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Four Generations of Ericksons & Steins

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Elfrida and Alfred Erickson

Swedish immigrants Alfred and Amanda Elfrida Erickson homesteaded in 1911 on the eastern shore of Lake Okeechobee with their four children. Unable to adequately support his family as a carpenter, Alfred Erickson started farming in 1923, and everyone pitched in. Although the hurricane of 1928 removed its roof, the original 1911 house remains in the family nearly a century later.

Floyd Arthur Erickson, the youngest of Alfred and Elfrida’s children, graduated from the University of Florida in 1933 with an agricultural degree. He and his brother William Emil Erickson began farming vegetables to ship north. Floyd was intrigued by tropical fruits and in 1961 he planted a grove of mango and avocado trees.

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Erickson family, 2007.

Floyd’s youngest son, Dale Eric Erickson, took over the mango production in 1974 and added other tropical fruits and vegetables. Dale’s daughters, Krista and Kimberly, continued the tradition of working in the family business. In 2000, Krista Erickson began managing daily operations; her son, Brendan Erickson, shows an interest in everything that grows. Kimberly Erickson returned to the farm in 2007 to assume a more active role.

With one of the few mango groves left in south Florida, the Erickson family chose to focus on specialty varieties that were not found in grocery stores, as well as the winter vegetables that have sustained the Erickson Farm for four generations.

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Fritz Stein, Sr.

Another four-generation farm family was started by Russian immigrant Hans Juergen Stein. After establishing a farm in Wisconsin, Stein’s brother convinced him to sell everything and bring his family to Chosen, where they settled on the west end of the Hillsboro Canal. Stein was its first locktender, while he grew beans and cabbage and gradually bought more land. The farm was continued by one of his two sons, Fritz Carl Stein, Sr., and then by Fritz Stein, Jr., who earned an agriculture degree from the University of Florida. After replacing vegetables with sugarcane in the 1960s, he was a founding member of the Sugarcane Growers Cooperative and one of the first Glades farmers to test his water for possible contamination. Fritz Stein Farms has since been continued by his children.

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