I'll admit, I had no idea what I was doing when I daintily bit into the citrus fruit.
"Just pop it into your mouth!" ordered my companion.
So I abandoned my ladylike ways, forced that kumquat between my lips and started chomping. Ever so slowly, like Violet Beauregarde chewing three-course dinner gum in Willy Wonka's choclate factory, my lips curled up in delight. Kumquats, as it turns out, are like reverse oranges. You eat the whole thing - peel and all!
If you learn nothing else from a visit to Kumquat Growers Inc. in Dade City, please tell me you'll get a lesson in how to eat a kumquat. The 42-acre, family-owned property has bragging rights as the kumquat capital of the world, producing about 405 tons of the fruit last year. It's even the site of the annual Kumquat Festival held each January, but you don't have to wait that long to "kum" for a visit.
Free grove tours are offered nearly year round, by request. Just call 352-588-0544 to check availability. Next season, Kumquat Growers Inc. will also offer U-pick, so start pumping iron; each bushell weighs 45 pounds!
What to do with the "fruits" of your labor? Kumquat Growers Inc. offers dozens of recipe ideas. You can sample some of them in the gift shop. My fave is matriarch Rosemary Gude's kumquat refrigerator pie. So refreshing!
For this recipe and other juicy details, head to KumquatGrowers.com.