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‘Taste of Lee’to highlight locally produced edibles

By Staff | Jul 5, 2010

The rare, the wild, and the exotic are coming back to Lee County this month.
The third annual “Taste of Lee” gives people a chance to sample locally grown fruits, vegetables and freshly caught seafood.
Sponsored in part by the UF/IFAS Lee County Extension Service, and the Caloosa Rare Fruit Exchange, the event will feature all the thing people loved about the previous years, but add an increased educational component.
According to Rachel Singletary, Caloosa Rare Fruit Exchange President, there will be plenty of opportunities for people to educate themselves on a myriad of topics.
She said last year the event was flooded with people asking questions, but members of the extension office were so busy they were hard to keep in one place.
“We had a lot of people come through last year and ask a lot of questions,” Singletary said. “This year’s we’re going to have all the extension people in one place.”
This year, classes will include: banana propagation, pineapple production, pruning tropical fruit trees, and food preservation, among others.
Singletary said classes aimed at educating people on which tropical fruits to grow at home will also be available.
“We’re going to have speakers teaching people how to grow trees and plants at their house … which ones are the easiest to grow, require less work, and the best to grow (depending on their needs),” she said.
General admission is $1 for anyone over 9, and includes access to all the samples on display, including exotic and tropical fruit, locally grown honey, seafood, ice cream, and edible plants, among others.
The educational programs and speaker series cost an additional $3.
Singletary said the proceeds will go to cover the cost of the location, at First Baptist Church in Fort Myers.
Entering its third year, Singletary said the event has become more streamlined over the years.
The first year the event was held at the Riverside Community Center, and was completely packed.
Moving it to First Baptist Church last year helped to alleviate some of those problems, and offer plenty of free parking.
“We’ve got it more under control, more organized,” Singletary said.
Fruits, trees, and plants will be available for sale.
The First Baptist Church is also air conditioned, a fact that Singletary said she wanted people to know, just so they would not get confused and stay away because of heat concerns.
The third annual “Taste of Lee” is Saturday, July 24, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., at First Baptist Church in Fort Myers. Admission is $1.
For more information contact the UF/IFAS Extension Service Office at 533-7514.