Driving south of downtown Miami is like being transported to the tropics of Central America. Signs in Spanish compete for your attention, advertising a tantalizing array of tropical fruits. In addition to mango, papaya, and avocado, homemade signs also boast mamey, pitaya, and other Spanish frutas Five Spice and Five String haven’t seen since our time together in Costa Rica.
The best part, of course, is that all of these fruits are grown in the countless fields neatly contained by the streets of greater Miami. Almost every block has some type of nursery growing palms, fruit trees, and tropical ornamentals that soon make their way to stores near and far. The larger farms usually grow for the wholesale market, while smaller ones have a farm stand, a small restaurant, and a play area for the kids. Even a few hundred feet from our campsite at the end of the Miami Everglades Resort we found an enormous greenhouse complex growing all manner of tropical plants.
We of course have been doing our part to support local agriculture. We’ve picked up some avocado, papaya, and mamey (a red fruit with brown skin that tastes like sweet pumpkin pie) from a roadside stand to spice up a lunch, then made a trip to the well-stocked Robert Is Here farmstand for some dessert mango and dragonfruit. In the sub-tropical sun (and afternoon thunderstorms) of Miami, this is where it grows.