Fruit Utopia - The Preston B. Bird and Mary Heinlein Fruit and Spice Park

Episode 10 March 15, 2022 00:37:47
Fruit Utopia - The Preston B. Bird and Mary Heinlein Fruit and Spice Park
Fruit Love Letters
Fruit Utopia - The Preston B. Bird and Mary Heinlein Fruit and Spice Park

Show Notes

In this episode @Jessaminestarr visits a real fruit utopia, the @fruitandspice park in Homeland, Fl. It is a county park like no other, full of fruit and spice plants from around the world. She talks with the director, Vanessa Trujillo, about some of the offerings at the park and then chats with horticulturalist Louise King about the history and the future of the park. Finally, she takes listeners on a tour with guide Iva Hegg, who is a wealth of knowledge about everything growing in the park.

Learn more about this episode of Fruit Love Letters at, on IG at @whetstoneradio, Twitter at @whetstone_radio, and YouTube at /WhetstoneRadio.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:01 Today. I met you. You, you, you I'm still not sure exactly what happened in the 20 minutes. We were just together. I do know you were ripe and I was fruit toast intoxicated, but I'm not willing to throw this into the, a vacation fling file. You, I already know. I will spend a lifetime chasing another glitch lost in your Grove. I don't even know how to pronounce your name. Jaha Kaba appropriately a mouthful. Well, my little misplaced net, Meg grape. I love you. I love you. I'm just star your to fruit. Love letters. Speaker 0 00:01:05 Food for me is a way to express love. I'm a chef in Atlanta and I fold my feelings into the meals I cook for my family, my friends, even strangers. It can be hard for me to say, I love you, but you will know it when I serve you rose and black pepper meringues. But if I peel you an apple slice you a perim, pick you a Mulberry with my stain fingers. They will both know it's really serious fruit of course have long been consider symbols of love, even aphrodisiacs on this show. I'm exploring our love of fruit and what it says about us. People. Speaker 0 00:01:55 If you've been listening along to fruit, love letters, this episode's gonna be a little different. I'm not gonna focus on a specific fruit this time. No, I'm gonna focus on a place, a kind of fruit utopia. That letter I read, I wrote it after I'd stumbled through this place. About two years ago, fruit drunk and happy on one of my visits there. I wrote it after I tried a Brazilian fruit, the Jabu Kaba for the very first time, it looks like a grape and was growing straight from the trunk so that the tree looked like it had been Beed with perfect purple orbs. I drifted towards that tree as if enchanted and fell in love. The Deb Kaba was just one of dozens of no, I tried that day. Some of them, I also loved some, not as much, but it doesn't matter because what this place did was open my eyes to a literal world of fruit possibilities. It gathered all my loves in one place. On this episode, the Preston B bird and Mary Highland fruit and spice park, The fruit and spice park is a county run park. Located about an hour outside of Miami. I've visited several times, but this time I got to ask all the questions I'd been storing up about this place. When I show up park director, Vanessa Tru greets me. Speaker 2 00:03:29 So we are in the Redland and we are a 37 acre subtropical botanical garden. The only one in the world. What's so amazing about this park is that there's always something new in season. And you can past the different fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs that are in season, depending on the type of year, Speaker 0 00:03:54 Vanessa has set out a cornucopia of things harvested from the park. So I could see what they grow. Some of it's familiar, coconut, a avocado, Jack fruit, other stuff, not so much. So of course I start grabbing at it. The first thing I pick up is Conal reddish pink. It looks like the bud of a flower, but very large. It's the size of my hand. And when I just picked it up, some liquid dropped out of it. So tell me what this is. Speaker 2 00:04:23 So this is shampoo ginger in the fifties and sixties here in the United States, it was used to make the majority of hand sanitizers and shampoo used. And it still used in some like new age products Speaker 0 00:04:38 Really does smell. Wonderful. Wonderful. All right. So the next fruit that we have here is it looks like an alien egg. It is orange, like deep, deep orange, and has prickles all over it. And it's quite large. I would say like coconut size looks intimidating. Speaker 2 00:04:57 This is called go it's native to Vietnam here in the United States is very invasive. It grows as a vine. So it's hard to eradicate, but this in Vietnam is used to make sticky rice. So the inside is very sticky, but it doesn't taste very good. So you wouldn't just eat GB by Speaker 0 00:05:15 Itself. So the next thing is a pod. This one is an orange G brown color. It's pointed at the end. It's pretty hard on the outside. I know what this is, but I think a lot of people not