In 1999, Matt McLean, a real-life uncle to 10 nieces and nephews, established Clermont-based Uncle Matt’s Organic. After graduating from the University of Florida, Matt had started his own juice brokerage business in 1993. Years later, a German customer inquired about importing organic juice and that’s when Matt realized his passion for creating an organic way of life. With deep family roots in citrus growth, Matt called on his family’s generations-long philosophy of organic farming and launched Uncle Matt’s Organic with 100 percent not-from-concentrate orange juice. Taking advice from his grandfather, Matt, a seventh-generation Floridian, advocated for stewardship of the soil to produce the healthiest, most nutritious crops available for his juices. Today, Uncle Matt’s Organic continues to pride itself on a steadfast commitment to healthy living, organic farming, and quality organic juices and beverages.
In the McLean Family’s Words
“We’re the McLean family, and we grow organic oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, blueberries and peaches.”
Matt McLean: “I’m a fourth-generation Florida citrus grower, and we’ve been farming for at least, probably 100 years.
I remember starting at about 8 years old. Just doing little odd jobs out in the groves, with Dad of the family. A lesson early on is that when you get something to grow, you have to take care of it. And it taught you the value of hard work.
The reason I really love what I do, and I’m passionate about it, is because it’s a labor of love.
There’s no better reward than seeing somebody eat a fruit or vegetable that you grew, and they get pleasure out of it, and you know that you poured your passion and your love into that crop and that, I think, is every farmer’s goal.”
Benny McLean: “I spent the best years of my dad’s life riding with him. He said, ‘Do you know, it’s a feeling that I get that if they like my fruit, they like me.’ And he said that was his connection.
I have that same need or that same feeling that if I peel you an orange and you eat it and you say, ‘Man, I really like that.’ I take credit for that, because I’ve grown that right here and that’s what makes it taste good. So, that’s my reward.”
Matt McLean: “Being a multi-generational family member and grower, you take pride in knowing that the generation before had integrity in doing what they were doing.
My great-grandfather and grandfather, they did it with integrity and pride. We do the same thing and we hope to continue that so when people come and taste our products, or they visit our farm, they feel that we take pride in what we do, and there’s integrity behind it and that’s important.”