October 1, 2020
How do you become an expert on Florida food? Heather McPherson spent decades as food editor at the Orlando Sentinel. She’s an author and editor of several cookbooks showcasing Florida’s seafood and produce; she’s the publicist for the famous Floridian Chef Art Smith; and she lends her writing talent to the Florida Dairy Farmers, and to Edible Orlando magazine, among other venues. Plus, she’s an energetic advocate for Florida farmers.
Florida is not just beaches and Disney World – it has serious agricultural cred, says McPherson. In fact, it’s the birthplace of America’s beef industry. The Spanish brought cattle with them hundreds of years ago, and many beef cattle ranchers still keep small herds of these heritage breeds of cracker cattle.
The things that sets Florida apart from other parts of the country are its growing seasons. “We have seasons all year long,” she says. “Other states don’t, because winter sets in and shuts things down.” Even in the scorching heat of a Florida summer, the mangos and other tropical produce are in season.
McPherson also extols the variety of food grown in Florida. “We grow just about everything here that you grow elsewhere,” she says. And when people immigrate to Florida from other parts of the world, she says they bring their food preferences with them – and farmers will grow those exotics, too, if they see a market.
Explore The Zest
Host: Robin Sussingham
Producer: Dalia Colón & Robin Sussingham
Photo Credits: Heather McPherson