The Grooms family inducted into the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame

At the Hillsborough 100 luncheon on April 27 at the Regent (left to right): Carl Grooms; Dee Dee Grooms and her sister, Denise Alderman; and Kristi Grooms with her fiancé, Derek Barnes. (Photo courtesy of Hillsborough Soil and Water Conservation District.)

By Linda Chion

At the Regent last month to receive an award, Carl and Dee Dee Grooms went home with recognition for two, including induction into the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame.

“It was a great honor, I didn’t see it coming,” said Carl, who earlier, on behalf of his family, had accepted the Soil Conservation District’s 2022 Outstanding Project of the Year award. and Hillsborough Water (HSWCD).

The Grooms family owns Fancy Farms in Plant City, and this year they harvested their 48th crop of strawberries. They also own Fancy Farms Market off Drane Field Road at the Hillsborough/Polk County line, where strawberry smoothies and cookies are among the main draws.

Both honors were recognized at the HSWCD’s Hillsborough 100 Conservation Challenge 2022 Launch Luncheon and Awards Ceremony held on April 27 at The Regent in Riverview. In attendance was Michael Gutter, associate dean at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, through which the Florida 4-H program is managed. The Hall of Fame honor, he said, recognizes “outstanding partners and contributors to the Florida 4-H program.”

The 4-H program provides youth with opportunities to develop skills, accumulate knowledge and explore career paths with projects and events on a wide selection of topics ranging from agriculture to robotics to by government simulation.

Betty Jo Tompkins, executive director of HSWCD, said the Grooms family, including son Dustin and daughter Kristi, have been recognized by her organization for sponsoring a pick-your-own 100 Hillsborough strawberries to benefit programs and activities for children. youth.

She also noted that the Grooms family for 16 years has sponsored strawberry pickings in support of Hillsborough County 4-H programs.

“They have always been servants of the community,” Tompkins said. “As they say, service is in their DNA.”

As for Carl, “my whole life is a project, and now I’m getting an award for it,” he said. “Especially in agriculture, it’s an everyday project and I want to thank my family and my wife. She is my partner in business, in crime and in everything else. Carl said that despite being in business since 1974, he’s still learning, and that’s how it should be “in any business you find yourself in today”.

Visit Fancy Farms at

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