Agricultural Firsts

Florida is known for its endless summers, but not many people know of its accomplishments in agriculture. Being first with a discovery or accomplishment is what makes it a landmark for agriculture. Agricultural achievers have created a local legacy of both national and international importance with their accomplishments in the state of Florida.

An example of these accomplishments was the most unique citrus tree developed in Florida-the Temple orange tree. This tree is a cross between a mandarin orange and a sweet orange and its value was recognized of its value by W.C. Temple. A sizable contribution to the state’s overall economy was produced by trees descended from the Temple Tree.

In the early 1930’s, the methods of canning citrus became more mechanized, which led to the “flash” pasteurization in which orange juice was quickly heated and then sealed to kill harmful bacteria. This method also introduced the rotary juice press, first used at the Dr. Phillips cannery in Orlando. They had perfected various techniques which allowed a maximum distribution of fresh Florida orange juice throughout the country.

A final example highlights the beginning of the first University research facility devoted solely to research on ornamental plants. This was through the University of Florida. Florida was ranked 3rd in the United States for the value of horticultural specialties in the 1969 Census for Agriculture.

Mother of all Temple Trees – County Agent Swanson talks to James Gamble Rogers II of Winter Park and his famous Temple tree in the background.