know you say, what is this? And they have no idea. Speaker 2 00:05:36 Yeah. So this is Kal. This is what we would know as chocolate. Speaker 0 00:05:41 The park grew fruit and spices as its name implies, but it's more than that. Speaker 2 00:05:48 Yes. So we have over 500 varieties of plants and all of them have a human component. So they might not all be edible, but there is some type of relationship that has formed between that plant and humans. So some are medicinally, some are culturally important. Some are used for building materials or music materials. Like the Calabash tree they're nuts are used for Moroccos and culturally, they have been used for bowls, maybe helmets as well. So they're really, really interesting Speaker 0 00:06:27 To understand why a 37 acre botanical garden in Florida grows more than 500 human focused varieties of plants, many them from far away places. It's helpful to look at the places history for that. I turn to Louise king. Speaker 3 00:06:45 My name is Louise king, and I'm a horticulturalist here at the fruit and spice park. Speaker 0 00:06:51 We sit on a bench kind of close to the road to talk. And she explains that in addition to being the horticulturalist, Louise is kind of a local history buff. So I ask her to walk me through the parks origins Speaker 3 00:07:04 In the 1920s and thirties, a lot of northerners were coming down here to have, uh, homes and, and farms, but they were coming down here expecting to grow apples and peaches cuz they grew 'em in Michigan, Speaker 0 00:07:17 Right? Speaker 3 00:07:18 But you couldn't grow apples and peaches here. So this place was sort of an educational demonstration farm to show people what they could grow since they couldn't grow apples and peaches, they could grow other things. And the other things that they could grow were far more exotic like Leche and long ends and avocados, mangoes GU things that many of them had never had heard about. So this park was established and it was planted. It was at the 18 acres at the time in 1944, it was planted out with all of these different tropical fruits that would grow well here in this climate. And it would show the people, the visitors, what they would look like in five years or 10 years. So they had an idea of spacing in their yards and that tree is too big. I don't wanna grow that in my little house. Right? Speaker 0 00:08:07 It was an introduction to tropical fruit farming. It was also one of the many ways Florida enticed people to settle in the quickly developing state by showing them what life could look like there, Speaker 3 00:08:20 It was very popular. The first superintendent was Mary Henline, which is the second half of the, the fruits, rice Park's name. She loved tropical fruits and she grew a lot of them at her house. And she was the first superintendent here for about 15 years Speaker 0 00:08:36 In Mary Henman's time. It was difficult to plant anything in the park. But cuz the park is basically underlaying by rock. You have to drill, not dig holes here. Speaker 3 00:08:47 They didn't have mechanical drills. A lot of times in, in this area they would use dynamite. So it was a very difficult, difficult thing to plant all these trees. Well, after Mary Henline left, there were two other superintendents and they didn't expand the collection too much, but it wasn't until 1979 that Chris Rawlins became the superintendent or the park manager as he was called. Chris Rawlins was a professional photographer mm-hmm <affirmative> and he was a tropical fruit lover. He was very active in the rare fruit council that was in Miami. And I remember he told me one time, he says, well, when I came to the fruit and spice park, I brought a dowry of 17 Jack fruit trees Speaker 0 00:09:32 <laugh> so he came prepared, came from, he was marrying the park. He Speaker 3 00:09:38 Was and you know what? There couldn't have been a more perfect person to come to this park at that time than Chris Rawlins. He just was the right guy in the right place at the right time. Speaker 0 00:09:50 Chris did a lot for the fruit and spice park, but one of his most important was to establish a loyal volunteer base. Speaker 3 00:09:59 Chris established a support club called the tropical fruit and vegetable society of the Redland. It's a really long name. Mm-hmm <affirmative> the Redland is the area here that we are in now, the agricultural area. And he found these people because they would come to the park. He would start talking with them and you know, island plants, you love plants. You know, we all love tropical fruit and they all just started getting together. I was a member of the club. Speaker 0 00:10:26 Okay. How I started started. Speaker 3 00:10:28 That's how I started getting interested in this. But since it met on Wednesday night, my son got to Cub scout age. I had to quit <laugh> I went to come scout meetings and instead Speaker 0 00:10:37 The volunteer club did and still does a ton of work at the park and helps fund projects that the county budget doesn't allow for Speaker 3 00:10:46 These club