|Fruit and Spice Park|
24801 Redland Road (SW 187th Ave) Miami, FL 33170 Phone: 305-247-5727
Truly a unique source of wonder and amazement, the Fruit and Spice Park is more than 30 acres of tropical delight, with over 500 varieties of herbs, nuts, spices and unusual fruits.
From Jackfruit and Black Sapote to Snake Fingers and Wax Jambu, a quick tour will reveal many bizarre but edible delicacies at this world famous garden.
The main entrance building and gift shop is a recreation of the original Redland one-room school house that served a dozen pioneer families and the children of railroad employees. The gift shop includes exotic and wonderful jellies, canned preserves, aromatic teas, unusual seeds, cold fruit juices, plus an amazing collection of books ranging from cookery to plant propagation.
Among the parks many services are classes and tours of various fruit and vegetable-growing regions, including farm tours and fruit safaris, plus expert gardening and botanical advice.
A Short History
The Redland became one of the first lasting settlements of South Dade County and its sub-tropical climate created a unique agricultural environment able to produce a wide variety of exotic fruit.
An 1896 newspaper stated that farmers in South Dade were producing "avocado pears, mangos, sapodillas, paw paw (papaya), lemons, limes, etc."
These were just some of the sub-tropical fruits and plants Mrs. Heinlein felt would provide a unique garden display.
At Mrs. Heinlein’s urging, in 1935 county commissioners and pioneer Parks Director A.D. Barnes began a series of transactions to purchase an 18-acre parcel of land site on the Southeast corner of Coconut Palm Drive and Redland Road in the Redland.
County Commissioner Preston B. Bird was instrumental in securing funds and the land was finally acquired in 1943 after a series of court procedures to resolve problems with title and justification for park use. With the backing of Parks Director A.D. Barnes, Mary Heinlein could finally begin realizing the creation of a garden collection of semi-tropical fruits.
The County’s Parks Department contracted William Lyman Phillips, landscape architect and designer of the world-famous Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, to develop landscape plans for the newly purchased land. Plans for what was to become the new garden parkwere completed in 1944 and construction began that same year.
Parks Director Barnes recognized Mary Heinlein as the driving force that inspired the creation of the park, and appointed her its first Superintendent.
Mary Calkins Heinlein (1903 –1975) served as Superintendent of what she named the Redland Fruit & Spice Park until her retirement in 1959. The daughter of pioneer sub-tropical farmers, Mrs. Heinlein was fascinated with the exotic fruits and flora of South Florida. She was an active garden club member and she and her husband Herman, who was also surveyor, owned a small nursery in the Redland.
Following William Lyman Phillips’ landscape plans, Mrs. Heinlein and her husband led a team of laborers and park workers in laying out the plots and started collecting specimens to plant in the Park. The collection grew and soon a variety of rare fruits, nuts and spices flourished.
In addition to the gardens, the Park also maintained and showcased two original historic structures on the property. An original one-room Redland Schoolhouse built in 1906 and a coral rock building built around 1913 as a laboratory for citrus canker research.
In 1982, Redland resident Fran Mitchell donated another historic home to the Park. Due in large part to the efforts of Redland resident Robert Jensen, the 1902 historic structure was moved to Fruit & Spice Park from its original location 8 miles away. The structure was named the Bauer-Neill-Mitchell House. It was preserved as an example of a typical Redland Pioneer home and landscaped with archetypical plants and fruit varieties.
|Rob's Redland Riot
A fruity, tropical history tour down south
a leisurely self-guided tour through the Redland Region -- known as Miami's Bountiful Countryside -- featuring a bit of local history and folk tales and a few notable places to stop along the way...
awarded "Best Tour" and
"Best Tour Guide"
in Miami-Dade County
Rob's Redland Riot © 2002-2021 Robert Adams Burr • all rights reserved • [email protected]