Dr. Matthew W. Veldhuis (1906-1975)
Veldhuis spent thirty-seven years with United States Department of Agriculture, twenty-eight of which spent as director of the Citrus Products and Research Lab in Winter Haven. He directed the USDA team that aided in development of frozen concentrated orange juice. His research helped citrus products grow in popularity.
- United States Department of Agriculture
- Citrus Products and Research Lab
- Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice
- Citrus Concentrates
Wolf Point, Montana, is as far removed from the tropical climate of Florida as anyone can imagine. But the Florida citrus industry owes gratitude for its success to a son of Montana: Dr. Matthew Veldhuis. Born in 1906, Veldhuis earned a degree in Industrial Chemistry from Montana State University and a Ph.D. from Iowa State University. He went on to enjoy a 37-year career with the United States Department of Agriculture.
In 1944 Veldhuis became director of the United States Department of Agriculture Citrus Products & Research lab in Winter Haven, serving in that capacity for 28 years. Under his leadership, over 240 publications and patents were issued on fruit and vegetable research. Veldhuis directed the U.S.D.A. team that helped develop Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice (FCOJ) in collaboration with the Florida Citrus Commission team of scientists. Due to the importance of the research which Veldhuis spearheaded, the U.S. Citrus and Subtropical Products Laboratory was established in 1957 in Winter Haven. Veldhuis also led research that resulted in the development of citrus concentrates. He pioneered methods for estimating soluble solids in dried citrus pulp, combining citrus pulp with molasses for cattle feed (a current major by-product of the citrus processing industry). He also developed methods of freezing purees of citrus fruits as well as developing methods of extraction and testing of oils. Veldius’s scientists also developed a citrus sweetener from a bitter compound in grapefruit, and prepared alcoholic beverages from citrus.
Veldhuis’s contribution to the industry provided for a much more versatile and useful product. His research helped popularize citrus products and aided in the expansion of the industry. He worked tirelessly for the citrus industry until his death in 1975.