In 1914, the Gude and Neuhoffer families planted their first fruit trees in Florida. Over 100 years later, that modest farm has grown into the largest kumquat producer in the country, located in Dade City.
With origins in southern China, the kumquat gets its name from the Cantonese gām gwāt, which translates to “golden orange” in English. The little oval fruit can be eaten fresh, peel and all, or used in recipes, from kumquat pickles to kumquat pie (the official pie of Pasco County), which was created by Rosemary Gude.
Kumquat trees bloom throughout the summer, putting out fragrant white flowers while the fruit matures. By November, the small yellow fruits are plump and ready to harvest. They’re typically available all winter, with the harvest season ending in March. At the farm’s gift shop, you’ll find everything from kumquat salad dressings and marinades to jams, sauces, and lotions.
One of the best times to visit is in late January, for the Kumquat Festival in downtown Dade City. The lively festival, a celebration of all things kumquat, draws tens of thousands of visitors. There’s a kumquat recipe contest, kumquat products to sample, and, of course, fresh kumquats by the bundle.
Before the festival, head over to Kumquat Growers’s packing house in St. Joseph for a two-day open house featuring tastings, tours, and live music.
Know Before You Go
Kumquat Growers’ gift shop is open November 1 through March 31 annually, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Sundays and holidays. No admission charge.
On select days from November to March, the growers can be found at the Shoppes of Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Go to kumquatfestival.org for more information about the annual festival.