The four original species (pomelo, citron, mandarin and papeda)

The four original species (pomelo, citron, mandarin and papeda)

There’s a popular song that advises, “Don’t Blink;” meaning life moves fast, so pay attention or it will swiftly pass by. That is how the start of 2020 has been at the Fruit and Spice Park! It seems March has appeared suddenly. It is true, “time flies when you are having fun” and thanks to a partnership with NFL Green, the Miami Dolphins, Verizon and the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee, there was no shortage of exciting activities at Fruit and Spice Park on the road to Super Bowl 54. Together we renewed and reinterpreted Fruit and Spice Park’s citrus fruit collection. Through funding and many volunteers, we were able to undertake a much-needed update to this precious resource.

When people think of Florida, one of the first things that comes to mind is citrus. Naturally this leads many to believe that citrus is native here. In fact, citrus originated in Asia and Oceania. The four original species (pomelo, citron, mandarin and papeda) were moved around the world through human trade and migration. Then, over the centuries, hybridization occurred, and humans selected and propagated the most desirable varieties. This resulted in the many shapes, colors and flavors we know today.

Citrus faces many challenges in the form of pests and disease, but don’t be discouraged to start growing on your own. Seek guidance from a local Cooperative Extension office for best practices and get the satisfaction of picking home-grown, fresh fruit. People who grew up in Florida have fond memories of backyard trees groaning under the weight of a crop of citrus.

Another important seasonal note for March is the arrival of the 30th Annual Asian Culture Festival! This event has become a fixture here and should not be missed. Cultural displays and performances draw thousands, and the variety of crafts and exotic foods are sure to please. Join us on March 7-8, 2020, from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. and learn more at www.asianculturefestival.net