUS an overlay district allowing for residential development. Over 700ft of road frontage across three streets with public utilities available. Unique opportunity to own one of the last large, assembled sites in area. Close to downtown restaurants, entertainment, and just a short walk to beautiful Charlotte Harbor.

MLS: C7449827
Total Acres: 1.12
Listing Price: $749,000
137+ Riverfront Acres
10531 SW Kissimmee Rd. Arcadia, FL 34269
Gorgeous, undisturbed "Old Florida" river front property for your private estate or recreational hunting and fishing retreat. Offering 137.84+ acres full of oak hammocks, cabbage palms, and pine trees with approx. 1,970 feet of frontage on the Peace River via the quiet inlet "Lettuce Lake." A county maintained public boat ramp is just around the corner. Property is fenced and includes 1,800 sf steel building. Less than 15 minutes to I-75, and just 45 minutes from Sarasota or Ft. Myers. A rare find with navigable waters to Charlotte Harbor.

Total Acres: 137.84
MLS: C7437985
Listing Price: $2,399,000
9.7 Acres DeSoto
SE Shelfer Ave. #A Arcadia, FL 34266
9.7 Acres in south DeSoto County. An ideal location for a country home site. Convenient access to Hwy 31, just 30 minutes or so to Ft. Myers and 10 minutes to Arcadia. This property has a 5” well with an electric five horsepower pump and over 600 producing orange trees.

Total Acres: 9.7
List Price: $169,000

Shovel Ready Land Punta Gorda Airport Park
Punta Gorda, FL 33982
10 Acres Shovel-Ready in growing Charlotte County Airport Park. Bring your business! Infrastructures in place such as city water/sewer and storm water retention. ECAP Zoning (Enterprise Charlotte Airport Park) allows for a multitude of Industrial, Commercial, and Office uses. Property has ~670’ of road frontage on the front and ~670’ of road frontage on back, can be divided. Less than 1 mile to Interstate 75 at Exit 161 and sits adjacent to Punta Gorda Airport.

8264 Duffie Dr.
Sold Price: $665,000

Less than 3 days to Contract!
5+ Acre Tracts
2827 SE Hing Dr. Arcadia, FL 34266
5+ Acres ready for you to come build your dream home in southern Desoto County. 10 minutes to Publix, shopping, and restaurants. NO DEED RESTRICTIONS. Just a short drive into Arcadia or Punta Gorda and about 30 minutes to Ft. Myers. Bring your animals and come build on this beautiful piece of cleared land! Looking for more acreage? Adjoining 5-15 acres also for sale.

SOLD! Tract 35: 5.05 Acres sold price: $75,750
PENDING! Tract 36: 6.22 Acres offered at $93,300
SOLD! Tract 61: 5.04 Acres sold price: $75,600
SOLD! Tract 62: 5.05 Acres sold price:$75,750

35+ Acres Zoned RMF-6 with Improvements
9881 Lettuce Lake Rd. Arcadia, FL 34269
35+/- Acres in DeSoto County less than 15 minutes to Interstate 75.This property is zoned RMF-6 allowing for a total of 211 units. Improvements have already been completed such as paved roadways, retention pond, curbing, fire hydrants and lift station. Previously approved development plans are available for review. Opportunity to be in a growing area located near the Peace River with river access 2 minutes away. This property is centrally located between both Kings Hwy and Hwy 17 with quick access to Arcadia, Port Charlotte, or Punta Gorda. Only 45 minutes to Sarasota and Fort Myers.

MLS: C7442469
Total Acres: 35.71
Listing price: $2,900,000
10 Acres with Creek Frontage
SW Piggyback Rd. #A Arcadia, FL 34266
A rare find with extras!!! 10 Acres in DeSoto County with CREEK FRONTAGE. An ideal home site for country living. Additionally, the property has TWO wells and power. This land is located less than 10 minutes to Arcadia, but secluded enough for rural living.

MLS: C7446925
Total Acres: 10
Sold Price: $185,000

About Walt Bethel
Walt Bethel is a fifth generation Floridian, born and raised in Arcadia, with a vast knowledge of all areas of Florida Real Estate and an ardent appreciation for Florida history.  
The purchase and development of his first orange grove when he was just sixteen years old fueled Walt's passion for real estate.  
Since then, he has bought, owned, and sold a wide variety of properties throughout a successful business career. His investments have included acreage, agricultural properties, residential homes, condos, and commercial properties. 
Walt's marketing and sales experience was cultivated over time at his family's business, Bethel Farms, where he marketed, managed, and sold products to "Big Box" retailers across the Southeastern and Midwestern United States.
From an early age, Walt's dad instilled in him the values to work hard and always have a goal, to look for a better way of doing things, and to constantly improve on them.  
The daily implementation of these principles, coupled with his enjoyment of networking with new people and his experience in business, sales, and marketing, have contributed to Walt's success as a Realtor.
Walt has served on various boards and committees throughout the years. He has coached and actively supports local youth athletic programs and leagues. 
He and his wife Jill, also a fourth generation Floridian, reside in Punta Gorda. They have two children, a daughter Peyton and a son Truman.
Walt Bethel | RE/MAX Harbor Realty| 863.990.1748 ||