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Redland Summer Fruit Festival This Weekend, Get Fresh, Local, Tropical

Tomorrow and Sunday at Fruit and Spice Park, the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree. Life's a mango, dig in at the Redland Summer Fruit Festival where exotic varieties of the plentiful bounties intrinsic to our tropical paradise will be featured and showcased on the grounds of South Dade's premier tropical botanical garden.

There will be live music from the Strictly Business Blues Band, a petting zoo, a watermelon eating contest, 160 varieties of mangos for the tasting, burgers, dogs, corn on the cob, Thai food, arepas, and more.

The park's soon to open Mango Cafe, an on-site restaurant, will be previewing its featured menu item, a Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich.

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Park Services Assistant Juan Riera, who leads tours and provides plant informations says, "It's a lot of fun. There are wonderful exhibitors, lots of really

awesome food. If you have a green thumb, you will see plants like crazy

and you just might wanna buy one and try planting it yourself.

Asked

what type of plants one might see, Riera responds, "Lychees, mangos, hog

plums, bananas, white and black sapote, ice cream beans."

What's that?

"Ice

cream beans are a wonderful fruit, green, about 5 to 6 inches long,

looks a bit like a cucumber, always cold on the inside, very well-insulated, and the middle is white and very sweet-tasting and has some

seeds as well that you do not eat.

"There'll be a lot of sapodillas as well. They're originally from

Central America, but a turn-of-the-century Russian guy who lived on an

island in the Florida Keys spent his life developing varieties of

this fruit."

The park expects a crowd of about 5,000 for the weekend, their historic

average. "There'll be 40 different plant and tree vendors

and you can find anything you want. You name it, they got it," says Brian Cullen, Public Facilities Manager. "It's a

neat day in the park. The Homestead Art Club comes out and sets up. We

have a fishing pond for the kids where they can win prizes. The Lychee

Longan Workshop is really cool. Come on out."

June 20 and 21 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Cost of entrance is $7 (kids under 11 free).

Fruit and Spice Park
24801 S.W. 187th Avenue, Homestead
305-247-5727

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