South Florida’s take on the Garden of Eden, Fruit and Spice Park is a paradise where you can forage for delectable exotic fruits.
This is another dreamlike location for me, I love horticulture – must have been passed down from my grandma who worked at the NY Botanical Gardens. Start at the visitors center where you can get some tips and try some fruits.
Head out to the paths to learn about the fruits – banana, avocado, some you may never have heard of – custard apple, ice cream bean. I knew a few exotic fruits from having been to Robert is Here, like canistel – but the staff recommends not eating any fruits you aren’t familiar with because some can be poisonous.
In that case, it may be helpful to take the informative tram tour. Unfortunately, we got there to late in the day and missed it. We did however end up chatting with a local who was very knowledgeable and tipped us off about what became one of my favorite fruits, the Jaboticaba. They’re like cotton candy grapes with tough skin. Pop them in your mouth, break the tough acrid skin, swallow the fruit, and spit out the husk!
They grow right on the trunk of the tree, all Willy Wonka like. Foraging quickly becomes a hidden treasure hunt, meant to be taken off the path in search of delicious booty. You can try different variations of bananas.
Mulberries became another quick snack, I definitely knew what these were because I have a tree right in my childhood backyard – but these ones are on steroids!
When they are ripe and falling to the ground, sometimes the squirrels get drunk sometimes because the berries have fermented. Just seeing some of the amazing fruit the earth produces is satisfying as well. Once again, not everything is edible – like this ornamental pink pineapple.
This is a garden and other than fruit there are so many beautiful flowers and trees to admire.
Fruit and Spice is the only botanical gardens of its kind in America, this is a truly unique and special place to visit while in South Florida.