THE FLORIDA Citrus Hall of Fame honored three new inductees on March 6 at the 53rd Citrus Celebration Luncheon held at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. The honorees were Nicholas “Nick” Faryna, Sherwood “Buddy” Johnson, and John Updike. Faryna and Updike were inducted posthumously. They were chosen because “they made contributions that impacted the Florida citrus industry for the betterment of the industry,” says Hall of Fame Executive Director Brenda Eubanks Burnette.
During the ’80s, when freezers were destroying the livelihood of citrus farmers, Nick Faryna experimented with a then-radical idea — freezing the plants to keep them warm. He used elevated micro sprinklers that coated the lower scaffold limbs of citrus trees with a layer of ice, which paradoxically created warmth and kept the plants from dying. These sprinklers are now an industry standard. A graduate of the University of Florida (UF) and an owner of a grove-care business, Faryna also helped make irrigation more efficient through the use of “Speed Sprayers,” and he worked on important research with the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). He was involved with several organizations, including the Umatilla Growers’ Association, Florida Natural Growers, the Florida Citrus Production Research Advisory Council, and many more.
Buddy Johnson received a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from UF, and he was a huge name in the packing and gift fruit industry. Johnson was an early adopter of the computer grading line, which is now an industry standard, and his alliance with Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. helped make citrus more prominent within the organization. With UF, Johnson also helped establish the Treasure Coast Research Park, which was designed to facilitate and encourage agricultural research. He was involved with organizations including the Indian River Citrus League, Florida Farm Bureau, the Florida Citrus Production Managers’ Association and dozens more. He also helped found the Treasure Coast Agricultural Research Foundation.
John Updike, Sr. joined his father’s citrus business in Lake Wales after graduation from UF. The business expanded into packing and processing as well, and became one of the most modern and innovative packing houses in the state. Updike, along with his brother and son-in-law, took the helm of the company after his father’s death. Updike was also involved in the community, and he established the Lake Wales Housing Authority to provide low-cost housing to families in need. He was also involved with organizations including the Florida Canners’ Association, the National Juice Products Association, and Seald Sweet Growers, among others.
THE CITRUS HALL OF FAME
This Citrus Celebration Luncheon is a very meaningful event for citrus professionals. Portions of the proceeds will go toward the Educational Outreach program, which aims to shine a spotlight on Florida’s citrus history. “The citrus industry is what shapes Florida,” Burnette states. “It’s Florida’s number one agricultural industry.”
The Florida Citrus Hall of Fame display and Archive Center can be found in the McKay Archives Building at Florida Southern College. More information about the Citrus Hall of Fame, its members and its inductees can be found at www.FloridaCitrusHallofFame.com.
article by KELSEY TRESSLER