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Have you ever eaten a piece of fruit that tastes like chocolate pudding? Or one that smells like Juicy Fruit gum? How about root beer? Thanks to South Florida's subtropical climate, the black sapote, the jackfruit, and the sapodilla — which offer these tastes — can all be sampled at a beautiful 35-acre oasis west of Krome Avenue and north of Homestead. Although you can't pick the fruit from the trees, you can eat whatever has fallen to the ground, except for the ackee, which is poisonous if you consume it before ripening. (For this reason, the ackees are fenced off.) At least once a month, the park has an interesting, usually fruit- or plant-related festival. They celebrate orchids, palms, and rare fruits, for instance. Or you can just wander around the grounds anytime, marveling at the oddities of the South Florida soil. Park admission is $6 for adults, $1.50 for children.
I first visited the Fruit & Spice Park with my best friend from Paris, France. We spent the entire day there and went through a simple taste test. Since then, I've been back thrice and most recently, had the honour of helping work on, participate in and promote the park for the Asian Cultural Festival two years back. I had the honour of manning the table for Singapore and Malaysia. It was a culturally enriching experience.
Here's a mystery for you: What is it about South Florida that seems to sprout mystery writers? Do they come here as poets and experimental novelists and turn to the mystery-and-murder genre after hearing of bodies wrenched from the muck of the Everglades or loads of cocaine or human cargo found in the belly of cargo ships? Or is it the heat of the climate that makes for murderous thoughts? It's interesting that one of the few independent bookstores to survive the Bordering and... More »
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