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. )

For everyone else: at the beginning of the month I was notified by the U.F. Research & Education center that they are changing their policy for non-university groups after hours. Once that new policy takes effect, we will need to find a different meeting place. I didn’t know then exactly when this would take effect, so the board searched for another venue before the May meeting.

PSL Botanical Garden building

There were a few possibilities. 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 use their building and the meeting room 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.

Although it is farther for our members in Indian River County and Fort Pierce, when I checked the number of current members, there are more than three times as many members in PSL and south as there are in northern Treasure Coast. That led to a very positive response from members at the meeting for using the PSL Botanical Garden.

I spoke to the management of our current spot before the meeting and learned that September would likely be the soonest we would need to vacate, but people wanted to go ahead and make the switch starting next month.

I just got off the phone with management at the Botanical Garden and it is official. We will now be meeting, same time, same day, which is 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.

We will open the building to set up at 6:00, and people are welcome to arrive after about 6:30 for a little social time. We will continue to have our raffle, auction and tasting table as before.

One thing the Botanical Garden requested is that we not park in the circular drive out front. Although it is rare, if someone faints, etc. (which happened to someone at a recent event), the drive needs to be kept clear for emergency vehicles. There is plenty of parking on either side of the circle, and overflow parking in the grass area south of the pond as you arrive.

The venue change will be announced again in the reminder email the week of the meeting, and we will post a sign on the door at our previous meeting place on Rock Road that night.

Posted in Information, meetings

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:


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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January 19, 2017 Elizabeth Baldwin

elizabeth-baldwin-p30Elizabeth A. Baldwin, PhD is a Research Leader at the
USDA Horticultural Research Laboratory just north of our meeting location on S. Rock Road. She works in the area of post-harvest fruit physiology and food science including research on tropical fruits. The topic will be Flavor, Quality, and Health Benefits of Tropical/Subtropical Fruit.

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December 15, 2016—Christmas, Holiday party

trase-logo-corrected(c)Reminder: annual membership renewal is in January.

Our annual Christmas holiday banquet this year is Thursday, December 15 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, open to club members and their immediate family. Members can also bring guests for $10 each, (or give them a club membership). Note we start the banquet a half hour earlier than our usual meeting. We won’t have an auction, but there will be White Jade and Florida Special pineapple plants under the tree as you leave and there will be lots of door prizes.

Posted in events, meetings