Monday, June 20, 2016

Our 21st Anniversary Fruitcation to Homestead

Once again, Craig and I celebrated our anniversary in Homestead. Our hotel points allowed us to stay in the area for free again. This year, we went down a little later because of the late ripening of Mangos in Florida. Our trip happened to fall on the same weekend as the fruit festival at Fruit and Spice Park. 



Of course, we arrived as soon as they opened and headed straight back to the rows of mango trees. Sadly, there were no ripe PPK mangos (our favorite). However, we were able to eat quite a few delicious, and some not as delicious, mangos. As always, we brought a sharp knife. Due to my mango sap allergy, Craig has to do all of the mango cutting.



After the mangos, we looked at the avocado trees, then headed over the some dropped coconuts. Again, the knife came in handy as we broke into the coconuts and drank fresh coconut water - very refreshing. 


As we walked along the path, we came across a Redland White Sapote. This was too perfumy tasting for Craig, but I loved it! Best white sapote I have ever eaten. I am going to be sure to treat the one I have growing in our yard a bit better. So good!


With our visit coinciding with the Redland Fruit Festival, we were able to see the beautiful display of mangos. 

I think we ended up eating lunch here every day after having breakfast in the park. We tried a few different items and all were delicious. The best part were the fresh mango smoothies - only ones to rival what I can make at home. 

We plan our anniversary trip in June, rather than May because of the overlap for lychees and mangos.  We purchased several pounds of lychees while in Homestead. 


It is always fun to look for invasive lizards while in the area - they are always too fast for us to catch though. 



The Baobob tress were all blooming - the flowers are amazing and almost look like a hummingbird feeder.






Cinnamon Apple! We found another area in the park where these are growing. 


Giant Syzygium fruit



While in Homestead, we paid another visit to Going Bananas. Don and Katie are always so welcoming and so much fun to talk with. 


They have the most beautifully pruned lychee trees!


Lots of Bananas to sample this time - below are Manini/A'ea'e



These Praying Hands Bananas are the best tasting bananas we have ever had - tasted like Banana custard with vanilla. 




While in the area, we also visited Fairchild Gardens. 



Chupa Chupa tree looking up from the ground. 


Happy 21st Anniversary to us! So thankful to be married to someone who shares many of my same interests. 










We both thought this was a rat :) Just part of a plant which fell on the bench.


Redhead Agamas are everywhere at Fairchild Gardens


Red Sealing Wax/Lipstick palm



Now this was a crazy palm - wish I could grow this - the fruits have a very strong aroma of Salt Water Taffy. 


More invasive lizards - this time an iguana. 


Shallow soil + heavy banana plants =


Our final day, we had planned to go to Fruit and Spice Park to take the tour. There was so much lightning and rain, that the park told us we might not want to enter. We promised to be careful and they allowed us to go in but no tours today. Since it was our breakfast time, we headed to the mango trees. Thankfully, the greenhouse was nearby so we could get out of the rain while cutting up mangos. 


It kept raining, but the lightning moved on, so we ventured out for more fruit eating throughout the park. 


We exited absolutely soaked. Everyone was so nice and the park manager told us there was no charge for our visit that day :)


Our last planned stop was at the Subtropical Research Station - GRIN. We had requested some banana plants and thankfully, they had them ready up from for us. No tour, due to the rain, but thankfully that we were able to pickup what we wanted. 






We headed back home with a van full of grafted fruit trees from a few nurseries we visited on the way, an orchid I purchased on the side of the road, some jackfruits, coconuts and other goodies. 

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