As soon as the holiday madness subsides, we know the annual Kumquat Festival is just around the corner. The FREE Festival that takes place in the heart of historic downtown Dade City honors its distinction as the world’s leading supplier of the kumquat, a tasty petite fruit with a funny name. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, January 26th from 9am – 5pm. There will be over 400 vendors in attendance featuring arts and crafts, food from local restaurants as well as food trucks, and live entertainment.
Be sure to arrive early because each year this festival gets more and more popular. In fact, the 2019 Kumquat Festival was the selected as the highlight of the day on CBS Sunday Morning, a popular national news show.
Amidst green hills and pastures, about an hour north of Tampa and a little over an hour west of Orlando, you’ll find groves dedicated to Florida’s “golden gem,” also known as the kumquat.
So what exactly is a kumquat? Orange in color, this small bite-sized fruit can be eaten – skin and all, providing a flavorful, pungent sweet and sour taste. It is a member of the citrus family and often baked into desserts and used as a glaze or flavoring for main dishes.
The kumquat is believed to be a native of China, and has long been a symbol of prosperity during the Chinese New Year celebrations. It was brought to the U.S. where two species are grown, the Nagami and the Meiwa. The more common Nagami (oval shaped) kumquat is tart and ideal for marmalades and jellies, while the Meiwa (round shaped), is sweeter and ideal for snacking, lacking the tartness of a Nagami.