Press "Enter" to skip to content

Pucker up

February is National Grapefruit Month, celebrating a citrus fruit that has had an interesting and complex journey before reaching its present form.

Its origin came from the pummelo seeds brought from the East Indies to the West Indies in 1693. The pummelo trees thrived in Barbados and when their fruit met the sweet orange, the grapefruit was born. The original grapefruit was about the size of an orange and was called the “forbidden fruit” and the “smaller shaddock” after Captain Shaddock who brought the pummelo seeds.

By 1823 the grapefruit had arrived in this country but it was not immediately popular. However, the trees grew and produced fruit in clusters. These grapelike golden clusters intrigued a Florida gentleman, John A. McDonald, who established the first grapefruit nursery in 1870. His shipments of grapefruit to Philadelphia and New York markets began in 1885, beginning the commercial grapefruit industry in the United States.

By the late 1800s grapefruit trees had reached T...

To view the rest of this article, you must log in. If you do not have an account with us, please subscribe here.