Robert S. Edsall (1908)
American Fruit Growers
- Deerfield Groves
- Edsall Groves, Inc.
- University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center
- Citrus Budwood Program
- Double-Bed Planting
- Deep Plowing
- Florida Citrus Mutual
- Florida Citrus Production Manager’s League
- Indian River Citrus League
- Ocean Spray Cranberry Cooperative
Robert S. Edsall was a productive member of Florida’s citrus community for over half a century. He was born in Philadelphia in 1908, but he moved with his family to Bradenton in the 1920s. Here, Edsall gained his first experience in citrus by working in the grove of a relative.
Edsall later attended the University of Florida, where he received a Master’s degree in soil sciences. In 1931, Edsall moved to Vero Beach, where he became a longtime resident. Edsall worked for for American Fruit Growers and A.B. Michael of Deerfield Groves before he was able to open his own business. He eventually founded both Edsall Groves, Inc., and Edsall Groves Service.
He distinguished himself with his devotion to devising ways to improve the profitability of citrus by implementing new production and marketing methods. Edsall was well known for encouraging the use of his groves for experiments by the Research Center of the University of Florida. He considered his greatest accomplishment to be work in establishing the Citrus Budwood program and developing double bed planting. He was also a pioneer of deep plowing, the use of minor elements in nutritional sprays and quick in and out flood irrigation.
Edsall was a charter member of Florida Citrus Mutual, which eventually grew into the state’s largest citrus organization. He was also a member of the Florida Citrus Production Managers League throughout the 1940’s, serving as president in 1949. He was a member of the Indian River Citrus League since 1947, and chaired both the Indian River Grapefruit Committee and the Growers Administrative Committee. He was also a longtime member of the Florida State Horticultural Society, for which he served as president in 1953. Edsall was instrumental in getting the Ocean Spray Cranberry Cooperative involved in the Indian River area.
Edsall was inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in 1995.