What they didn't know was that eastern diamondback rattlesnakes were plentiful in the scrub and pine that blanketed Tampa's southern peninsula and that they were especially dense in MacDill Field - the orchard they just purchased.
He tried making a go of it with lemon and grapefruit trees, but for every two he planted, one would die the next season. "The rattlesnakes were more prolific than the crops I planted," he told the Tampa Tribune in 1940.
Failing at farming was not an option, and with a dense population of tasty rattlesnake he decided to farm them. George and his family set up a snake pit at the end of town, built a cannery (for packaging the smoked snake meat-a cross between chicken and veal I am told), hired some of the more adventurous locals to harvest the snakes, and sold rattlesnake meat via mail order. He even established his own post office in 1939, the Rattlesnake Post Office, to ship his "snake snacks in supreme sauce" around the globe.
|George End handling one of his diamondback rattlesnakes at his Rattlesnake, Fl canning plant.|
But then I moved on to the inspiring part of the story. Here we have a hardworking, dedicated and educated family man who served in WWII, got an education, and wanted to provide for his family. When they drove up to the farm in a borrowed Model A and saw only acres of thicket, he didn't turn around. And after a few years of planting trees that never lasted longer than a season, he didn't give up. He never gave up his dream to make something of his life and of the land he bought. He realized "if I can't grow citrus, then I better take what the land is giving me and run with it". And run with it he did.
Good show George End, good show. So the next time life throws us lemons...let's make