Tropical Fruit Fiesta

On June 25, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., many Florida Keys tropical fruit lovers converged at Grimal Grove, 258 Cunningham Lane, Big Pine Key for the Tropical Fruit Fiesta. Nowhere else in the Keys can you be in one location and learn so much about planting, common problems, and harvesting tropical fruit trees. Many tropical fruit trees you may have never seen before are located at the grove. Several trees exist nowhere else in the continental United States.

The Tropical Fruit Fiesta was all about FUN! Free admission! Family-friendly event had three fun kid’s activities: Tropical Fruit Scavenger Hunt, Plant-a-Piney, and the Monroe County Sheriff's Office Animal Farm. Pine Island Nursery sold the best quality fruit trees. University of Florida / IFAS experts were on hand to answer any horticulture questions.

Lectures began at 9:30. Speakers were:
• Patrick Garvey, Executive Director of Grimal Grove - “Vision for Grimal Grove”
• Jeff Wasielski, UF / IFAS Tropical Fruit Agent - “Why Won't My Fruit Tree Grow?”
• Dr. Richard Campbell, Fairchild Tropical Garden - “Tropical Fruit Trees of the Florida Keys”

There was food, a tropical fruit sampling, a tropical fruit display, and guided tours. There was also plenty of shade under tents and mature shade and fruit trees.

Some highlights of the festival included:

  • Fruit trees for sale
  • Expert speakers
  • Guided tours
  • Tropical fruit display and tasting
  • Silent Auction
  • Raffle Drawing
  • Three fun kid’s activities
  • Live music
  • Sales vendors
  • Non-profit groups
  • Educational exhibits

Thanks goes out to local sponsors for helping to offer this event.

The Tropical Fruit Fiesta was produced by Growing Hope Initiative and sponsored by the University of Florida / IFAS / Monroe County Extension. Please call 305-923-6663 or e-mail patrickbgarvey@gmail.com for more information.

Grimal Grove is a historical Florida Keys tropical fruit grove. It was designed by Adolf Grimal beginning in the 1950's. Based on the Florida Keys subtropical climate, gravity fed irrigation systems and cisterns, as well as micro climate garden beds. Grimal was the only person on record in United States to grow some of the rarest tropical fruit trees. Adolf Grimal transformed pine covered caprock into a tropical fruit oasis. Soon after his death in 1997, the property fell from grace. Over the next 15 plus years, it became infested with Brazilian Pepper and other invasive plants. In 2011, Growing Hope Initiative founded by Patrick Garvey started cleaning up the property and purchased it in November 2013. The purpose was to transform the Grimal property into a horticulture educational park.