Most people wouldn’t think that flowers and food go together. The folks at Disney are hoping they do indeed go very well together. At Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival this year running from March 6th to May 19th, Disney is counting on food to bring more visitors to this yearly event.
In past years the Flower and Garden Festival has not been as popular as the Food and Wine Festival. So this year Disney has included “international pavilions” to attract some hungry gardeners. There are many websites you can go to and find exactly what each country will offer.
But I wanted to look past all of the fancy dishes I needed a translator for and find the one thing that stood out. The “Florida Fresh” exhibit at the World Showcase promenade provides a very surprising look into the crops that Florida is known for. Everyone knows about all of the wonderful citrus that comes from the perfect growing climate of the state. However, the menu for this exhibit includes angel food cake with macerated Florida berries, sweet corn, watermelon salad, and shrimp with grits.
After doing some research I found some very eye opening facts. In Hillsborough County for instance, they produce 15 percent of the nations strawberry crop. They will produce 20 million flats annually, which brings in over 700 million dollars to the community. I couldn’t find any stats on how many angel food cakes are baked in Florida but I’m sure it will make a nice place for all those berries to land.
Being from Ohio I am very biased when it comes to sweet corn. I believe we produce the best on Earth. Florida however, ranks number one nationally in the production and value of fresh market sweet corn. I couldn’t find how it will be prepared but roasted with some chipotle butter would be fantasmic ( I know that was lame).
Everyone is aware of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that has severely hurt and tarnished the image of gulf shrimp. It was and still is the most sought after shrimp by chefs around the world. I believe the efforts to clean the gulf have not only brought back the industry but it’s better than ever. It never hurts to publicize the comeback of shrimp in the gulf, and what better way than to let people try it for themselves. I think the public still needs reassured that it is safe and delicious once again.
Last but not least are the watermelons. I always thought of Texas as the big producer of the melon. Florida is not the top producer but it is one of the top three states for watermelon. What is different is there are two growing seasons for the fruit in Florida. Which makes it available mostly all year round.
I am very glad that “Florida Fresh” chose to steer away from the obvious citrus dishes and teach people about other crops Florida is known for. I do hope this will bring more people to the Flower and Garden Festival……just hoping that food doesn’t take over the this wonderful spring event.
Question: Have you been to the Flower and Garden Festival? What did you enjoy most? If not….what event/time of year is your favorite at the Disney parks?
Editor’s Note: As with Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, most of the non-alcoholic items at the different food kiosks may be purchased using Disney Dining Plan snack credits.
Keith was born and raised in Northeast Ohio.He now lives with his wife a few miles from his childhood home. His first trip to the Magic Kingdom was at the age of two and while the only memories are in pictures, the magic laid dormant within him. Until he saw the animated movie Robin Hood, and his love began to grow. He has always had an interest in food and the togetherness it brings. He became a classically trained chef and all around foodie. His last trip to Disney World was in 2011 and he has been learning, researching, and keeping up on all things Disney since. He hopes to bring you all of the food news from the parks, tips on how to save money on food, and all the tastes and smells from the House of Mouse (especially when smell o vision is invented). You can follow Keith on Twitter @DarthChef79.