Free fruit and nuts at edible groves in Gainesville parks

Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 6:22 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - In two Gainesville parks, you can find edible groves with fruits, nuts and even tea leaves.

Peaches, nectarines, pecans, and chestnuts are just a few healthy options you can find sprouting at Smokey Bear and Fred Cone park.

“This is called an edible grove meaning all of these trees here are either fruit trees, nut trees,” said Gainesville’s city horticulturist, Eric Kohnen. “And the basic goal is to have year around appeal meaning we’ll have a crop in spring summer and fall.”

The edible groves also have pecans, loquats, persimmon and pear trees.

The program was paid for by the Tree Mitigation Fund costing around $10,000.

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Gainesville’s city arborist, Dave Conser, explained how their mission is also to supply healthy options to those who might not have access.

“Being an edible grove like this just means that folks can walk across the street and be able to supplement their food budget and for folks to know that we have their back as far as sustainability and food security,” said Conser.

Each tree will have a tag specifying what kind of fruit or nut it bears.

The 105 trees at these two parks are just a part of pilot and there could be more like it to come.

“If this does well, which I’m pretty sure it will then there’s more coming,” said Kohnen. “I was pretty excited to get this going and it looks like it’s really coming to fruition.”

By summer and fall of 2022, some trees should be ready for picking and peaches and nectarines could be fully developed by this May.

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