Thirty Five years ago I moved to South Florida with my wife Aly. She and I never had a garden. We decided that now in a home with a big yard we would plant some vegetable crops. We started planting in August.
The project was a total disaster. My tomatoes never flowered and basically withered away and died. The carrots rotted in the ground and the lettuce, well lets just say it looked like an alien life form barely alive.
So what does a New York city slicker do when faced with a gardening disaster? Call a Juajiro from Hialeah. The word Juajiro refers to a Cuban agricultural worker and that describes my Uncle.
Felipe was an amazing farmer and he was just 78 years young and strong as a bull. He had lived off the land in Cuba and he understood the climate here in Florida very well. He taught me what to grow, when and how to grow it. He knew how to graft and propagate plants like a master. The skills he had always amazed me. He also planted by the phases of the moon and we used to argue about that often. I knew he was right but loved to tease him. Miss you Felipe.
Several years later my two brothers Isaac, Nelson and my little sister Jill arrived in Florida and we all started different agricultural businesses.
By the late 1990's my family and I managed 7.5 acres of land with a wide assortment of tropical fruit trees and exotic palms. Our grove and nursery was located in Southwest Ranches near Griffin Road and 178 ave. We sold field grown palms and flowering trees retail and wholesale.
Besides the Southwest Ranches grove and nursery, my younger brother and I also operated a 5 acre farm in Princeton Florida and grew fruit trees like Soursop, Moringa and Miracle Fruit.
Ten years later my Father in Law arrived from New York and purchased a home in Jupiter on 2.5 acres He and I operated a wholesale orchid and herb nursery. Louie was 72 years of age and was a baker by trade but came from a farm in Hungary to the USA during the cold war. He knew a thing or two about farming and could fix anything mechanical too. That business was very successful and was sold with the land in 2012 when he retired. Louie is 83 years old and doing great by the way.
It was around this time that I took a serious look at edible landscaping, food gardens, fruit trees etc. Pepe's Fruit Trees was born and I was on my way to building a great business that I love so much. Along the way, my son Michael has been a big part of our growth and so has my wife Aly. In the early days we set up tents all around South Florida at Farmers markets from West Palm all the way South to the Florida Keys. We also operated the business for three years at the Yellow Green Market in Hollywood.
Over the years I have met many, amazing and talented people that gladly shared agricultural skills with me. To them I am grateful. It is because of their example that I am always pleased to share my knowledge with anyone who has an interest in edible gardening.
Visit me on YouTube to see regularly uploaded educational videos. My channel demonstrates various growing methods and features several step by step propagation and planting videos. I even have videos on growing coffee and cacao. Believe it or not, lots of people want to grow exotic edibles and I show you how.
In conclusion I ask that you consider growing edible plants in backyards & vacant lots, no matter how big or small. Urban farming started long ago and today more and more people are enjoying the benefits of having urban farms close to home and providing fresh fruits and vegetables. You can start anytime no matter what age you are. Fruit trees are a great addition to your property. You can start small by ordering one of our fruit trees and other edibles on-line. We always ship USPS 2 day Priority mail so your plants arrive quickly with minimal shock if any.
Happy gardening "-)
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