June 24, 2017 Taste of the Tropics

Descriptions of tropical fruit can never give a full picture. Only by tasting it yourself can you experience the amazing variety of tropical fruit. If you don’t like mangoes because you have only eaten them from the supermarket, you are in for a pleasant surprise (why is that?). Apples and oranges are great, but there is so much more to be experienced. Living in south and central Florida gives the opportunity to grow the best varieties in your own yard of rare fruit you will never see in the store, or which are never at their best when grown by industrial farming.

Our annual Taste of the Tropics & Plant Sale will be held at the Port St. Lucie Botanical Garden, on Saturday, June 24 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. After guests taste the fruit, they will have a chance to buy their favorite tree from club member and past president Mike Luciano of Trees n More, just outside to the north of the building. Several other vendors will also be there around the colonnade. Meletta Luciano will be covering the Martin Co. Master Gardener’s plant sale that day, so no tropical fruit wine demo and auction. Instead Mike will give a brief demo at 12:30.

We need volunteers to set up, cut fruit (maybe bring a knife), manage the table & answer questions, then clean up.

I have been asked to hold a tropical fruit workshop during the event. So: presented by Larry Zimmerman, president of the Treasure Coast Rare Fruit Club. The topic is selecting, planting, caring for and eating tropical fruit. It will start at 9:00 AM. Registration (free for PSL Botanical Garden members) for the workshop is required. (call the Garden contact info).

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June 15, 2017 Mango Tasting with Alex Salazar

We will hold our annual Taste of the Tropics event at PSL Botanical Gardens on the 24th as described in the previous post. For club members and guests, we will have our own private “Taste of the Mangoes” at our meeting this month to celebrate our move to Port St Lucie Botanical Gardens as our new meeting place.

Note our new meeting location:
Port St. Lucie Botanical Garden
2410 SE Westmoreland Blvd. Port St. Lucie
Just south of St. Lucie Boulevard, 2 miles west of Highway 1
7:00 PM, Thursday June 15

Last September, Alex Salazar of Tropical Acres and manager of Sturrock Grove in West Palm Beach, spoke about mangoes to the club. He is returning to our club this time with some of his great mangoes for us to taste, and will be able to answer questions about the best varieties and how to grow them.

We will also be bringing more varieties from Trees n More and other nurseries and orchards so we have as many different great varieties as we can find this time of year. If you have any extra mangoes, bring some to share so we can all experience the diversity of mangoes.

If you want even more technical information about mangoes, Alex is also the featured speaker at another event the following Monday by the Martin County Master Gardeners,  June 19th Blake Library, Stuart 6:00pm. The topic for that talk is The Challenge of Mangoes in South Florida.

If you don’t have any mangoes, it’s OK to bring something else for the tasting table.
Bring something interesting for the raffle table so as many people can go home with something as possible.
We will have our plant auction for club members. No more than 3 plants per member please.

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Change of venue starting June 15, 2017

Those who attended the meeting in May know the story.
( If you know someone who is interested and not on our email list–or does not use email–please let them know of the change. )

Since we had for several years participated in their general spring plant sale, as well as our own early summer Taste of the Tropics and plant sale at the Port St. Lucie Botanical Garden, we asked them if we could hold our meetings in the main building where we hold our Taste of the Tropics event. We agreed that having the Rare Fruit Club at the Botanical Garden was a good fit. It is now official. We will now be meeting, same time, same day,  the third Thursday every month at the Port St. Lucie Botanical Garden at 7:00 pm.
.    Port St. Lucie Botanical Garden
.    2410 SE Westmoreland Blvd.
.    Port St. Lucie, FL
It is located just south of SE Port St Lucie Blvd. and two miles west of Hwy 1. Continue reading

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May 18, 2017 Rose Caspary: Edible Plants–Beneficial Uses and Cultivation

UPDATE: Rose’s blog (also see club member pages in Links)
Learn about the culinary and medicinal uses of plants from Rosemary (Rose) Caspary, an avid edible gardener. Gain insight on how to create a sustainable edible garden.  Focus on many edible plants best suited to grow in South Florida.  Plus, Rose will share recipes, new and exciting healthy cooking ideas packed with more flavor and aroma.

Rose Caspary enjoys edible gardening, healthy home-cooking, making body products, and creating art.  She started two local groups, the Spicy Herb Group and Treasure Coast Homesteading.
Rose earned a masters degree in nutrition and is a former dietitian.

Over years of use and study, she enjoys the many beneficial qualities of plants especially culinary and Continue reading

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April 20, 2017 Dr. Tim Motis: Seeds and seed storage

Our speaker this month is Dr. Tim Motis, Agriculture Technical and Research Director at ECHO. One area of research for Dr. Motis has been how to best save and store seeds for maximum viability over time. He will be sharing his research at our April meeting.

If you are interested in a more in-depth course in seeds and seed saving, ECHO is holding a 5 day in-residence seminar at their Ft. Meyers facility May 8-12. The course fee includes meals and dorm housing. Information here.

Continue reading

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March 16, 2017 Shari Blissett-Clark: Bats

Recent article in Florida Gardening Magazine The Ecological Benefits of Bats
Did You Know?  Florida’s bats are the primary predators of night-flying insects, consuming millions of bugs each night.  Even a small colony of just 100 bats can eat up to 200,000 insects in a single night (including many of your insect enemies like cabbage moth). That adds up to 73 million insect pests each year!

Pesticide-free, cost-free insect control – how sweet it is!  Learn what you can do to help Florida’s bats by visiting the Florida Bat Conservancy‘s website:  www.floridabats.org

shari-bat-250

Shari Blissett-Clark with a rescued Florida bat.

This month’s colorful program uses high resolution photography and research results to introduce America’s fascinating bats!  From the largest to the smallest, these beneficial mammals play critical roles in ecosystem health as well as human health. Commonly believed folklore, myths, and misconceptions that have plagued bats for centuries will be revealed and replaced with bat facts that dispel unfounded fears, often fueled by grossly over-stated disease risk and ignorance. Species diversity, environmental and economic value, and bat conservation efforts will also be discussed. Live Florida bats will be displayed that are being rehabbed/have been rescued. Continue reading

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February 16, 2017 Chris Rollins–Wild edibles

chris-rollins-and-a-mangosteen-p10Chris Rollins retired a couple of years ago after managing the Fruit & Spice Park in Homestead for 34 years. In February, Chris will be visiting fruit enthusiasts around the state. He will be speaking to our club at our February meeting. The topic will be Edible Wild Plants of South Florida.

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