Fruitmania Gardening School This Weekend

Perhaps to keep Fruitmania from getting too wild, the Lowcountry Fruit Growers Society has invited a man named Malcolm Manners to serve as the all-day growing school’s keynote speaker.

Manners, a horticultural science professor at Florida Southern College, will be joined at the Feb. 22 event by a master gardener; a cold hardy citrus specialist and a bee keeper, among other speakers. Vendors selling fruit trees and berry plants are also on the guest list.

Fruitmania will be held at Cypress Gardens, 3030 Cypress Gardens Rd, Moncks Corner. Tickets are $25 until Thursday, when the price goes up to $30 per person. To purchase, call 553-0515 or point your browser here.

If Life Gives You Persimmons, Make Persimmon Cocktails

DBduophotography

DBduo Photography

Around Charleston, it’s easier to find persimmons on a tree than on a cocktail menu, but ICEBOX’s Boris Van Dyck recently came up with a drink which he believes could boost the fruit’s popularity with bartenders.

After receiving 300 pounds of overripe persimmons from GrowFood Carolina, Van Dyck cooked the fruit with sugar and spices; the strained syrup became the base of a drinking vinegar which he mixed with Striped Pig vodka for a Tuesday night meeting of the Charleston Bridal Association.

Event planner Mitchell Crosby described the drink as “epic.”

“I think I’m the only person who ever served them persimmons,” says Van Dyck, who’s planning to put the drink on draft for a GrowFood Carolina event tonight. Continue reading

Size is Small and Flavor’s Big at Annual Fruit and Veg Show

appletsThe Produce Marketing Association‘s annual Fresh Summit — held this year in New Orleans, one of just seven U.S. cities capable of hosting the massive trade show — is a big deal in the agricultural world because it unites growers, shippers, distributors, retailers and nearly every other industry positioned to profit from the sale of apples, green peppers and pears. But for regular eaters, the event’s fascinating because it offers a glimpse of trends about to overtake the produce departments of their local grocery stores.

Having pounded the floor of the New Orleans Convention Center this past Saturday, I’d advise bracing for the following six healthy food fads:

1. Little is big

If the fruits and vegetables displayed at the show are any indication, plenty of strategy meetings over the past few years ended with produce growers demanding their research teams find ways to make their output smaller. Sunkist touted “kid-sized citrus”, Windset Farms pushed cocktail-sized cucumbers and fingerling potatoes were everywhere. Apparently preying on the average consumer’s fruit ignorance, apple growers even bagged normal-sized apples and labeled them as snack-friendly. But my favorite example of the trend came courtesy of Shanley Farms, which introduced single-serving avocados packed in an egg carton. Continue reading