Sweet, fragrant, and delicious are all words used to describe the jackfruit, a tropical fruit tree that is about to get its time in the spotlight at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
What’s most intriguing is its size – one fruit can weigh more than 60 pounds. Join Fairchild in celebrating and sampling this fascinating fruit at the Jackfruit Jubilee on Saturday, Sept. 13, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Whether guests are familiar with the jackfruit or have never tried it, the festival will offer opportunities to learn how to grow it, cook it, and taste it. Chefs will perform live cooking demos, and Fairchild experts will present lectures and gardening demos to show how to care for the trees.
Several varieties of jackfruit are available for sampling so visitors can experience the different textures and tastes. Curator’s Choice jackfruit trees have been selected by Noris Ledesma and Richard Campbell, Fairchild’s curators of tropical fruit, who have grown a new generation of hybrid jackfruit well suited for South Florida’s climate. All trees are available for purchase.
For children, the interactive LEAF: Let’s Explore at Fairchild program invites families to learn about edible gardening through crafts, games, and planting activities. The jackfruit, scientifically known as Artocarpus heterophyllus, is a member of the mulberry family. It is native to South and Southeast Asia, where several jackfruit fairs are held throughout the year. David Fairchild, the garden’s namesake, collected it from Sri Lanka to plant in Florida. It is regarded as an important food source, and a single fruit can feed many people.
Its spiky, golden skin covers hundreds of seeds surrounded by the edible, sweet flesh. The flavor is often described as reminiscent of banana, pineapple, and Juicy Fruit gum. A good source of Vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and antioxidants, it can be incorporated into many meals.
Thirty varieties of jackfruit from India, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Australia are grown at the Fairchild Farm in Homestead by Ledesma and Campbell.
Admission is free for Fairchild members and children 5 and under, $25 for adults, $18 for seniors 65 and older, and $12 for children ages 6-17. Eco discounts are available for anyone who walks, bikes or takes public transportation to the festival.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is located at 10901 Old Cutler Rd. in Coral Gables. For more information call 305-667- 1651.or visit <www.fairchildgarden.org>