members did. They would take the seeds from the established trees. They would plant them and rear the trees that way they would make air layers from existing trees. They would raft trees in the nursery and they would sell these plants at these festivals that they had. And they raised money that way. They also had a Pepsi truck that they would sell Cokes and Pepsis and stuff at the festivals. And with that money, Chris was able to buy a tractor. He bought irrigate systems, they built a nursery in here. They have just been an incredibly supportive organization for the park. We would not be where we are without them Speaker 0 00:11:29 With the club's help. Chris started to expand the collection at the park. Speaker 3 00:11:34 It wasn't just the regular things that you could get in the local, which were Jack fruits and leches longans mangoes, guava, papayas, things like that. He traveled the world. He went to Borneo and south America and central America, Vietnam. And he went on fruit, collecting trips. And a lot of the people he went with were people that were in the club Speaker 0 00:11:56 Because obviously the club members are also completely in love with tropical fruits and they are dedicating everything they can to it. Absolutely. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:12:05 They are tropical fruit lovers. This would've been in the eighties, mostly in the eighties and they brought back with them. Yeah. Seeds, mostly seeds. Sometimes they could get little cuttings and stuff. And back then at that time, the requirements to bring in plant matter were not as strict as they are today. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. So they brought in a lot of different things. And since there was maybe a dozen or 15 of these people that were on this, they all had different things that they brought in. You know, I don't like this type of mango. I'm not gonna bring that one, but I like this instead. So they would bring that back. And so once they got back here, they planted the seeds. They grew, they would exchange things. The park got a lot of these different varieties and cultivars of tropical fruits here. So it expanded the collection. When Chris was here, the park just exploded with variety and it was all just, you know, scattered about here in the park Speaker 0 00:13:03 Then came August 24th, 1992, hurricane Andrew Speaker 3 00:13:10 Hurricane Andrew came and the eye went right over this park, went right down two 48th street here and completely decimated the park. Some of the trunks were still left. Many of the trees were pulled out. This lake wasn't here. It was really bad. So with FEMA money and also with a bond referendum that the citizens of Miami-Dade county voted on the parks department received a lot of money and that money went to redesign the entire park because we almost had a blank slate at that point. So instead of just having just a lot of different types of tropical fruit trees here, they wanted to organize them a little better. And Chris had kind of been veering this way throughout the years because he had visited so many countries with different cultures. He was seeing how different cultures use the same kind of a plant. Anyway, when they redesigned this park, they designed it with an ethno botanical focus, focusing on how man uses these plants. So they divided the park into five regions of the world, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Pacific islands, the Mediterranean climate and tropical America. And within each section of the park, they planted those trees or plants from that region of the world. And so that's how it is today. Speaker 0 00:14:38 So because of hurricane Andrew, it was kind of completely rethought. Yes. And reorganized before that was it just kind of a mishmash of, Speaker 3 00:14:46 I wouldn't say mishmash, but I mean, there was, it was aesthetically pleasing. How did I design? Right. But it didn't have the focus as it does today. Speaker 0 00:14:53 Mm-hmm <affirmative> today's organization is by region, but there's also a clear focus on showcasing the trees through a human lens. Speaker 3 00:15:02 We are the only ethno botanical park in the United States. If you go to other botanical parks, you can find an ethno Batan section there. And it's usually the trees that the area Indian tribes used when the Europeans came here, the Indians were using this for clothing and this for food and this for medicine and that's their ethno botanical focus. But our entire park is ethno botanical. Every tree tells a story there's a behind every single thing here. Speaker 0 00:15:33 And these stories are about food, of course, but not just about food Speaker 3 00:15:38 It's fiber. It's how man uses plants in their culture. Also in their religion. Like the Lotus is an incredibly important plant in PDU, religion, the bale tree also. So in Hindu religion. So there's a lot of religious significance to these plants as well as cultural and any kind of economic use in that section of the world. So that's what we're trying to focus on here. When