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HomeBusiness & CommunityTangerine Becomes Brooksville’s Official City Fruit

Tangerine Becomes Brooksville’s Official City Fruit

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The city of Brooksville will now have both an official fruit and flower.

That decision came out of the June 3 city council meeting, in which the tangerine and the Brooksville bellflower were approved following a presentation by Dawn Triconi, executive director of Brooksville Main Street.

“The city of Brooksville has a rich history with tangerines,” Triconi said. “Brooksville’s unique topography meant better conditions for the fruit and by the early 1900s, the Brooksville fruit was in demand around the country and earned the highest prices in the industry.”

Alfred McKethan, one of the city’s prominent leaders of the time, believed his uncle Daniel Hale coined Brooksville as the “Home of the Tangerine,” according to Triconi. The fruit also garnered national attention for the city in 1926 when local grower H.B. Schulte sent a box of the tangerines to President Calvin Coolidge.

Following issues with pest infestation and freezes in the 1930s and 1950s, along with the rising popularity of juice, local citrus farmers turned their attention to oranges.

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In 2001, business owner Wayne Vutech created the Tangerine Time New Year’s Eve celebration. It featured a 6-foot, 200-pound glowing tangerine marking the countdown to midnight. More tangerine-themed celebrations are planned for this fall and spring of next year.

As for the Brooksville bellflower, it’s a small annual herb that grows up to six inches high and bears deep purple, bell-shaped flowers about 2.5 inches wide. It is known to only appear in three sites in Brooksville, two different ponds and Chinsegut Hill. The flower is considered endangered due to residential and commercial development.

“The bellflower is a beautiful flower that has a rich history in symbolism,” Triconi said. “In some cultures, it’s considered the flower of luck, the flower of happiness, the flower of new beginnings and the flower of hope.”

Chinsegut Hill also came up at the meeting when Chinsegut Hill Retreat manager Christie Williams informed the board that the revenue for the retreat is already $65,000 at this point in the year.

“When potential guests contact me, they sometimes refer to the property as a resort or a camp with bungalows and cabins. But most of the time, they do know that there are cottages and it’s a retreat,” Williams said. “What exactly is a retreat? It’s to rest and rejuvenate, to get away from it all. And that’s exactly what you do when you come to Chinsegut.

“… There’s so many things that could be done with that property. We have until June of 2025 before the next lease is to be signed. So I’d like to get together and decide what direction we would like to go.”
Other presentations at the council meeting included a Good Faith Estimate of taxable values for the city, which is $700 million. That figure did not include $20 million of net new construction. Also, the council was presented with design guidelines for historic structures and asked for input by June 14.

The council additionally approved emergency Ordinance 980, which will limit the number of wastewater permits so that the current wastewater plant does not exceed capacity. These limitations are anticipated for the next three years until capacity improves.

“This will be followed by a permanent moratorium statute, which will in detail expand on the moratorium that we’re going to put in place and recommend dealing with the 20 percent per year allocation,” said David Hainley, Brooksville’s community development director. “It will codify what we were discussing at the workshop and the need to move that item forward in an expeditious manner so we don’t grind to a total stop here in the ability to have wastewater allocations made to development.”

Welcome to Brooksville – home of the tangerine

Chris Bernhardt
Chris Bernhardt
A resident of Spring Hill since 1986, Chris graduated from Springstead High in 1999 before moving on to earn a bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Central Florida. In summer of 2003 he joined the staff at Hernando Today, working at the paper for 11 years as a sports reporter, the last three as sports coordinator in charge of the paper’s sports coverage. After an initial 3-year stint with Hernando Sun, he spent four years as a staff sports reporter at the Citrus County Chronicle. Follow on X @cpbernhardtjr.

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