Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bob Roth's New River Groves

When I read that there was a U-Pick Mango Grove a few miles from my house I about had a coniption fit. You see, I am a tremendous fan of both mangoes and anything I can pick myself.

Mangoes just came into season last week. Honestly, a lot of them still aren't quite ripe yet. As an apartment dweller, I often lament the fact that I don't have a yard to grow my own mango trees. There are two trees near my apartment building. One of them is in the yard of an extremely scary man who always seems up to no good, therefore I'm not going to go asking him if I can have some of his fruit. The other tree is in the yard of what looks an awful lot like a crack house, so I don't want to get too friendly with that one either. So far this week I've foraged a total of three ripe mangoes that have fallen off of these trees and rolled into my parking lot, where I figure they're fair game. I have a friend with a big mango tree in her yard, but she lives forty-five minutes away and I haven't seen her yet this mango season, so that means I need alternative mango acquisition methods.

The abandoned house in my parents' neighborhood (where I foraged calamondins last winter) also has a mango tree, which my dad has been picking from along with the rest of the neighborhood. They've cleaned out the bottom branches so the only fruit left is too high to pick. My dad has devised his own, ingenius fruit picking system wherein he uses his pool skimmer to knock the fruit off their stems so that he can then catch them in the skimmer's net. It works well.

But I still need more mangoes, so imagine my delight when I ran across Bob Roth's New River Groves where I can pick my own.

I spent the better part of this afternoon (after a magnificent thunderstorm this morning) strolling through Bob Roth's mango groves, located behind his grove stand at 5660 Griffin Road in Davie. I had a peaceful walk, just me and the sussuration of mango leaves with the occasional thump of ripe fruit hitting the damp ground. It made me very happy and I can see myself taking this walk often in the coming weeks. In addition to mangoes, I also found avocado, lychee, grapefruit and banana trees, but nothing is ready now except mangoes and coconuts of which there are plenty for sale in the grove stand along with other Florida delicacies like frozen stone crabs (don't buy these now because the season ended already), smoked alligator meat, tomatoes, juices and local honey. I also noticed a bin with the last oranges of the season. They were beginning to smell a little off, so these would be best cooked into a nice marmalade and preserved for the summer when we can't get citrus. I may make that an upcoming project.

I purchased some fantastic tomatoes, a pound of local, orange blossom honey, a quart of coconut water grown and bottled on site and two, small mangoes of a variety I haven't tried. I asked the lady operating the stand about the variety, as there were two different types of trees growing. One type produced rounder, larger fruits. These she said were Haden, the most popular mango in Florida. The others were smaller, yellow and paisley shaped. She told me she thought they were Valencia Pride, however, I think she was mistaken, as the mangoes I purchased more closely resemble thai mangoes, according to my research.

Bob's also sells pies, a bunch of non-local jellies (we have already discussed this pet peeve of mine), peanuts from Georgia (shoot, because I wanted some peanuts today) and some candy and dried fruit and crap that isn't local either. I've complained about this already, so I won't go into it again, but I will say that as far as fruit stands go around here, Bob's had the least amount of non-local products that I've found and it is the only place that I've found that sells coconut water and smoked alligator meat, which I have yet to get the nerve up to try.

I think I'll probably be back at Bob's pretty soon. I can't wait to pick my own lychees.


  1. good scouting, Victoria...didn't know there are mangoes in Davie.
    Florida needs to connect with the wealth of wonderful foods available to us locally.

  2. This is great information. Didn't know about Bobs and bet there are so many more places to find here in So Flo.
    Got some places for you to check out that I haven't had the time to visit or on the weekend, I'll go with you.
    Slow Food connects the dots