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The Caloosa Rare Fruit Exchange held its annual “Taste of Lee” conference in downtown Ft. Myers on Saturday. It was well attended with hundreds of people interested in seeing, tasting and learning more about rare tropical fruits grown in SW Florida. I have been trying to develop my green thumb and learn more about growing peach and lemon trees in my backyard and horticulture in general.
There were many small growers, and farm owners who were displaying their rare fruits and selling their fruit trees, plants and other items. Some of the fruits on display have been imported from various countries around the world. I tasted a few fruits which were cut up and put out on platters like the familiar mango and papaya fruits and some not so familiar fruits. I also picked up some information from local growers like Miss Potters Place, Southern Fresh Farms and Pine Island Botanicals where I hope to buy some of my fruits and vegetables in the future.
The Univ. of Florida Lee County Extension Service was there which offers classes and guidance in gardening, fertilizer and pest management. I included this page about rare fruits on my website/blog because farms take up 25% of the land area in Florida and have an impact on the wetlands and environment in Florida. Farms that grow crops and raise animals which use responsible land use practices can improve the water quality in surface wetlands and underground acquifers. Homeowners who grow gardens and fertilize their lawns using nitrogen, phosphorous and other chemicals also impact our water quality and wetlands. County Extension departments like the Univ. of Florida Institute Food and Agriculture Sciences, Lawn and Garden programs offer a lot of useful information on the proper application and use of fertilizers so they will not wash into our streams and rivers during heavy rains.