Check out exotic fruit from Jackfruit to Black Sapote and Snake Fingers to Wax Jambu at the county owned Fruit and Spice Park in Redland. If you’ve been looking for something different to do, something you’ve certainly never seen before, a visit to Fruit and Spice Park is the perfect way to spend the day.
Fruit and Spice Park is more than 30 acres of botanical wonders from every corner of the earth. The Park is located in the rural Homestead-Florida City area of Miami, which is about 20 miles south of Downtown. The park includes the grounds, an onsite café and a gift shop. Take a tour with a knowledgeable guide or participate in an onsite cooking class, wander the park on your own and taste fruits or grab lunch at The Mango Café.
The Fruit and Spice Park Experience
The Fruit and Spice Park experience is truly unlike any other park you’ve ever visited. This is no ordinary neighborhood park with swings and a few trees. Instead, it’s a hands-on, beautiful and educational experience. Where else can you see things you never knew existed, including eggfruit or sausage trees? The grounds are divided by region, so you can wander the fruits, vegetables and native plants of the whole world in one afternoon.
If you choose to take a tour of the grounds be sure to also take a pamphlet with a map. These are located at the entrance. This way you can take your time walking around on your own. At Fruit and Spice Park you’re in for a treat and certainly some surprises.
As you explore the acres upon acres of exotic trees, strange and interesting plants and flowers and lush wilderness, feel free to pick up any fruit you find on the floor to give it a taste. The rule at Fruit and Spice Park is that you can’t pick anything off of the trees, but if it’s fallen to the floor naturally it’s all yours. Come in the right season and you can leave with loads of starfruit, avocado, guava, mamey, papaya, coconut, black sapote and much, much more. Plan in advance and bring a knife and some hand wipes with you to open up fruits with a tougher exterior and slicing it to share. There are dozens of fruits to try here from all regions of the world. Not sure what something is that you’ve picked up? Take it to the gift shop where they have fruit samples out on display or have a guide identify it for you.
There is a massive variety of edible and non-edible fruits, nuts, grasses, spices and more, so we recommend taking the guided tour by foot or tram. Your experienced guide will take you on the hour-long tour and pick little bits of plants growing along the way. The guide will probably give you a taste of something you might have thought was a blade of grass, but turns out to be delicious lemongrass or they might point out the smell of a particularly fragrant flower. Guides can also identify native countries of plants, provide history and context of the park and give you all sorts of fun facts about the plants and trees in the park.
There’s no additional charge for the tour. Guided tours are offered everyday at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.
The Fruit and Spice Park has a busy calendar full of annual events and festivals. Weekly classes and tutorials on interesting subjects like how to identify poisonous plants in your backyard and beekeeping are also offered. Some of the popular annual events include the Asian Culture Festival in early March, Blues, Brews & Barbecue in late April, Redland International Orchid Show in mid-May, Redland Summer Fruit Festival in mid-June and the Redland Fish Fry in early November. Check their online calendar for up-to-date information and details on these wonderful and family friendly year round events.
If you’re excited to try one particular kind of fruit, consider calling in advance to be sure that it’s in season. It may be helpful to call and get some information about what’s blooming at the park during your visit. Certain times of the year are particularly bountiful. No matter the season there are always plenty of plants in bloom, fruits on the ground and spices to try.
Save some time for the gift shop full of local food products, gifts to take home and educational materials. Leave room for lunch at The Mango Café where the food is inspired by the local surroundings and ingredients are as fresh as can be.
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