2016 Flavors of Florida

Kelsey Fry Citrus, Genetic Engineering, Nutrition

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The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) put on the third annual Flavors of Florida event at the UF President’s House in Gainesville on May 9. The event was designed to showcase the edible research products of the UF/IFAS Plant Innovation Center and celebrate the accomplishments of Field and Fork (the campus food pantry) and other UF research and partnerships.

UF/IFAS Senior Vice President Jack Payne started off the night with an address that featured the fact that the University of Florida “has a dream.” He spoke about the impacts, possibilities and passion needed to “move Florida forward” — a common theme of the night, used to highlight the optimism that UF/IFAS has for the future of agriculture.

Among the more than 150 guests were Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Joyner, UF/IFAS faculty and numerous other industry leaders, donors and professors.

The “flavors” of Florida were present in all of the courses that were served throughout the night. Food included everything from fruits and vegetables grown in Plant City to tropical fruits grown in Homestead to Venus Sunray clams harvested from Cedar Key by UF/IFAS Sea Grant researchers.

The night was filled with three courses of nine hors d’oeuvres that were introduced periodically throughout the occasion. The food was prepared by chefs Dean Cacciatore, David Bearl and Adam Fehrenbacher, sous-chef Mary Ellen Bearl and general manager April Williams.

One of the many options offered was the “Minocran Seafood Chowder Shooters featuring Venus Sunray Clams, Seafood Shoppe Shrimp & Blue Sky Potatoes and a Smoked Datil Summer Sausage.” All of the dishes were made to highlight a special cuisine of Florida agriculture.

In between tasting the delicacies at the food stations, guests were invited to sample spirits and wine and specialty brews provided by Swamp Head Brewery.

Payne said the event represents the innovation and research of the UF/IFAS plant-breeding program.

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Kelsey Fry