BY RODOLFO ROMAN
Special to The Miami Herald
South Florida will get a taste of summer just before it officially arrives.
Delicious tropical fruits will be for sale and sampling at the annual Redland Summer Fruit Festival. The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Fruit and Spice Park, 24801 SW 187th Ave. Summer starts June 21.
Admission is $8 per adult; children younger than 12 are free.
Fruit and Spice Park manager Chris Rollins said the event pays homage to the area’s fruit growers.
“It’s the only event that represents the South Dade Redland farming community,” he said.
The two-day affair will showcase local agriculture and tropical fruit plants. More than 30 vendors will attend. Fruit lovers will have the opportunity to sample rare fruits and fruit smoothies. There also will be a tasting of chocolate-covered fruits.
For festival-goers interested in learning about topics such as cultivation and grafting techniques, there will be educational workshops.
U.S. Department of Agriculture representatives also will be on hand. There will be cooking demonstrations using various kinds of fruits.
While visiting the park, fruit lovers can take advantage of amenities like the new 2 ½-acre lake stocked with native fish. The park is also known for growing more than 500 varieties of subtropical fruits, herbs, spices, vegetables and nuts from around the world on 40 lush acres in the Redland.
Visitors won’t have to travel far to learn about plants from the Eastern Hemisphere, as the park offers a green house for tender Asian plants and features over 70 types of bamboo.
The park will offer botanical tours.
Mango lovers will find several varieties of their favorite fruit.
“These mangoes down here in the Redland are different than what you see in the store,” Rollins said.
Music lovers can enjoy local bands like Alternative Tradition. For animal lovers and children, the Little Farm Petting Zoo, pony rides, book signings and other fun family activities will take place.
And, for the heavy eaters, there will be a watermelon-eating contest with the winner taking a prize.
For information, visit www.fruitandspicepark.com.