GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Partnerships are the key ingredient to make Flavors of Florida a resounding success each year, and this year’s event was no exception, UF/IFAS officials say.
Flavors of Florida, an annual UF/IFAS tradition that began in 2014, celebrates the efforts of the UF/IFAS plant breeding program, in which scientists statewide develop better fruits, vegetables and ornamentals.
At this year’s April 11 event, chefs, vendors and friends of UF/IFAS put together tasty treats and, in the process, helped raise money for the UF Field and Fork Campus Food Program.
Caylin Hilton, associate director of UF/IFAS Advancement, organized the event and thanked the many people and groups who helped make Flavors of Florida possible.
“Partnering with more than 75 agricultural producers, scientists and food and beverage professionals from across Florida is one of our favorite parts of the event,” Hilton said. “These partners are critical to showcasing the innovation and diversity of UF/IFAS and Florida’s agriculture and natural resource sectors.”
Some of the food and beverage station partners have been serving since the beginning of Flavors of Florida. They include chef Bert Gill and his teams from Blue Gill and Mildred’s restaurants along with First Magnitude brewery. Returning tasting stations also included the Fresh From Florida team, Fish Hawk Spirits, Yaupon Brothers Tea, Dorn’s Liquors and Wine Warehouse, Northwest Seafood, and Florida Olive Farms & Mill.
This year also featured many new collaborations:
- Long-time UF/IFAS supporters Quincey Cattle Co. and the Florida Beef Council teamed up with chefs from Whole Foods.
- Sugar Mama Foods catering partnered with Field & Fork.
- 3 Daughters Brewing out of Tampa served custom brews for the event using Florida-grown hops from UF/IFAS.
- Flagler College students showcased the Violet Queen sweet potato they’re promoting through a partnership with UF/IFAS Extension and Blue Sky Farms.
- Uppercrust Bakery highlighted Florida peach and blueberry varieties.
- Sweet Dreams mixed up a custom ice cream with one of Florida’s newest strawberry varieties that UF Dairy Science Club members served.
In addition to featuring the latest breeds of fruits, vegetables and other foods, Flavors of Florida benefitted the UF Field and Fork Campus Food Program. Administratively housed in the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the program provides opportunities for collaboration and learning in sustainable agriculture and food systems, said Anna Prizzia, UF/IFAS program director and campus food systems coordinator. Produce grown by the program’s Farm and Gardens is distributed to the Alan and Cathy Hitchcock Field and Fork Pantry on campus and other local charities. The Hitchcock Pantry helps people in the campus community who do not have reliable access to nutritious foods for themselves and their families.
Through donations from those who attended Flavors of Florida, the UF Field and Fork Campus Food Program will receive $7,616. Prizzia thanked event attendees and sponsors, including lead sponsor Florida Foundation Seed Producers, for their generosity to the program.
“The funds will be used to support our student internships at the Field and Fork Farm and Gardens,” she said. “The internship program is not only a great way to provide hands-on learning for our students, but is also integral in producing fresh, healthy food for the Alan and Cathy Hitchcock Field and Fork Pantry.”
By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, email@example.com
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.