Make us your home page

Annual Kumquat Festival kicks off Saturday in Dade City


This weekend, folks from near and far will be flocking to pay homage to the kumquat — a distant Asian relative of the citrus family that is harvested from November through April 1 in local groves.

The kumquat has long been a traditional symbol of prosperity during Chinese New Year's celebrations. In recent years, the tiny fruit with a powerful, tart punch has caught on as a decorative addition for Thanksgiving and Christmas centerpieces. The juicy Nagami variety has also captured the attention of chefs worldwide, while the sweeter Meiwa is favored as a snacking fruit.

In past years, some 40,000 have attended the Kumquat Festival, taking the opportunity to taste a piece of kumquat pie, chutney or marmalade, homemade cookies. Or perhaps some even have had a daring go at simply popping an oval Nagami into the mouth whole, chewing slowly to savor the tart, then sweet flavor that comes when fruity flesh blends with the thin, orange peel.

The one-day gala includes a bevy of family friendly activities — arts and crafts, face painting, antique cars and musical entertainment with lots of opportunities to sample the fruit. The festival also culminates a month of kumquat-related events including a recipe contest, the Dade City Merchants' window decorating contest, Miss and Mr. Kumquat pageant and the Kumquat Growers Open House.

The open house, to be held Thursday and Friday, might appeal to early birds wanting a preview of what's to come and learn more about how the fruit is cultivated and harvested — snipped with a pair of sharp, shears rather than plucked, lest the fruit spoil.

The open house will include tours of the adjacent groves and packing house, free samples, a farmers market, bluegrass music and presentations by Roger Swain, former host of PBS' Victory Garden.

"It's a nice alternative for people who want to beat the crowds," said Margie Neuhofer, whose family shares ownership of the Kumquat Growers Inc., along with the Gude family.

Word is Greg Gude has whipped up 1,000 pies with the help of his employees to be sold by the slice at Saturday's fest. Those who go can pick up a copy of the recipe or check out others, also available on the Kumquat Growers website, including Neuhofer's own special concoction "Margie's Kumquat Cake," which she serves on special occasions and employee birthdays at the packing house.

"It's simple. I use a boxed cake mix, but people think I made always it from scratch," Neuhofer said. "They all go wild over it."

. If you go

Kumquat Festival

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in downtown Dade City. Free admission and parking at city-owned lots and free transportation from satellite parking areas. For information, call the Dade City Chamber of Commerce at (352) 567-3769 or go to

Kumquat Growers

Open House

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the Growers packing house, 31647 Gude Road, Dade City. For information, call (352) 588-0544 or go to

Annual Kumquat Festival kicks off Saturday in Dade City 01/20/14 [Last modified: Monday, January 20, 2014 7:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 13 things to do in Tampa Bay on Oct. 19


    Bruno Mars: Get your Uptown Funk on at the Grammy-winning pop star's 24K Magic World Tour. 8 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $41.25-$131.25. (813) 301-2500.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25:  Bruno Mars performs onstage at 2017 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)
  2. In a world of pop queens, Bruno Mars is the king. He plays Tampa on Thursday

    Music & Concerts

    For a few years now, pop music has been completely and utterly dominated by women. Taylor! Beyoncé! Adele! Katy! Gaga! They're everywhere! And they're all goddesses, each and every one!

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 22:  (Editorial Use Only) Bruno Mars performs onstage during Bruno Mars: 24K Magic World Tour at Madison Square Garden on September 22, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Atlantic Records)
  3. What's new in theaters: 'The Snowman,' 'Only the Brave,' 'Boo 2! A Madea Halloween'




    Unlike Frosty, The Snowman (R) isn't a jolly, happy soul. He's a serial killer who murders after snowfalls, keeping him busy in Norway where an alcoholic detective (Michael Fassbender) specializes in — wait for it — cold cases.

    Michael Fassbender is an alcoholic detective searching for a killer in The Snowman.
  4. 'On Your Feet!.' 'SIRO-A' and 'Threepenny Opera' at the Straz, 'Faust' in St. Pete



    Gloria Estefan launched a stellar career on talent and heart, becoming a role model.

    Mauricio Martinez and Christie Prades star as Emilio and Gloria Estefan in On Your Feet!, which opens Tuesday at the Straz.
  5. 5 ways you know it's fall in Florida, even when it's too hot


    I've recently returned from a trip checking out some fall foliage in the Smoky Mountains. And I've got to say the adage about the grass being greener somewhere else probably refers to Florida in autumn. The only other colors one sees around here are the brown leaves of debris from Hurricane Irma.