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Palm Terrace Fruit Company and Umatilla Packers, Inc.

Sign sponsored by the Tyre family

In 1925 two Dublin Georgia brothers moved to Lake County.  One, Dr. C. M. Tyre a graduate of Emery Medical School selected Eustis as a location to develop a rural and highly respected family medical practice.  During more than 50 years of practice in Eustis, Dr. Tyre assisted and improved all phases of medical care in Lake County including converting Waterman Hotel, known as the Fountain Inn to a county hospital facility; Florida Hospital Waterman, located in downtown Eustis and later moved to Tavares before becoming part of the Advent Health medical complex.

The other brother, James B. Tyre, Jr. settled in Yalaha and Howey on Lake Harris to grow citrus on lakefront land now known as Bishop's Golf and Lakeside Community.

Years thereafter the two brothers continued to invest time, energy, and money into Lake County citrus production, packing, and other non-agricultural business.  The private labels (Miss Atlanta and Atlanta Queen) were used to promote the family citrus products at the Georgia Farmers market in Atlanta and surrounding southern states.

Palm Terrace Fruit Company located in Mt. Dora was owned by Dr. Tyre and operated by James until the late 1950’s.  The Tyre groves and investments, including several hundred acres of grove property, cattle land, movie theaters in Mount Dora, Eustis and Umatilla continued operation and were managed by the children of Dr. Tyre (son Stanley, daughter Lestina Vaughn, and daughter Maryse Dye).

In 1962 after a severe freeze that crippled the fresh fruit industry in Lake County, the sons of James B. Tyre, Jr. (James B. Tyre III and Glenn) bought the abandoned Umatilla Packers Inc. and immediately began packing fresh fruit utilizing the Indian Warrior brand.  The Umatilla facility also supplied fresh fruit to family-owned retail citrus stores located in New Jersey and other northern states.  This unique packing, bulk shipping and marketing plan was successful until the 1983-85 devastating freezes.  The three daughters of James B. Tyre, Jr. (Lilian Fleming, Doris Manz and Joanne Hendrick) married and moved to other areas of Lake County & Central Florida.

Growing and packing ‘Florida citrus’ in the twentieth century was truly a grass roots family occupation that made Lake County an ideal place to live, work and play.

Glenn Tyre – 2020

Other Tyre Labels
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Most packers had several labels they could use.  The primary color of the label indicated the grade of the citrus in the box.  Blue was US #1, the best quality from the packer. Red was US #2, a step down and occasionally another color was used for fruit not making US#1 or US #2.  It should be noted that almost all the Florida fruit that did not meet US#1 standard was due to external appearance.  The internal quality was the same!  Florida conditions, namely a hot wet summer, produced a large number of pests that would damage the surface of the fruit.  The primary one is very small mite, specifically the rust mite.  This pest can produce a dark brown or russet blemish on the surface of the fruit.  Several fungal organisms also can cause damage to the peal. Melanose produces small raised spots producing a fine “sand paper’ feel.  When heavy these lesions can cover a large portion of the fruit surface as well. Windy conditions during spring when the fruit are small cause surface damage as well (this is known as wind scar – the small fruit would rub against leaves producing a superficial blemish to the peel).
Florida growers have to deal with these superficial blemishes because the consumer is looking for a perfect looking piece of fruit.  Sugar content cannot be determined by looking the fruit, so don’t be quick to decide that if an orange is not perfect on the outside that does not mean it will not taste good.  Florida citrus might not be the prettiest in the bin, but they cannot be beat for taste.

To learn more about Lake County citrus click here

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