GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)- Flavors of Florida will bring dozens of food and drink vendors with locally inspired food to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The event will help support Field and Fork Farm and Garden at the University of Florida.
"Here we literally get student's hands in the dirt and help teach them about how we produce our food and different sustainable production techniques." Anna Prizzia, Director of Field and Fork Farm and Gardens explains. Students from a variety of majors participate in the Field and Fork program to learn about food production. The farm grows 5-thousand pounds of fresh produce for the Hitchcock Food Pantry each year.
The farm will have a station at Flavors of Florida and are providing some of the ingredients for the event. However, this program is just a taste of the University of Florida's contributions to the state's agriculture. We visited Straughn Farms in Waldo, the largest blueberry farm in the state.
Straughn farm helps researchers in the University of Florida's blueberry breeding program trial the newest blueberry varieties. It's an important partnership because blueberries weren't a viable industry in Florida until UF researchers developed a variety that could produce a lot of blueberries in a climate with only a little winter cold.
Patricio Munoz Associate Professor of Blueberry Gene Ergonomics at the University of Florida explains that today, "95% of blueberries in the state come from selections grown in this program".
At Flavors of Florida, the Blueberry Breeding program will give people an opportunity to taste a new, unnamed blueberry variety that's about to hit the market. People will also have the opportunity to learn more facts about blueberry plants, like how to pick the freshest berries.
Flavors of Florida is on Thursday, April 11th at 6 pm. Tickets are $85 and $25 of the proceeds goes to support Field and Fork Farm and Gardens. Field and Fork Farm and Gardens are inviting people to their farm on Friday from 4 pm to 7 pm where people can taste fresh food, listen to live music, and learn more about the farm.