Gabriele Marewski’s Paradise Farms, a five-acre organic lot in Homestead, is rarely more paradisiacal than right about now, as summers’ bounty of nectar-laden fruit is coming into bloom. Marewski, who has a BS degree in agronomy from the University of Maryland, drives her farmed goods -- which include herbs, micro greens, heirloom tomatoes, and edible flowers as well as those juicy fruits -- into Miami each week. She doesn’t sell to the public, but supplies Mark’s South Beach, Escopazzo, the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, and numerous local restaurants.
On a recent stop Gabriele offered me some cotton candy fruit to try. These cranberry-colored berries are of the same size and similar texture as blueberries, but upon popping in the mouth, a sugary burst of absolutely cotton candy-like flavor spins on the tongue for a fleeting moment. She tells me that the Preston restaurant in Loews Miami Beach uses her cotton candy fruit in one of their dishes, and that “there are still flowers on the trees, so I think they will be available for another month or so.”
I asked Gabriele about the availability of other summer fruits:
Mangoes: Should go through until September.
Papayas: Supposed to be available all year, but sure taste good right now.
Jackfruit: Mine will be ready in about two weeks, with more fruits coming until August. (The jackfruit is the largest treeborne fruit in the world, its sweet yellow flesh possessing a mild pineapple taste, but less juicy.)
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Lychees:The short, sparse season came and went! The hurricanes disrupted the cycle and this winter was relatively mild and wet, which didn't promote much reproductive growth.
Monstera: My crop is looking really good. They should be ready in mid-July and August. (Monstera’s sweet, custard-like flesh tastes similar to jackfruit and pineapple, and is one of those fruits that is likable upon first bite.)
Bananas:This is banana season. It's fun to try all the different bananas at Going Bananas (24401 SW 197 Ave., Homestead; 305-247-0397). It is open to the public and has other fruit too.
Other fruits from the Redlands: I have a little bit of passion fruit and some longans (white, soft, juicy translucent flesh, like lychees). Sal has mamey (creamy, sweet, pumpkiny) that he sells to Whole Foods. Margie is selling her organic avocados to Whole Foods too. Roger Washington has pitaya (or dragonfruit -- mildly sweet, with kiwi-ish seeds). --Lee Klein