Edmund Hall Hart (1839-1898)
Hart Family Citrus
Hart’s Late (Tardiff Orange/Valencia)
Freeze of 1894 and 1895
Edmund Hall Hart was born in LaGrange, New York, in 1839. After the conclusion of the Civil War, Hart, his father and two brothers moved to Florida to enter the citrus business. They settled in the St. Johns River area, where they established orange and lemon groves. Hart Family Citrus was widely recognized for its quality, winning many accolades at state horticultural exhibitions. Hart became well-known for his introduction of the Hart’s Late, also known as the Tardif orange. This orange, now known as the Valencia, revolutionized the citrus industry. Hart’s creation now accounts for more than one-third of Florida’s total citrus production.
Hart traveled to the West Indies where he studied palm trees and horticulture. From this knowledge he developed several new species of palm trees, planting the largest display of palm trees in the state. Hart was also widely known as a horticultural writer, publishing works in Florida and across the nation.
In his groves, Hart grew 150 citrus varieties, many of which were severely damaged during the 1894-1895 freeze. Despite the setback, Hart re-budded all of his groves and was able to see them flourish again before his death on April 22, 1898, at Federal Point, Florida.