29 November 2021
Ever been on a hiking excursion to hunt for exotic fruits?
Grimal Grove, the 2-acre fruit farm billed as the first and only breadfruit grove in the continental United States, has begun offering 90-minute guided tropical fruit excursions at its off-the-beaten-path location on Big Pine Key.
Tour participants can discover fascinating facts about more than 100 species of strange subtropical and tropical trees and plants. They also can sample sweet and sour exotic fruits such as the versatile breadfruit, mangoes, jabuticaba, velvet apples, macadamia nuts, lychee and even the snake finger fruit.
“Our new fruit hunting excursions allow visitors to have a fun, fanciful and unique culinary experience,” said Patrick Garvey, owner-director of Grimal Grove.
“I started the tours to integrate Keys culture and adventure with the growing of food," Garvey said. "They also allow locals and tourists alike to realize what can be grown here in the Florida Keys."
During their trek visitors also learn the story of 1950s-era hermit Adolf Grimal, a recluse who designed Old Grimal Estate, the fruit grove that became a catalyst for Garvey’s vision.
Garvey was born on Canada’s Prince Edward Island and as a child often stared out at the sea, dreaming of adventure.
In 2006, two years after coming to the Keys to visit his brother, he worked as an analyst for Florida’s Department of Children and Families.
Garvey founded Growing Hope Initiative in 2011 as a nonprofit community food movement with educational programs, retreats, dinners and festivals.
Today the grove has more than 30 breadfruit trees of five varieties. Breadfruit is a starchy cantaloupe-sized fruit that can be used like a potato, bread or custard when ripe.
The versatile breadfruit can even be used in spirits. Grimal Grove has partnered with Mutiny Island Vodka on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands to develop a Grimal Grove Reserve breadfruit-distilled vodka for release this year.
The Grove, located at 258 Cunningham Lane, became a Florida Agritourism Association member in July.
In addition, the grove has been chosen to host a dining extravaganza by Outstanding in the Field, billed as “a roving restaurant without walls,” on Jan. 16.
Fruit hunting excursion tours are offered daily by appointment, priced from $20 per person. Children under 10 can participate free. A minimum of three people is required for a group tour and the maximum number of participants is 10, although larger tours and special events can be customized.
Visit grimalgrove.com or call or text 305-923-6663 to book a tour.
<< Back