Chester “Chet” Fosgate (1891-1965)
Chester C. Fosgate Company
Fosgate Growers Cooperative
Fosgate Citrus Concentrate Cooperative
Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association
United Growers & Shippers League
Chester “Chet” Fosgate was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 20, 1891. Moving to Central Florida in 1907 at the age of 16, Fosgate spent the next 12 years learning the Florida citrus industry by transporting citrus fruit between the Boston markets and the Florida citrus packinghouses. In 1919, Fosgate founded the Chester C. Fosgate Company in Winter Park, Florida. In the 1920s, Fosgate expanded his packing house to establish one of the first juice canning plants in the state of Florida and began marketing his orange and grapefruit juices under the trade name of Ace High. In 1943, Fosgate again expanded his business when he founded the Fosgate Growers Cooperative and the Fosgate Citrus Concentrate Cooperative. By the late 1940s, Fosgate’s company was the exclusive packer for Duncan Hines concentrate. Fosgate’s Citrus Concentrate Cooperative had a plant payroll of two thousand, and required twenty buildings for packing, storing, and processing concentrate. Fosgate’s company evolved from a small packinghouse operation into an agricultural empire that included fertilizer and concentrate plants, as well as a jelly and preserve manufacturing plants.
Fosgate was an active member of the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, the United Grower and Shippers League, and the Pro-ration Committee. Fosgate eventually sold his jelly and preserve plant to Deep South, a Winn-Dixie subsidiary, and the packing plant operation to Hi Acres, which was eventually taken over by Coca-Cola. Chester “Chet” Fosgate passed away in December of 1965 and was inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in 1989.