The Florida Citrus Hall of Fame has announced five distinguished leaders will be inducted into the Hall during the 51st Citrus Celebration Luncheon on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.
Homer E. Hooks, of Lakeland, and J. Brantley Schirard, of Ft. Pierce will be honored at the luncheon, scheduled to take place at 11:30 a.m. in the Hollis Wellness Center, along with three others who will be inducted posthumously: Col. Francis L. Dancy, Dr. Paul L. Harding, and Dr. Mathew K. Veldhuis.
The Class Of 2013:
- Homer E. Hooks organized the Canners League of Florida at the same time the Citrus Code was adopted in 1949, and went on to become the executive director of the Florida Citrus Commission (FCC). Under his leadership, the FCC established innovative marketing efforts and helped initiate federal quality standards for the industry. He was the first to separate the marketing programs for fresh and processed products, which is still the practice today, and helped develop the OJ symbol and phrase, “The Real Thing from Florida.”
- J. Brantley Schirard has been an industry leader for more than 25 years and is the president of Schirard Citrus in Ft. Pierce. He has served on the boards of nearly every citrus organization in the state, including the FCC, where he chaired the International Committee for six years, the Florida Citrus Packers Association, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Share Council, the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, and the Florida State Horticultural Society. He has served as president of the Indian River Citrus League, Florida Orange Marketers, Florida Citrus Production Managers’ Association, and Florida Citrus Mutual. His knowledge and leadership skills have benefited every facet of the industry in numerous areas, including marketing, packing, processing, research, and regulations. His willingness to share his time and talents has resulted in mentoring many within the industry, and he received the Florida Citrus Packers’ John T. Lesley award in 2011 in recognition of his lifetime achievements in the Florida citrus industry. He also received the Commissioner of Agriculture Environmental Achievement Award for his Grassy Island Development.
- Col. Francis L. Dancy was a pioneer citrus grower in the late 1800s, known primarily for the introduction of the Dancy tangerine in 1867, ultimately resulting in tangerines as a marketable variety. As the mayor of St. Augustine in 1838, he was responsible for coordinating the revival of the Florida orange groves after the devastating freeze of 1835 and organized the modern method of orange propagation to maintain varietal character in the 1870s.
- Dr. Paul L. Harding was called the “Father of Maturity Standards” due to research in the 1920s that resulted in maturity standards that are still in use today. The maturity standards ensure that fruit is harvested at peak maturity and maintains the quality reputation of the Florida product – both fresh and processed. He was one of the first to initiate the consumer taste panel to help with his research. He served as a Research Advisor to the FCC from 1948 to 1968, and as a Research Advisor to Florida Citrus mutual from 1950 to1960.
- Dr. Matthew K. Veldhuis was the director of the USDA’s Citrus Products & Research lab in Winter Haven for 28 years and was the director of the team that helped develop Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice in collaboration with the FCC’s team of scientists. Under his leadership, more than 240 scientific/technical publications and patents were issued on fruit and vegetable research. He directed and participated in research that resulted in the development of citrus concentrates, methods for estimating soluble solids in dried citrus pulp, use of pulp with citrus molasses for cattle feed (a current major by-product of the citrus processing industry), methods of freezing purees of citrus fruits, and freeze-drying of juice, methods of extraction and testing of oils, development of a citrus sweetener from a bitter compound in grapefruit, and preparation of alcoholic beverages from citrus.
For more information on members of the Citrus Hall of Fame, visit FloridaCitrusHallofFame.com.