the visitors come today is to show them how dependent man is on plants in the world. And hopefully to kind of realize, to make that connection that plants are important and we need to be really conserve them and not just Mo them down to put a bunch of houses. Speaker 0 00:16:24 So from a H cultural perspective, why is it important to save all these different varieties of fruit, Speaker 3 00:16:33 Many different reasons. Yeah. I think one is like from a, a tropical fruit lover, it's just to have the variety of cultivars. Let's say of mango. We have over 170 different cultivars of mango, different kinds of mangos. They all have a different flavor, but to save the diversity within a, these, but also to save different species that perhaps in their native land are now being destroyed in Asia. There is a lot of Palm plantations going in and they're just mowing down the forest. I know this is happening in Borneo, which is an incredible place for diversity of plant diversity. And they are destroying the forest to plant Palm oil plantations. So many of the trees that we have here are threatened. Some are endangered in their place in the world, you know, they're origin, they're native country. So saving that diversity in this botanical garden, which we now have considered a botanical garden, that's important. So the conservation aspect saving the diversity and you never know what they're going to find. Medicinally. There's all these compounds that we find cure whatever kind of disease or condition. We sometimes find them in these plants here. Speaker 0 00:17:59 Right? And I feel like a lot of that too, is lost knowledge that needs to be refound, but it can only be refound if the plant still it's there. Yeah. I know Diversity is also important for agriculture. So many commercial crops rely on one variety today. If a pest or weather or disease starts to decimate that variety growers will need different cultivars to save their orchard, to continue to grow the they want. Speaker 3 00:18:31 And that's one of the important aspects of botanical gardens all through in the United States and all throughout the world is that they are kind of like little islands of, of saving of this plant in the biodiversity, in the plant manner. Speaker 0 00:18:45 So yes, you've been here long enough. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I assume that you have tried EV free fruit in this park. Speaker 3 00:18:51 You're not gonna ask me this. Speaker 0 00:18:53 Are you? Oh yeah. <laugh> I know it's really hard. What's your favorite? Or what's your top five. When should I come back? Tell me, Speaker 3 00:19:01 Yeah. I'll tell you a story. Someone was interviewing an orchid lover with an extensive orchid connection and they said, what's your favorite orchid? And he, he goes, it's the one I'm looking at. Speaker 0 00:19:12 <laugh> yeah. The one that's in season, that's dropping in my hand. Speaker 3 00:19:17 Yes. It's probably the one I'm eating mm-hmm <affirmative> because I love all the, the mangoes. Well, most of them there's some that are just not good. The mangoes and good Jack food, a good ripe Jack food is just like out of this world. And I grow leches personally in my home. So I love Leche and I also grow ellas. So it's so hard to, Speaker 0 00:19:38 I know, I agree as somebody that writes love letters to fruit, the, you know, that's, I'm not running out of fruit to write love letters too. It's just a new one. Yes. Is there anything really unusual or is there something that unexpected like a fruit that you just shocked you or surprises you? Speaker 3 00:20:00 Mm I'm always amazed at the diversity of flavors that are within a species. Mango is a prime candidate. You can get flavors of pineapple or coconut. You can sense this when you eat some of these mangoes, one's called coconut cream, one salt, pina colada, you eat this mango and you go, wow, is there, is there a pineapple in here? Something, and it cross with a pineapple. You just get these notes. And that never ceases who amaze me. The same thing happens in bananas. I just ate one this morning that you could get hints of strawberries. Speaker 0 00:20:38 Really? Yep. Yeah. Wow. Speaker 3 00:20:41 Yeah. That's what I think that amazes me most. And also too. What amazes me most sometimes is I say, people eat this Speaker 0 00:20:49 <laugh> because it's not good. Yes. Not Speaker 3 00:20:51 Good. And I'm told, oh no, you gotta prepare it properly. And that's another wonderful thing about working here is because you talk to these people. And since we have three international airports that are within an hour or two of driving, we get a lot of international visitor. They come here and they go to the Asian section of the park and they see a fruit that their mother used to cook this way for them. And there's an immediate connection from the visitor to this park. It's just visceral on this. And it's nice to talk to these people because they just recalling all these fond memories. But also it's interesting to see how they prepare them. I've learned so much about