The History of Citrus in Florida

The History of Citrus in Florida


  • The History of Citrus in Florida

Published Date

  • 1938-1939 Series


[page 7]
first and only time in the development of orange varieties, the American Pomological Society awarded
Gong the Wilder Medal, an honor accorded discoverers of new varieties. The Lue Gim Gong orange is
the last to ripen in Florida and can be marketed longer than any variety now in existence.
Lue Gim Gong died in DeLand June 5, 1925, in the place where he had made his greatest
horticultural experiments, and his remains were shipped to the home of his ancestors in China, in
accordance with age-old Oriental custom.

The third variety of orange is the satsuma (Owari) which is grown extensively in north
Florida. It is one of the mandarin group and is by far the hardiest orange grown in Florida.
According to all available accounts, the mandarin oranges originated in Cochin, China, at an
unknown date. It is said that this orange was brought to Louisiana by the Italian consul at New
Orleans sometime between 1840 and 1850. The introduction of the mandarin orange from
Louisiana into Florida is credited by the committee of Florida Fruit Growers' Association to
Major Atway. The exact time of the introduction is not known, but it is believed to have been
only a few years after the introduction into Louisiana. The Satsuma variety was introduced into
Florida by George R. Hall in 1876, and again by Mrs. Van Valkenburg in 1878. At present
Florida raises more satsumas than any other state, possibly more than the combined total of all.

Florida citrus fruits are shipped to every part of the world. There is also a demand abroad
for Florida fruit juices, mainly grapefruit juice. However, the United Kingdom and Canada are
the two principal foreign markets, and the latter takes nearly all of its orange imports from the
United States.

And so the first few seeds imported, the crude grove begun by Christopher Columbus
in Hispaniola in 1493, were the genesis of what is today in Florida an industry that in 1937-38
had a gross value estimated at $53,285,353. These returns included rail, boat, and truck
shipments, together with fruits canned and otherwise utilized from a 365,000 acreage in citrus