Florida to induct citrus hall of fame members

Doug Ohlemeier, 12/11/2012


An Indian River grapefruit grower-shipper is among the Sunshine State’s latest round of inductees into its Citrus Hall of Fame.

J. Brantley Schirard Sr., president of Fort Pierce, Fla.-based Schirard Citrus Inc., is scheduled to be inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in February.

Hailed as an industry leader for more than 25 years, Schirard served on the boards of nearly all of the state’s citrus organizations, including the Bartow-based Florida Citrus Commission, Lakeland-based Florida Citrus Mutual and Florida Citrus Packers Inc., and Maitland-based Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association.

In a news release, hall of fame officials said Schirard’s 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.”

Col. Francis Dancy, a pioneer citrus grower known for introducing the dancy variety tangerine in 1867 — which helped tangerines become a marketable variety — is also scheduled to be inducted.

As mayor of St. Augustine in 1838, Dancy was responsible for coordinating the revival of the Florida orange groves after a devastating freeze in 1835 and organized the modern method of orange propagation to maintain varietal character in the 1870s.

Other inductees are the late Paul Harding, who is considered the father of citrus maturity standards because of his research in the 1920s, and Homer Hooks, who organized the state’s canners league.

The 51st citrus celebration luncheon is scheduled for Feb. 27 at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.




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