food and how it's made and how it's prepared. It's just expanded. Speaker 0 00:21:39 Louise of course has been further expanding the parks offerings. She gets new plants from volunteers or orders, seeds for around the world. She's worked at the park for about nine years. And in that time she's introduced about 300 plants. What have you planted most recently? Speaker 3 00:21:58 Just about an hour ago, I planted two, an nos, which are like a custard apple. It's a central American fruit. We planted a Eugenia it's so like a little cherry. It's a Bush that has like a little cherry. And then we did some Guo, which is a plant that makes another little Berry that is very tasty. I've never had one. I've read about it. And you can dry them. Kinda like cranberries. Speaker 0 00:22:23 You are never, endingly adding new things. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:22:26 If I can. And you know, a lot of times you plant something and then you go, this really is not a good, nobody likes this thing. And then this tree, or it's not a good CVO or the tree is just not suited for our soil conditions or our climate. And we have to do so much tending to the thing to add more iron or a acidify the soil or water it extra or too much sun, or it's too much humidity or something that we say, okay, it's time to go. Speaker 0 00:23:00 The park is in some ways, a strange construction, a garden of delights and people, Citrix plants from all over the world, plopped down onto our Rocky stretch of Florida tended to by fruit obsessives like myself, it evolves and changes and grows under the caring hands of staff and volunteers. It's a zoo, but for fruit where people can experience some of the wonders of the world, even if they can't travel. And here perhaps is the best part about this place. Unlike a zoo, these wonders are not behind a fence. You can stroll the grounds. You can taste. Whatever happens to be in season and is ripe enough to fall on the ground. And that is exactly what I wanna do. I meet IVA HEG, a park guide for a tour of the park. Speaker 5 00:23:54 My name's IVA. I'm a guest service representative here at the park. I've been here 16 years and tours is one of my jobs that I love Speaker 0 00:24:04 IVA drive up in a golf cart. And before we even get in, she starts telling me about the plants we see. I quickly learned. She's a fountain of knowledge pointing to tree after tree and narrating their stories. Speaker 5 00:24:17 Let me tell you, I grew up in Southwest Kansas. We didn't even have trees out there, let along fruit trees. So when I, first day here, I was overwhelmed, but I was able to work outside for a couple years. I actually tagged the trees and I got to know 'em and you're always learning. Speaker 0 00:24:33 We can in the golf cart and start off, right? Speaker 5 00:24:41 So we're starting off in the banana section of tropical America, Speaker 0 00:24:46 Which it looks like we're about to enter a banana forest, Speaker 5 00:24:49 Like a rainforest, right? It is. Speaker 0 00:24:51 Yeah. There are so many banana trees and how many different of banana Speaker 5 00:24:55 Bananas are actually not a tree. They're a larger base plant. Each plant produces fruit. Only one time. We have 40 varieties here at the park. There's way more than that. But that's what we have when we trim all these dead leaves off. And when you cut down the mature plants that have already fruited, if you take that material and spread it out evenly like a map, it will create gases that naturally kill nematodes in the soil without using any chemicals. Huh? We are not organic because we use fertilizers and nutritional sprays, but we Don spray pesticides on the fruit, The bananas, you get it to grocery store Chiquita and do are usually the Kevin dish variety. Speaker 0 00:25:33 Right. But obviously there are lots more varieties. Lots Speaker 5 00:25:38 More. Yep. Speaker 0 00:25:39 And they're quite a few bananas here. The trees are yep. And different phases, little teeny, tiny green ones and yellow ones pass the banana stands. We drive up to a familiar tree now on our right. I only recognize this because I had a moment with these trees. The last time I was here. Okay. I'm not sure I'm gonna say this. Right. But is it DETA? Kaba? Speaker 5 00:26:05 Very close. Okay. Juta Kaba. DETA. Speaker 0 00:26:07 Yes. So when I was here in February, there were lots of fruits and fruits on the ground and I never had it before or seen it before. And the fruits actually come out of the trunk Speaker 5 00:26:18 Right on the bark. Yeah. Goes right on the bark. And Speaker 0 00:26:20 It looks like a, like a dark grape, like a black. Speaker 5 00:26:23 You could have done this tour. That's exactly how I describe it. It looks like a, a dark purple grape growing right on the bark. Speaker 0 00:26:28 It tastes like a grape, a very sweet grape with nutmeg. That was my best description. How do you describe it? Speaker 5 00:26:35 Well, you bite it, suck out the inside and spit out the skin. Uhhuh, the skin doesn't taste as good as the inside and