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Kumquat Comeback: Festival Rebounds After Last Year’s Freeze

Dade City Chamber of Commerce
Kumquat pie will be a sought after item at this weekend's festival.

The long-standing Dade City Kumquat Festival is making a comeback this weekend after last year’s cold snap.

Featuring free food, entertainment and a variety of kumquat delicacies, the festival attracts thousands of people to Dade City each year. But this past year, an overnight frost took its toll on the crop.

The olive-sized citrus fruit has weak resistance to cold temperatures. With lows dropping to the mid-20s just before last year’s festival, fields were devastated and the crop was greatly affected.

There is no frost anticipated before this weekend and this year’s weather has been milder than in 2018. According to John Moors, executive director of the Dade City Chamber of Commerce, crop production is also better than last year. 

Even with the difficulties with the crop, Moors said festival turnout last year was “not perceivably affected.”

“You have this wonderful little fruit called the kumquat that a lot of people just aren’t familiar with and a get a kick out of all the products that you can make with kumquats, so it becomes kind of a family-fun adventure day,” said Moors. “The most famous product is kumquat pie.”

“Kumquat is still not up to the production that it had a few years ago,” he said. This is due to citrus greening which affects the growth of citrus trees across the state.

Moors urges people to support the kumquat industry, as it brings in revenue for Pasco County. Locally produced kumquats are available for purchase in various stores in Florida and even online.

The Kumquat Festival is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday in Dade City. More details on the event can be found on the Chamber of Commerce page.

Garnet Brown Gordon-Somers is a WUSF/USF Zimmerman School digital news intern for spring 2019.
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