Back in 1976, Bob and Vivian Murray started Tree-house Nursery with a mango grove in Bokeelia. Their daughter Lianne Murray and granddaughter Allisyn Ramirez along with her husband Mario have recently restarted the business.
Although Allisyn is a critical care registered nurse and Lianne an intensive care registered nurse, the women decided to forego those careers in order to preserve the family business. Being nurses, they enjoy the health benefits of the fruit and the opportunity to spend time outdoors in nature.
Both women have fond early memories of the business. Lianne learned tree grafting in Miami when she was only 14. She is now teaching her daughter and son-in-law the technique.
Lianne Murray and Allisyn Ramirez with some of the bounty from Treehouse Nursery
The nursery boasts in excess of 50 varieties of tropical fruits, spices and fruit and flowering trees sold at retail and wholesale including 20 types of lychees and longans and 30 of mangos. One of these, the Bailey's marvel mango, originated on Pine Island. Other fruits on the 12-acre property are Surinam cherries, persimmons, mamey sapotes, sugar apples and canistel or egg fruit.
"Pine Island being on the gulf is the perfect climate for the less hardy of these," Murray said. "Inland it is too cold."
The women have made preserves and dried fruit in the past and plan to do so again. According to Murray, the dried product can be kept for two or three years in the refrigerator.
The Treehouse Nursery is located at 6330 Hubbard Road off Harbor Drive in Bokeelia. It is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
For more information, call 239-283-3688.