stuff. I don't know. It's kind of just like a cross between a grape and a plum. Speaker 0 00:26:45 It's not in season this time. So we write on past Jack fruit. Speaker 5 00:26:51 They can get to be easily in excess of 70 pounds. When we have the little kids on the tours, we always say, how much do you weigh 50 pounds? That fruit weighs more than you do. You know, they love of that. Speaker 0 00:27:03 Yeah. It is crazy to see them hanging off the trees. And they're also spiked on the outside in green. I actually have never had a rip jackfruit, which just seems wrong, but I'm really excited. They look like large flower pedals on the inside. The park staff had already picked and prepared the Jack fruit for me. So I get to just dig in the it's really good. It's not too sweet. We keep going past rainbow eucalyptus and the mango Grove and cinnamon and custard apples. And one of I A's favorites, Pakistani Mulberry, which is as long as a finger and sweet IVA shows me another one of her favorites too. It's called the miracle fruit Speaker 5 00:27:44 Originally from Africa. It's a little red Berry. You see them in here. Yep. Speaker 0 00:27:49 It's a pretty, it's a Bush, but it's a substantial Speaker 5 00:27:53 Bush. Normally this does not go in full sun. Ours has adapted because we would take such good care of it here. But if you were ever gonna grow it, you wanna grow it IM partial sun, the little red Berry has Mira in it. What Mira does it masks the taste buds it'll make sour things taste sweet. It's fun to do. But if you know someone going through chemotherapy or any kind of medications that causes a metallic taste in your mouth, miracle, fruit will get rid of that. They're actually making melting tablets from it and prescribing it at all of Baptist for oncology patients taking chemo and radiation Speaker 0 00:28:28 IVA says it has lots of other applications too. Not just for people treating cancers. She tells a story about a neighbor of hers, who she gave the miracle for, to he'd had a terrible accident. Speaker 5 00:28:41 He was pulling in his driveway with a horse drawn cart to, and what a beautiful sunset a car came outta. Nowhere. His horse had killed his horse, but the horse stopped the car from coming on him. He said, I woke up there was sticking tubes down my throat. And then I was in a coma. He said that was two years ago. And I haven't tasted food since everything tastes like cardboard to me. I said, do you like mango? He goes, I'm from Cuba. Okay. That makes sense. Yes. Yes. This is a grown man Uhhuh. When I gave him the miracle food and the mango, he went to that front window by that stain glass and literally started sobbing and crying and saying, please forgive me. I feel like a child tasting food for the first time. Yeah. Yeah. Always, you know, get, I, oh, it does. Because and what his reaction was, he said, I have to know why you did that. And I said, God, I should cross paths with people to help each other when you're supposed to. And that's all that happened here. I've met his wife and his daughters and they said, you know, we didn't really believe him because we've been cooking for him for two years. So we made a buffet and we blindfolded him and we set him there and we fed him and he could, he could taste every everything with the miracle Speaker 0 00:29:52 For mm-hmm <affirmative> Speaker 5 00:29:53 That is, and I kept in touch with him over the years. I said, you know, I talk about you on my tours. And I think did that really happening this on living proof? It happened, you know, Speaker 0 00:30:03 Or recently she's been handing out miracle fruit to people recovering from COVID because as we know, sometimes people who've had COVID can lose their taste. Speaker 5 00:30:13 Usually briefly. Well, over this summer, we had a teacher here who had lost her smell and taste in no November. It says July seven, eight months later, she never got it back. And her students were here and she come in later that day. And I asked her if she was a teacher that had lost her smelling taste. And she said, yes, I said, we wanna try something on you. Her sister was with her. She had her phone for a video. I cut a and half. I gave her the miracle food. When she took the mangoes, she says, I'm getting a whiff of something here. When she put the mango in her mouth, she literally burst into tears. So did everyone in the store, because it just was a burst of flavor that she hadn't had in almost eight months. Speaker 0 00:30:58 And it just goes to show you how important tastes. Speaker 5 00:31:01 Oh. So of things we take for granted, like that teacher said, she was crying, just crying, saying you don't know until you can't taste and smell how important that is to your life. You know, you don't know. And it was so funny. That was a Wednesday. She said, my mom's birthday's Friday. We're gonna send her this video. You know, one life can affect another. And the smallest things you do. Yeah. You know, the smallest things you do Speaker 0 00:31:28 That makes me think of something. Vanessa Tru the park