WINTER HAVEN – At a Winter Haven City Commission meeting Jan. 13, recently retired Six/Ten Chief Financial Officer Hap Hazlewood praised the city commission for a variety of decisions that he believes will lead the City of Winter Haven into the future.

These decisions included the $25 million investment in the AdventHealth Fieldhouse, the recent sale of city-owned land to Florida Caribbean Distillers and making investments in the city’s downtown district that played a role in the city winning the American Planning Association 2019 Great Places in Florida award.

During his speech, Hazlewood said it was also important to recognize the historic importance of citrus to the development of the city. In doing so, he introduced Noble Citrus President Quentin Roe to speak about some of that history.

Staff working in the Noble Citrus packing house near the Amtrak train station in Winter Haven have been working for the past 34 years toward developing a no- and low-seed tangerine that would grow well in Florida. Currently, tangerines such as Cutie and Clementine brands are imported to the United States and don't grow well in the Florida climate.

On Jan. 13, Roe and his staff brought two boxes of a tangerine they have developed called Juicy Crunch. Roe said he has such high hopes for the new tangerine that he and his staff may be expanding the packing house business in the coming years.

“We got lucky and have a few superstars that came from our program,” Roe said. “Tonight I would like to introduce one of those superstars called Juicy Crunch. I believe you will agree that this is the best tangerine you have ever eaten. I would suggest it will be the best tangerine you will ever eat.”

Next spring, there will be 1,500 acres of Juicy Crunch tangerine trees growing around Polk County and the Noble Citrus packing house in Winter Haven may expand when those trees start bearing fruit for local consumption and export.

“This is exciting news for our family, our employees, Winter Haven and the Florida Fresh citrus industry,” Roe said. “We look forward to the rapid growth it will bring to the City of Winter Haven.”

Contact Charles A. Baker III at cbaker@d-r.media.