Digital images captured in Florida’s renowned citrus groves, a research laboratory, and a Chicago farmers market were judged for the University of Florida “2018 UF/IFAS IRREC Citrus Horticulture Lab Digital Photography Contest.”
The contest was offered by Rhuanito “Johnny” Ferrarezi, who leads UF’s Citrus Horticulture Laboratory research and extension program at the UF Indian River Research and Education Center (IRREC) near Fort Pierce. The center is part of the university’s statewide Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
“The contest was held to promote citriculture, support the IRREC Citrus Horticulture program, and to encourage horticulture-related photography,” said Ferrarezi. “We are gratified to have received so many beautiful images and we wish we had more winning slots.”
The images were judged in four separate categories: Citrus Groves, Visitors in the Groves, Citrus in the Kitchen, and Serendipity. In announcing the winning images, Ferrarezi noted the submissions represented a packing house and laboratory research; fresh orange juice, cut and displayed fresh fruit; wildlife and bees–and the infamous psyllid that causes citrus greening, a plant disease that has posed the industry’s most formidable challenge of all time.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARDS
Three of the photography contest winning images were highlighted with special recognition across all categories. Each image honored noted photographers who were or continue to combine citrus production with photography. Special recognition winners are:
• The Alto “Bud” Adams Photography Award,” for “Fawn,” an image of a young fawn caught by surprise in a Vero Beach citrus grove. The picture was submitted by longtime citrus producer, George Hamner. Adams, who died last year, was a prominent cattle ranch operator who produced award-winning photography.
• The Robert “Bob” Bullock Photography Award was presented for an image called “Bee on Grapefruit Flower,” taken in a Fort Pierce experimental citrus grove. The picture was submitted by Susan Hamburger, a technician in an IRREC laboratory. Bullock, a Citrus Hall of Fame inductee, was an IRREC Associate Professor of Entomology.
• The Velma Spencer Photography Award was awarded for “The Many Varieties of Citrus,” featuring ruby red, bright orange and pink shades of halved citrus varieties. The image was submitted by Josh McGill, who works for SouthEast Agnet. Spencer is a longtime administrative assistant at IRREC and a professional photographer.
Placing First in the Citrus Groves category was the digital image “Cutting Spirals,” in which Ferrarezi cuts a grapefruit rind spiral while Rick Minton Jr. looks on. Minton is an IRREC stakeholder and member of a pioneer agricultural family who led the local industry to its precipitous rise. The submitting photographer for “Cutting Spirals” was Marco Pitino, a post-doctorate researcher at IRREC.
Placing second in the same category was “Low Hanging Fruit,” a single orange illuminated by Florida’s bright sun, also shot by Pitino. Third Place in the category is “Grafting,” a sepia-tone image of a grafted citrus limb and an emergent bloom, again, submitted by Pitino.
The image that placed first in the category “Citrus in the Kitchen” was “Victorious Vernia,” featuring a glass of orange juice with fresh cut wedges alongside. The image was captured by John Bekemeyer of Bekemeyer Family Farm, LLC, in Winter Garden. Ferrarezi said the caption for the fruit image reads “replant of HLB decimated groves yields juice in less than two years.” What this means is that new trees were planted in a grove that had been lost to citrus greening. The abbreviation “HLB” is for huánglóngbìng, or “yellow dragon disease” in Chinese, where the disease was first discovered. In the last 10 years, the disease has reduced Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry to less than 10 percent of what it once was, Ferrarezi said.
Taking Second Place was “The Many Varieties of Citrus,” which also took the Velma Spencer Award noted above. Placing Third in the category was an image titled “Rosa,” a sparkling half grapefruit of deep rose-colored flesh, presented by Pitino.
In the category “Visitors to the Grove,” an image titled “Bee Lovely” took First Place. Bee Lovely shows a live bumblebee in-motion, near a citrus blossom. The image was submitted by Pitino.
Taking Second in this same category was “Fawn in the Grove” mentioned above for the Adams Award. Third in the category was “Bee on Grapefruit Flower,” also recognized with the Bullock Award.
The final contest category, called “Serendipity,” was highlighted with First Place winner “After a Summer Storm.” This image shows a large green citrus fruit and surrounding leaves beaded with clear rain droplets. The image was submitted by McGill.
Placing second in this category was “Minneolas,” a wicker basket full of the striking orange variety. In the image, the fruit is on display at a Chicago farmers market with baskets of lemons and limes behind the minneolas. The image was shot by Ferrarezi.
Placing third in the Serendipity category is “IREP Packing House and Rainbow.” It features a double-rainbow and fading storm clouds over Indian River Exchange Packers Packing House, a Vero Beach packinghouse owned by the photographer George Hamner.
Ferrarezi said the winning images will be framed and put on permanent display in the IRREC Citrus Horticultural Lab and in a main hallway at the IRREC.
“The images celebrate an industry that has been long celebrated in Florida and is recognized for the world’s premier citrus,” said Ferrarezi. “Many people are working hard to sustain Florida’s beautiful citrus industry.”