Palm Beach Chapter of the Rare Fruit Council Partners with C.R.O.S. Ministries for Upcoming Tropical
C.R.O.S. Ministries for Upcoming
Tropical Fruit Tree & Edible Plant Sale
March 29 at South Florida Fairgrounds
(West Palm Beach, FL - March 3, 2014) For over forty years, the Palm Beach Chapter of the Rare Fruit Council International, a non-profit all-volunteer organization, has promoted tropical pomology and the merits of tropical fruits to residents of South Florida. Although the organization’
"Each year more than one-thousand people visit our semi-annual plant sales.” according to Susan Lerner, President of the Palm Beach Chapter of the Rare Fruit Council (RFC). “Because everyone’s interest in growing their own food has increased significantly in recent years, our upcoming Tropical Fruit Tree & Edible Plant Sale may be our biggest event ever.”
RFC's annual Tropical Fruit Tree & Edible Plant Sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 29, at the South Florida Fairgrounds – Agriplex Building. Both admission and parking is free.
"It is with the expected size and popularity of this year’s plant sale in mind that we are proud to announce our collaboration with another non-profit organization whose work with tropical fruits comes from a completely different perspective,”
"For most of us, when we think of eating a tropical fruit, like a Mango, we think of it as a delightful seasonal treat. However, for many of our neighbors in Palm Beach County there is serious concern about having enough food to eat on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis. For them food is not a certainty. The RFC was established in part to promote the merits of tropical fruit. What better merit than to feed those of our neighbors who are food challenged. With the plant sale on March 29 we will be collaborating with C.R.O.S. Ministries in a very unique way to help bring fresh fruit to the food challenged families of Palm Beach County in way that we hope will have a positive impact for years to come,” said Claassen.
C.R.O.S. Ministries is an organization whose mission is to collaborate with people of different faiths and organizations to create solutions to the unmet needs of the people in our community. One of the ways that C.R.O.S. Ministries meets its mission is through gleaning; where as many as 3,000 volunteers pick produce left behind in farmers’ fields from commercial harvesting methods. In 2013 alone, C.R.O.S. volunteers gleaned 319,483 pounds of produce, and then distributed the produce to local food banks. The food banks then supply food pantries and hot food kitchens directly serving those in need.
According to Keith Cutshall, Gleaning Program Director for C.R.O.S., in Palm Beach County alone there between 150,000 and 200,000 residents who would be missing meals and going hungry if it were not for the meals made available via food pantries and hot meal kitchens.
"This is where it gets exciting,” said Claassen. “Recently C.R.O.S. Ministries took over management of an abandoned Mango grove now owned by South Florida Water Management and used as a noise buffer. The Mango grove currently consists of 286 mature mango trees. Considering that a mango tree can produce from 220 to 330 pounds of fruit each year and live to over 100 years old – that is a lot of fresh fruit that can be provided to those in need in Palm Beach County. While 286 mango trees sounds like a lot, there is room for more, and solving this need is where the collaboration between C.R.O.S. Ministries and the Palm Beach Chapter of the Rare Fruit Council International was born.
Every person who visits the March 29 plant sale, held at the South Florida Fair Grounds Agriplex from 9am to 2pm, will have the opportunity to purchase a Mango Tree and donate the tree to C.R.O.S. Ministries for planting in the mango grove they manage. Condo and other small mango trees are preferred because they are easier to manage and harvest. Each tree will start to produce fruit in between its third and fifth year and produce over 200 pounds of fresh food each year thereafter, with the potential to produce for over 100 years. “We hope that through this collaboration both our non-profit organizations can have a greater positive impact on our community,” said Claassen. “The mango grove has room for 28 more trees, which has the potential to add over 6,000 lbs. per year of fresh food for those who need it most, the 150,000 people in this county for whom a daily meal is a challenge.”
When asked when he he would do if the visitors to the Tropical Fruit Tree & Edible Plant Sale donated more than the twenty-eight trees C.R.O.S. now needs, Cutshall sat back in his chair, smiled and said, “That would be a nice problem to have.”
Interested people can contact Keith Cutshall of C.R.O.S. ministries at 561.233.9009, ext.107 for information on volunteering or donations, or visit their web site at www.crosministries.org. For more information on the Palm Beach Chapter of the Rare Fruit Council plant sale, please visit www.pbrarefruitcouncil.org or contact Matthew Claassen at 561.603.6120.
Available for Interview:
Palm Beach Chapter of the Rare Fruit Council International
561.233.9009, ext. 107