Mangos for sale at the Municipal market in Cartago, some 25 km south of San Jose, on March 13, 2010. AFP PHOTO/ Yuri CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Health is a part of South Florida’s culture. People bike, swim, go to the gym and do whatever they can to maintained those tanned and toned bodies. A big part of health is nutrition and while people love to eat well, they also want their food to taste good. South Florida’s lush climate not only encourages outdoor activities but also provides a bevy of bountiful summer fruits that can normally only be found in subtropical climates. So follow this guide down the road of health and discover the best place to buy mangos and more.
Fruit & Spice Park
24801 S.W. 187th Ave.
Homestead, FL 33031
There are a variety of South Florida farmers’ markets from Broward to Miami-Dade county, but if you want a sampling of the most exotic fruit, then you should head south to Homestead to Fruit & Spice Park. During the summer, it holds a variety of festivals to celebrate summer fruits with vendors on hand so consumers can purchase these fruits at their peak. In June, there are two festivals (Redland Summer Fruit Festival and Mango Mania) and two workshops (Lychee and Longan Workshop and Cooking With Mangos) that celebrate seasonal summer offerings. Then in July, the Rare Fruit Conference displays the best South Florida fruit over the course of a weekend. This year’s event is held from July 9 to July 13.
MangosMangos are obviously the star of the South Florida summer fruits and at Fruit and Spice Park, there are over 160 varieties on hand. You can take the $8 tram ride and taste a few samples or you can head over to the onsite Mango Cafe to try mango smoothies, cheesecake and other tasty delicacies. Hayden Mangos are usually a good buy, identifiable by their green and red color but still providing the mushy sweetness of a Florida mango. You can also purchase mango trees at one of Fruit and Spice Park’s many festivals as well and have a mango fest in your own backyard.
Pitaya (Dragon Fruit)
Dragon fruit can be scary for some and adventurous for others. This prickly fruit resembles a pink and green cactus and tastes like a kiwi/pear hybrid. Normally this fruit is found in Thailand, but the South Florida climate is conducive to its growth so South Floridians get an exotic taste without the exotic price. The fruit is simple enough to eat. Simply cut it down the middle and scoop out the insides for a tasty snack or an ingredient for desserts, pies and jams.
Related: Mango Mania at Fruit & Spice Park
GuavaGuava is a staple in most Cuban pastries. Sweet on the tongue, it is divine when paired with a flaky crust and cream cheese. The fruit itself has a tough green exterior with sweet pink interior. Just the thought conjures images of freshly made pastelitos and guava cheesecake. If you have a bakery or are quite the cook, then a guava purchase is right up your alley.
Papaya, Passion Fruit & Limes
There are so many more summer fruits to be listed but any great list must include papaya, passion fruit and limes. These sweet and citrus fruits are the basis for an exceptional tropical fruit salad. Papaya is a thin-skinned green fruit with orangish-pink interior that you eat sans seeds for a sweet experience. Passion fruit is a round fruit with a interior that resembles pea soup but tastes like citrus heaven. And finally, the lime is a green fruit that makes Coronas taste better and can turn any dish into a Caribbean delicacy. Purchase one or all to feel like you’ve been transported to the islands.
Related: Best Fall Family Getaways In South Florida
Niema Hulin was born in Newark, NJ but raised in Lexington, South Carolina for the bulk of her formative years. In 2002, she moved to Miami after graduating from the University of Florida. Since then, Niema has worked in film, television and commercials as a Production Assistant and Production Coordinator. Some of her films have included Bad Boys II and I Am Number IV. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.