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What little 'gold' citrus gem is about to be celebrated?

Kumquats on display in one of the boutique shops in historic Dade City, Florida
Kumquats on display in one of the boutique shops in historic Dade City, Florida
Pamela Mones

This little 'gold gem' of the citrus family has been celebrated in this historic, Florida city for the past 15 years, and it's about to be honored for the 16th time this Saturday.
But it's not the Florida orang,e so common to the 'sunshine state.' This citrus delight, though similar in color and 'fruitiness' to the familiar orange, has its own unique taste.
It's the kumquat.
Like its familiar Florida 'cousin,' the kumquat is in the citrus family, but the plant is native to south Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. According to, the earliest historical reference to kumquats appears in literature of China in the 12th century. Kumquats were introduced to Europe (as 'cumquat' in 1846), and then to North America a short time later.
Unlike regular oranges,where peel and seeds are discarded, kumquats are eaten whole. Instead of spitting out the seeds because of their bitter taste, kumquat enthusiasts eat the tiny seeds (usually one or two in the middle), giving the fruit a tangy,yet delightful surprise, on first bite. The orange-type skin also adds a subtle texture to the otherwise juicy flavor.
And this olive-size, oval delight will be spotlighted again this coming weekend in Dade City.
This small suburb (pop. 6,615 as of 2004) of Tampa-St. Petersburg will host the 16th Annual Kumquat Festival in on Meridian Ave. in the historic downtown area.
According to organizers,, over 40,000 visitors are expected to browse and shop at the more than 350 vendors displaying their products and services – from food and beverages to handcrated items like soaps and items featuring what-else, kumquats.
But Dade City is more than kumquats once a year. Dade City's history dates back to the late 1800s, and its Pasco County Courthouse on Meridian Ave. is an impressive site with its Classical Revival architectural style incorporating large columns, symmetry, and architrave (triangle below the roofline) features.
In September, 2006, the courthouse was added to the U.S. National Registry of Historic Places.
Beyond the courthouse, and about 1.5 miles south of historical downtown, the Pioneer Florida Museum,, shows the life and times of early Florida pioneers, from the tools they used for farming and blacksmithing to how they built their homes, as well as the domestic chores of pioneer women as they churned butter, 'boiled' the family wash, and cooked on a wood-burning stove.
Another 'claim-to-fame' moment for Dade City, perhaps, is that some of the scenes in Tim Burton's 1990 movie, Edward Scissorhands, (starring Johnny Depp), featured Dade City.
If you're more into health than history, kumquats, besides being cute, oval-shaped edibles, are packed with anti-oxidants. According to, , the kumquat's peel provides almost 20% of daily recommended levels of fiber.
With about the same calorie value of a 100 g. bunch of grapes – 71, kumquats are a healthy addition one's diet, if they can be found outside of Florida.
And fortunately they can in some fresh produce markets and select grocery store.
Plus, Kumquat Growers,, will ship the fresh fruit in season, November to April, and its products, such as kumquat salsa, kumquat marmalade, candied kumquat, kumquat tea, etc.
Kumquats can be served as fruit kabobs with other fruits, and is good with pork, lamb, and duck, and are great holiday decorations with its green leaves and attractive color.
You can also find recipes for kumquats on the company's website.


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