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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Guests savor ‘Flavors of Florida’ at IFAS event at UF President's House

<p>Pictured is produce showcased in the “Flavors of Florida” event at the UF President’s House on Monday evening. Guests were able to taste dishes made with ingredients grown by breeders from the UF/IFAS Plant Innovation Center and the UF/IFAS Plant Breeding Program.</p>

Pictured is produce showcased in the “Flavors of Florida” event at the UF President’s House on Monday evening. Guests were able to taste dishes made with ingredients grown by breeders from the UF/IFAS Plant Innovation Center and the UF/IFAS Plant Breeding Program.

The rain subsided just in time for Gainesville residents to sip and savor fresh food grown through UF’s research program Monday night.

UF and the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences welcomed 180 people to their second “Flavors of Florida” event at the UF President’s House. The event showcased tastes and smells of foods grown by breeders from the UF/IFAS Plant Innovation Center and Plant Breeding Program. Varieties of blueberries, tomatoes, strawberries and peaches were featured at this year’s event.

“This event brings a visual to our efforts and highlights a small but important aspect of what IFAS does,” said Jack Payne, UF’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

The guests were able to sample the ingredients from the plant innovation research in nine meals, including Sunray Venus Clams with Datil pepper and cheddar grits.

Top Gainesville chefs teamed up with the leading scientists to create the dishes, including cooks from Cacciatore Catering, Mildred’s Big City Food and Embers Wood Grill.

Jackie Burns, UF/IFAS dean for research, said Monday the establishment of the Plant Innovation Center at UF was finally formalized.

“The center being approved gives us the opportunity for innovation across the campus,” Burns said. “We hold this event to showcase what we have done and show our stakeholders what we have been working on.”

She believes the center will help connect the colleges on campus through the research of how food affects the human body and behavior.

“We have the critical mass to improve your food, to make it taste great, make it healthier and make it more appealing to your senses,” said David Clark, the center’s inaugural director.

As an informal group, PIC  faculty worked with plant scientists who research the genetic and biochemical components of fruits and vegetables to come up with the genetic recipes for new plants that people will like more. Now, the group is an official branch of UF/IFAS.

“Let’s all be good ancestors,” Payne said as he wrapped up the evening. “You can expect great things from IFAS.”

[A version of this story ran on page 3 on 3/24/2015 under the headline “Guests savor ‘Flavors of Florida’ at IFAS event at Pres House”]

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Pictured is produce showcased in the “Flavors of Florida” event at the UF President’s House on Monday evening. Guests were able to taste dishes made with ingredients grown by breeders from the UF/IFAS Plant Innovation Center and the UF/IFAS Plant Breeding Program.

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