Are you looking for a tropical getaway without leaving US? Come to Florida and explore with us top destinations only locals know! The Horticulture Preconference Tour will be held on Friday, July 15 and Saturday, July 16 before the AMPIC events get underway on Sunday. For more information or to register for a pre-tour, please see the County Agent magazine or visit NACAA.com. A registration link will be on the home page under the Florida AMPIC logo starting April 1.
Day 1: Topiaries, ranchos, tacos, The Kampong, and beer
Yes, all of this just to start our day número 1.
Stop #1: Paradise in the city
Let’s start fresh and early visiting this local, unique women-owned plant nursery dedicated to providing foliage topiaries for landscaping designs. Karla and Rocio are co-owners of this paradise in urban area in Miami neighborhood. They provide and install themselves a variety of landscape selection to adorn streets, hotels, and homes in Florida. Tip: This location is 10 minutes from your hotel in Miami, if want to buy a return gift. Website: https://www.sunset-nursery.com/
Stop #2: Hotel plants, succulents, and tacos
Let’s jump into an agribusiness location in the heart of the agricultural area in Miami and meet owner Nixia and her family. Another family-owned business who offers boutique designs of foliage plants to hotels and businesses. We will eat here and enjoy a very traditional Mexican lunch at Rancho La Familia. Estimated cost: )~$20-25 per person). Buffet of tacos anyone? While enjoying some horse sighting. Did we forget to mention there are horses on the premises? Website: http://www.nixiaexoticplants.com/
Stop #3: Tropical trees with ocean view
We will be heading to Biscayne Bay in Coconut Grove to visit a beautiful national botanical garden called: The Kampong. It contains a fascinating array of tropical fruit cultivars and flowering trees. Named for the Malay or Javanese word for a village or cluster of houses, the Kampong is the former estate of Dr. David Fairchild, the famed botanical explorer who traveled throughout Southeast Asia and other tropical regions collecting exotic plants he introduced to the U.S. Tip: This garden has an ocean view too! Get those cameras ready. Website: https://ntbg.org/gardens/kampong/
Stop #4: Tropical beers in Wynwood
After a whole day of sun and heat in Miami, we are thirsty for knowledge …and beer. Especially tropical fruit flavored ones. Interested? Come, sit, and enjoy a cold beer in our very own eclectic Wynwood area known for its painted walls (https://thewynwoodwalls.com/). Website: https://www.dogfish.com/restaurants/dogfish-miami
This ends the first day. We understand if you like to take the next day to rest…but wait a minute! If you want to join us. We have a whole exciting Day 2 for you.
Day 2: Deering State Park, farm-to-hospital, hydroponics
Let’s continue exploring during our day número 2.
Stop #1: Deering State Park
The Deering Estate in partnership with the Deering Estate Foundation is dedicated to preserving and protecting the natural ecosystems, native plants and wildlife through wise stewardship and best conservation management practices. Tip: This park is a beautiful spot for family visits and ocean views. Website: https://deeringestate.org/
Stop #2: Urban farm and hospital wellness
To foster proper nutrition, the Grow2Heal Community Garden at Homestead Hospital is growing fresh produce used to feed and educate the community about healthier living. Developed on hospital-owned vacant land adjacent to the healthcare facility, the organic – and sustainable – garden of fruits, vegetables, herbs, fruit trees and native flowers is harvested to provide better health and wellness choices for the hospital’s patients, visitors, employees, and local organizations in need. We will enjoy lunch here. Option1: Mediterranean. Option 2: Asian. Option 3: South of border tacos. Please bring cash ($10-$20 per person). After eating together, we will depart to our last stop for the day 1.5 hours north from Miami.
Stop #3: Hydroponic leafy greens
Green Life Farms greenhouses incorporate renewable energy and include efficiency in every element of the growing process. Now growing 700,000 pounds of Baby Leafy Greens each year! Their hydroponic system uses 90% less water than conventional farming. They also strive to recycle own materials, keeping their carbon footprint small. Their innovative farms use renewable energy as much as possible – keeping the environmental impact small. Tip: You can find their products in supermarkets like Publix. Website: https://greenlifefarms.ag/our-farms
Lodging: Registration to this amazing 2-day tour doesn’t include lodging. We recommend arriving on the evening of Thursday, July 14. Participants must reserve a room at the Hyatt Place Miami Airport-West/Doral; telephone (305) 718-8292 for July 15. We have a block of rooms at a negotiated rate of $122.00 per night, mention “NACAA Horticulture Room Block”. Tour participants are responsible for making their own hotel reservations, and the cost of lodging is not included in the registration fee. Participants must register for hotel accommodations by June 15, 2022. If you are looking for a roommate please contact Cyndi Lauderdale, NACAA Horticulture and Turfgrass Committee Chair at 252-237-0111, if you need assistance.
Transportation: Tour will depart and return to hotel in Doral, FL on July, Friday 15. And after tour ends, will drop everyone off at the West Palm Beach headquarters hotels on Saturday, July 16.
Weather: It is going to be muy caliente (super-hot). Bring sun and heat protection clothing and a hydration bottle. Is also rainy season, bring a raincoat or enjoy soaked in a tropical rain. Mosquito sprays are recommended for those with sweet blood (like my abuelita used to say)
Cash is king. Some places accept credit cards, but bringing some cash is recommended. For more images and whatnot about south Florida ornamental industry, follow us via Twitter: @evcampoverde and @ampicfl22