Karick Asa Price, Sr. (1938-2011)
Karick Asa Price, Sr., devoted the majority of his working life to the Florida citrus industry. Karick Asa Price, Sr. was born November 20, 1938 in Orlando, Florida, at Orange Memorial Hospital and delivered by his uncle, Dr. Horace Day. His grandfather, W.K. Price, Jr. was from a farming family in Rogersville, Tennessee, moved the family to Florida in 1922 for health reasons. Karick’s father, W.K. Price, Jr. began the family citrus business in Lake and Orange Counties, along with his wife, Marjorie Hitch Price, who was from a farming and cattle family in Guymon, OK.
Karick attended Kaley Elementary, Cherokee Junior High and Boone High School, where he graduated in 1956, and worked in the groves during the summers. A lifelong Gator, he briefly attended the University of Florida but came home to start his own pick and haul business, T & G Harvesting, in 1957. He also purchased fruit as a birddog.
He met his wife, Barbara Ellis Price in 1960 and together they had three children, Karick, Jr., Stephen and Laura. After the ’62 freeze, the family acquired several small groves in St. Lucie County. In 1963 they purchased a section of land on C-24 Canal and planted their grove in St. Lucie County. Karick moved his family to St. Lucie County to develop and manage the groves and remained there until his father’s death of a heart attack in 1964. Upon his father’s death, Karick returned to Orlando and became President of T&G Groves at the age of 26. Over his lifetime and with the help of his maternal grandfather in Oklahoma, Karick built the citrus business into Price Groves, Inc., with groves totaling 2,000 acres in Lake and St. Lucie counties.
Karick was chosen as Farmer of the Year in 1968 by the Junior Chamber of Commerce at the age of 30. That same year, he was also appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to be a Director of the Indian River Grapefruit Committee – a position he held for three terms.
In 1971, he was appointed to the Florida Citrus Commission as a Grower-Handler Representative of District 4 by Governor Reuben Askew. Karick served on the Commission for ten years. Because he operated groves in the sand hills of Lake County and the swamps in St. Lucie County, he understood citrus production practices at the two extremes which gave him an unequaled perspective of the Industry with which to properly serve all Florida growers.
During his tenure on the Citrus Commission, Karick served as Chairman of the Public Relations and Institutional Committees where he was a passionate advocate of the “Florida Sunshine Tree” symbol and a proponent of identifying 100% Florida Orange Juice in all forms. He was also cautious, as a matter of policy, about the importation of Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice (FCOJ) and was a believer in identifying importers of FCOJ and the volumes and dates imported to better protect the Florida grower.
In 1974, Karick chaired the Pool Drafting Committee working on a marketing order to implement The FCOJ Pooling Act of Florida. The order, if approved, would have set up the process for averting the flooding of the market in times of surplus crops, how the concentrate would be warehoused and how it would be sold out of storage. He was an innovator, always embracing new ideas to enhance returns to the Florida citrus industry and was one of the first to use the FCOJ futures contract to hedge orange prices.
On the Commission, he represented the “pure grower” and was a big proponent of the Florida Citrus Forecasting Program by the Florida Ag Statistics Service. The objective forecasting program was in response to the need for more accurate October estimates of production necessitated by the establishment of FCOJ trading on the New York Cotton Exchange in 1966. He supported and recognized the agency’s contribution to the success of the futures market due to its efficient price discovery service.
As a Director/Member of the Citrus Associates at the New York Cotton Exchange, he traded the second contract for FCOJ contract when first trading began in 1966. He also served as a Director of the Concentrate committee and traded FCOJ Futures both personally, and for Golden Gem Growers.
Other notable industry positions that Karick held were as a Director of Citrus Central, Inc., a Director and Vice President of Golden Gem Growers – one of the largest cooperatives at the time – and Director/ VP of Inland Fruit Company.
Karick also participated in the family farming operations in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas, before selling the St. Lucie County groves in 1980 when he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. When the numerous freezes in Florida ended the family citrus business in the late ‘80s, Karick pushed out the dead groves, bought bankrupt nursery stock, and he and his friend Willoughby Cox planted over 14,000 oak and magnolia trees across their properties, laying the groundwork for what would become the Sugarloaf Mountain Golf & Town Club. To this day, the family still remembers a plaque he kept that read: “The true farmer plants trees under whose shade they’ll never sit.”
Throughout his life, even through his illness, Karick continued to serve both the industry and his community, acting as a director for numerous Orlando banks including Pan American Bank of Orlando, Orlando Bank & Trust Company and Flagship Bank of Orlando. He was a third-generation member of First Baptist Church of Orlando where he served as a deacon and youth leader. He served on numerous committees at the church including service as the Co-Chairman for the Upon This Rock campaign which saw the eventual relocation of First Baptist Church to its present address. In addition, the Price Family Memorial Endowment was established in his name at the First Orlando Foundation and continues to help fund congregants or ministries of the First Baptist Church of Orlando today.
He took great pleasure in serving on the original board of directors and as the first President of the Edgewood Boy’s Ranch. He was a Grand Gator designee of Gator Boosters and, along with friends Tom Ustler and the late Kaye Don Lewis, helped found Gator Feeders of Central Florida which for many years hosted a barbeque for coaches and players. His love for Florida football also led him, along with friend Dr. Donald Weeks, to purchase a farm in High Springs, Florida that eventually became part of Poe Springs Park in High Springs, Florida. He was a past member of the Orlando Touchdown Club and the Country Club of Orlando.
Beyond his extraordinary service, Karick was known for his integrity in dealing with elected officials, industry peers and others. His legacy is one of advancing the industry during an unprecedented season of growth and prominence for Florida citrus and its positive contributions to the state’s economy.
He passed away on Nov. 4, 2011 at the age of 72 after a 30-year battle with Multiple Sclerosis.
Karick Asa Price, Sr. demonstrated the highest standards of commitment and perseverance that have been a hallmark of the industry’s finest leaders from all walks of life. He was a true steward of the land and should be remembered as a role model for future generations and any who may be fortunate enough to follow in his footsteps in the Florida citrus industry.
Therefore, we are honored to induct him as a member of the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame!