Cedric Donald “C.D.” Atkins
Citrus Industry Researcher
Garden # 202
Historic figure is Cedric Donald “C.D.” Atkins (1913-2000) a native Floridian
Atkins was inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in 1983. He was born
in Winter-Haven Florida in 1913, the only child of James A. Atkins and
Christina Atkins. The family lived on a one hundred and twenty ace plot of land
that the family inherited in 1887. They used this large track of land to grow
oranges for a source of second income.
In 1942 while
teaching summer school, Atkins took a part time job at the Florida Citrus
commission. Joining a research team lead by Dr. Louis MacDowell and Dr. Edwin
L. Moore. Shortly after taking the job he gave up teaching for good focusing
most of his attention working at the U.S.D.A lab which at the time was
investigating on better methods for making concentrated orange juice primarily
for the U.S. Armed forces. Additionally the team wanted to produce a system to
make more efficient use of Florida’s Citrus crop. What they came up with is a
method of adding a small amount of fresh juice to the concentrate making it
more flavorful and nutritious, replenishing some vitamins that are lost when
the juice is boiled to make the concentrate.
For my Flor500 garden my group
choose to create an event that would make a visible impact on a local community.
What we came up with was the landscape of the historic James “Cracker” Johnson
house in West Palm Beach Florida. At this residence we planted a garden of
native Florida Fire Bush in honor of Cedric Atkins. These tropical plants have
blossoms of beautiful orange flowers, which cover this hedge like plants. I
choose to plant Fire Bush because the orange blossoms represent the Oranges
trees that surrounded Atkins his entire life as well as the orange concentrate
recipe, which he worked so tirelessly to perfect. The garden was placed along
the western edge of the property line; each Fire bush plant was placed exactly
two feet apart and sixteen inches from the wall centered.
garden commemorates the life’s work of historical Floridian. The results of
which produced a recipe for concentrate that is still used today. The results
of Atkins work produced two major results; first the new concentrate recipe
provided more nutrition. The fresh juice added a multitude of vitamins to the
concentrate including Vitamin C and Vitamin A. This helped to provide vitamins
and minerals to the diet of a malnourished population still recovering from the
great depression. The second major advantage of Atkins work at the U.S.D.A. lab
was that the new concentrate recipe was able to make a more productive use of
Florida’s Citrus crop. These efforts were ahead of their time in terms of
making the best use of Florida fertile soil as well as producing the most vitamin rich concentrate.