GrowFest kicked of the growing season here in South Florida and was held at a 37-acre park which according to Wikipedia contains more than 500 varieties of fruit, nut and spice trees.
That includes 80 banana varieties, 125 varieties of mango, more than 40 varieties of grapes, 70 bamboo varieties plus guava, jackfruit, canistel, sapodilla, longan, lychee, mamey sapote, coffee beans and other exotic edibles.
By far the strangest looking fruit we saw was growing on South African sausage trees. The fruit hangs from rope-like stalks and grows 2-feet in length weighing 15 pounds!
It's widely planted as ornamental trees in tropical areas outside Africa, however I've been told the falling fruit can severely harm people or damage vehicles. Chris and I were also mindful of the coconuts which littered the ground and hung heavy in the trees.
Sausage tree fruit is inedible to humans but is often used as in ingredient in making beer, as it is said to speed up the fermentation process. Also, many animals such as monkeys, elephants and giraffes really enjoy munching on the fruit.
I was really tempted to buy some seedlings to grow on our balcony, but unfortunately two little plant munchers named Merlot and Chianti make that too difficult right now. However, screened-in balconies are uncommon here, so I'm guessing they won't be roaming free at our next place and I'll be able to start a small container garden next year. I miss basil most of all and the ability to easily make pesto.
GrowFest also had food trucks and Chris got to try conch fritters, which are a Key West speciality he didn't get to try during our recent visit there. He thought there was too much breading but otherwise he liked them. I found myself wishing they were fried cheese curds which don't exist down here.
Don't let hit sausage tree smile fool you, Chris was not impressed by the Fruit & Spice Park. However, I reminded him a couple times that I had agreed to a football game in exchange. We each thought each other was getting the better end of the deal.
We were able to attend today's game thanks to Chris' company which has four season tickets. Free parking and tickets is an ideal way to attend a game because it helped us not feel guilty about spending $36 on two frozen drinks.
We were excited to tailgate until we arrived and realized almost everyone had a canopy except us, which was essential in blocking the sun. We looked like weirdos, but we ate our grilled black bean burgers in the car with the air cranked. Chris made our favorite guacamole (Alton's recipe) to have with chips and that completed our short but tasty tailgating menu.