director told me earlier in the day, she said that many people who come to the park find memories here, they find fruit. Maybe they haven't tasted in years, perhaps something that grew in their previous home country or in their grandmother garden. And it brings back memories in a way that only fruit with its taste, its smell, its beautiful tree can Vanessa says the park fires up certain nostalgia in many visitors. Speaker 2 00:31:57 And they're able to see the fruit. They're able to taste the fruit and share that experience with their children, with their family, with their friends. Instead of having to go to Asia, to Brazil, to all these different locations, they Speaker 0 00:32:08 Have probably a fruit from their childhood or from their, their life in this other country that they would never even at a specialty store. It's just not going to be there. Mm-hmm <affirmative> because it's just not a commercially available thing and they can come here and not only to try it again, but share it with their family and see it on the tree, which just seems like it's so much more than sharing a fruit from the store, Speaker 2 00:32:33 From the store. Exactly. And that was also part of Mary Henman's vision so that the public could experience and see what can be grown here in the Redland and also showcase that you don't need to have a yard. You can grow things out of pots. You can grow things out of planters. So many of us now don't live in any type of agricultural or large landscape where we can and grow tons of different herbs and vegetables. But if you have a planter, all you really need is, is a small space and you can grow some of your own food. Speaker 0 00:33:07 I definitely think the emotional connection and love for a fruit grows exponentially by growing it yourself, waiting for it, seeing it almost ripe, getting to pick it from the tree and being here when you realize, oh, this is all that it takes like with the chocolate. It's not just going to the convenient store and buying a candy bar. There is so much more Speaker 2 00:33:33 Love and yes. Speaker 0 00:33:35 Yeah. So much care and love goes into. Speaker 2 00:33:37 And when things don't work out, then trying to figure out, okay, well that didn't work. Maybe I need to water it less. Maybe I need to put it in a different space. Maybe I need to sing to it or anything like Speaker 0 00:33:48 You actually need to love it for it. To love you back. The people who take care of the fruit and spice park love the trees here. And it's contagious. When you have a moment with a tree here like I did with the Japu Kaba or like another visitor might have with a fruit from their childhood or a fruit they learned about during a special trip abroad or something entirely new, they discover at the park. It makes them care about the fruit, about the place it grows, the people who harvest it and caring makes all the difference. Speaker 2 00:34:23 So the mission of the park is to gain awareness to the public of the importance of plants and plant diversity and that human component. So it's really about, you know, teaching people to love plants and to instill stewardship and conservation values in students, in kids, in their parents, into everyone and showcase. The important relationship we have with plants. Speaker 0 00:34:52 Love is such a complex dimensional emotion is something I've grappled with. I've embraced and I've questioned in my life. But if there is one thing I know, undoubtedly, I love fruit. Yes. I love fruit because it's delicious. But I also love fruit because it makes me see the world in a different way. It makes me adventurous cure and so eager to try new flavors, go new places and engage with nature and people in different ways. Honestly, it just makes me excited about life. Thanks to Vanessa Tru Louise king. And I ahe for showing me around the fruit and spice park for this episode. And thanks so much for listening to season one of fruit love letters. Honestly, it has just scratched the surface of my curiosity about the stories that fruit has to tell. This is a love affair. That's not ending anytime soon, stay tuned for season two, a fruit love letters podcast. And in the meantime, go eat some fruit. You can subscribe to fruit, love letters anywhere you get your podcasts. Speaker 0 00:36:15 Fruit love letters is part of what at stone radio collective thank you to the fruit love letters, team producer, ire Jo audio editor, Bethany sands researcher, Carolyn Crosby and intern indigo Clarkson. I'd also like to thank what stone founder, Steven SAEL Wetstone radio collective ex executive producer, Celine Glazer sound engineer, max co check associate producer, Quintin, Labo and sound intern Simon lavender I'm Justin star. Thanks for listening to fruit love letters. You can learn more about this [email protected] at Instagram and Twitter at Westone radio and subscribe to our YouTube channel Westone radio collective for more podcast, video content, you can learn more about all things [email protected]

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