2023 Flavors of Florida spiced up the night with purple sweetpotatoes, hops and more Florida-produced goodies

Oranges, blueberries, peanuts and corn are just a few of Florida’s delicious agricultural commodities featured in the UF/IFAS tasting showcase, Flavors of Florida, that returned March 23 at the Champions Club in UF’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Local, fresh Florida ingredients were donated from as far as Roth Farms and Vert Nature Farms in Belle Glade, Fancy Farms in Lakeland, Blue Sky Farms in Elkton and Wild Goose Farms in Umatilla. The artichokes, strawberries, purple sweetpotatoes and other produce were turned into chef-curated tastings as a feast for more than 400 attendees.

At the end of the night, the Taster’s Choice Award went to Palm & Pine Catering for its delectable variety of potstickers including:

  • A vegan potsticker made from purple sweetpotato and vegan PAOW! picadillo.
  • A wellington potsticker made with blue oyster mushrooms, Florida beef, house-made mini pickle coins and grain mustard horseradish sauce.
  • A shrimp potsticker made with fresh St. Augustine shrimp, ginger, lemongrass, Bird’s eye chili peppers and fresh baby pak choi.

The beneficiary of this year’s event was the Field & Fork Campus Food Program, which collected $11,450 from ticket sales, sponsorships and direct gifts to the program. Led by the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the program helps students connect classroom learning with hands-on experience in small farm production to provide fresh, seasonal produce to the Alan and Cathy Hitchcock Field & Fork Pantry, a free resource that supports those in the campus community experiencing food insecurity.

Guests sampled newly released blueberry varieties out of the UF/IFAS Blueberry Breeding Program, including the Colossus, Kestrel, Sentinel and brand-new Albus varieties. UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center faculty and students traveled from Lake Alfred to offer samples of citrus varieties developed there: a trio of orange juices with different percentages of Sugar Belle juice added, and slices of a sweeter grapefruit. Finally, the UF/IFAS food science and human nutrition department served up recipes for donuts, sourdough bread, vichyssoise and candy that were created by the department’s food scientists using the vibrant purple sweetpotato, an emerging crop in Florida.

Other mouth-watering dishes from the 2023 showcase included:

  • A smoky Florida vegetable pimento cheese dip made by Fresh from Florida’s award-winning chef, Justin Timineri.
  • Tacos made with chilled shrimp, corn succotash salsa, shredded cabbage and flour tortillas plus a calamondin pound cake with calamondin glaze and marmalade for dessert from Covey Kitchen + Cocktails at Hotel ELEO.
  • Purple sweetpotato-carrot blondies with a citrus glaze from Curia on the Drag.
  • A Cedar Key clam and Florida artichoke dip with a cured Florida beet salad using a Sugar Belle vinaigrette, pickled celery and radish from Blue Gill Quality Food.
  • Two tacos, one with Florida peanuts and napa cabbage kimchi and another with mole Florida beef and Florida corn salsa, as well as key lime and Florida citrus mousse made with orange and cardamom shortbread crumble and Florida strawberries from Mildred’s Big City Food.
  • Florida grass-fed beef short ribs on a purple and gold potato and corn mash; pasture-raised shredded chicken salad with chopped carrot, arugula, cabbage and artichokes; and white tiramisu with blueberries and caramelized peanuts from Cacciatore Catering, Inc.
  • Rosemary-basted teres major steak with local baby spinach-bella mushroom alfredo, plus Florida blueberry cobbler with mascarpone whipped cream from Underground Kitchen.
  • Baked cheese grits piled high with pulled pork, southern coleslaw made with Florida cabbage, pickles, jalapenos and a signature sauce from 4 Rivers Smokehouse.
  • A cheesecake bite trio featuring a peanut butter, jelly and white chocolate bite; a caramel peanut cluster bite; and a peanut butter and dark chocolate bite from the Florida Peanut Federation.
  • Key West pink shrimp with an orange marmalade cocktail sauce; and smoked wahoo dip from Northwest Seafood.
  • Pork and cabbage potstickers from the Hastings Agricultural Extension Center.
  • Two samples of popcorn from the corn breeding program at the UF/IFAS Everglades Research and Education Center.
  • Yucatan ceviche from Jeanna Mastrodicasa, associate vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources.
  • Bluehouse Salmon smoked in pecan wood, topped with sunshine crema and micro herbs from SRQ Cured.
  • A honey medley from infusions like hot pepper, elderberry, blueberry and cinnamon from the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research & Extension Lab.

But food wasn’t the only offering. Thirst-quenching beverages were also served, including:

Flavors of Florida returns in spring 2024.

View photos from the 2023 event here.


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Posted: April 6, 2023

Category: Events, Fruits & Vegetables, Health & Nutrition, UF/IFAS
Tags: Alan And Cathy Hitchcock Field And Fork Pantry, Flavors Of Florida, UF/IFAS Research

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