Take Your Pick

It's the season for relishing fresh veggies and fruits—and a perfect time to celebrate the blueberry.


I’ve been seeing Florida peaches in stores recently, along with blueberries and watermelon. Which means . . . we made it! Another glorious spring in the state with the longest growing season(s) and an abundance of treasures. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture, right now we’ve got access to home-grown peppers, cantaloupe, star fruit, carrots, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, guava, papaya, radishes, strawberries, corn, tomatoes and all manner of citrus (I have finger limes growing in my back yard right now and I can’t wait to play).

Blueberries are king, so much so that the Mount Dora Blueberry Festival takes over Elizabeth Evans Park on April 28-29. The free fest includes vendors, music, a pie-eating contest (don’t wear white), blueberry beer and wine, and $20 excursions to Promise Blueberry Farm for all your u-pick needs. Other sites for an afternoon’s pickage include our local hero Tom West in Ocoee; Southern Hill Farms in Clermont for blueberries, peaches and the Southern Hill Eatery food truck; Clermont’s Blueberry Hill Farms for organic and conventional fruit; Beck Brothers in Windermere offering a 6-pound bucket for $15, and their own orange blossom honey; King Grove Organic in Eustis (their season is late this year, check the Facebook page for opening date); and the Amish farm Blue Bayou and blueberries and peaches at Green Acres Fernery, both in Yalaha.

A side note: We’re on a campaign to cut down plastic use (and waste) and just discovered that Trader Joe’s is using bio-degradable bags in its produce department. I knew I liked them.


* The award-winning (see next month’s issue) Bruno Zacchini of Pizza Bruno is staging a three-course dinner at Sugar Top Farms, the organic concern in Clermont. The “Pizza in the Field” event will offer three courses of Zacchini’s wood-fired fare for $40 per person, with wine pairings at $65.

* Apropos of no food whatsoever (unless you count the beer tent and funnel cakes) the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival begins May 15 for a theater and music-filled 14 days. We always go to the International Preview on the first night, and pick a few shows to enjoy during the run. But you know we’ll be there on the 19th for the Orlando magazine-sponsored, seventh-annual Swamp Sistas La La on the free Fringe Outdoor Stage. The all-day affair features the great Beth McKee (and her Funky Time Band); Kaleigh Baker, the astounding Chakra Kahn (both featured in our Music Beat issue); the Betty Fox Band; and the almost supernatural Swamp Sistas Songwriting Circle. I’ll see y’all there!

Picked any awesome fruit lately? Let me know where. Stay in touch at joseph.hayes@orlandomagazine.com and access a comprehensive list of my print and online reviews here!


Categories: Savor Orlando