Page 52

The Wild Guava Nursery By Nick Chapman

If you find yourself walking amid banana trees and guavas, passion fruit and fig trees, you might think you’re in a tropical paradise, but you might just be visiting The Wild Guava booth at a local fresh market. Sean and Jessica O’Toole started their fledgling business in May of last year, and already their success is starting to bloom. The Wild Guava specializes in rare fruit trees and tropical edible plants. “We stock mostly subtropical plants that will grow here, like Star Fruit, Mango, Avocado, Bananas, Guavas and Tropical Cherries, just to name a few,” noted Sean. “Many people underestimate what you can grow here,” add Jessica. “All of our plants are very much suited for Central Florida.” “We want people to grow their own food and be successful at it,” said Jessica. “Everybody has a plant they can grow, we just have to find it.” The Wild Guava offers total growing support on the products they sell. Customers are encouraged to contact them with any question on the growth, care or possible problems with their plants. “We tell folks just to text or email us your question, and we’ll help as much as we can.” The young couple came from Kansas where they were both involved in the restaurant business, and where their interest in fresh produce was cultivated. They started growing their own vegetables, and enjoyed being able to produce items that weren’t always available in the local markets. They were introduced to the “Food, Not Lawns” concept, and liked encouraging people to grow their own produce right at home. After a few harsh winters, they decided to find warm refuge and a longer growing season in sunny Florida. “We chose to grow exotics because it is the stuff we like to grow and 52

INTHEFIELD MAGAZINE

February 2015

eat ourselves. At first I thought we would get a couple of trees and we’d get some fruit off them here and there. Then we started to stock some of those items and people started calling, and now it has turned into a full time business that keeps us pretty busy,” Sean added. They were pleasantly surprised by the popularity of the tropical and exotic edibles, and it has allowed them to fill a niche market for customers that want to grow their own. The Wild Guava Nursery not only sells the plants, but offers other services to aid its customers. Delivery and installation is availabe on larger orders and mature trees. They also provide growing consultations and on-site recommendations if you are interested in creating an edible landscape garden at your home. Space is not a hindrance, as many of their plants can be grown successfully in pots and inside or in heavy shade. “When people go to the big-box stores, most of the the time it’s ‘Here’s your plant’ and you’re on your way,” said Jessica. “They may not even sell varieties that are appropriate for our local climate.” That’s where Sean and Jessica’s expertise can help guide you to find the right plants for your tastes and our Florida environment. There is a lot of research involved, and Sean is constantly keeping up to date on available plants and growing methods. In fact, Sean makes a point to sell items that he can successfully grow at home. One of their most popular sellers is the Miracle Fruit plant. The fruit contains a compound that changes the way a person perceives their taste (ie – sour becomes sweet). It can also enhance the ability to taste. Some early pilot studies have shown this compound called miraculin has aided chemo patients, who often have a decreased or distorted WWW.INTHEFIELDMAGAZINE.COM

Profile for Berry Publications, Inc

In The Field magazine Hillsborough edition  

Agriculture magazine covering Hillsborough County in Florida

In The Field magazine Hillsborough edition  

Agriculture magazine covering Hillsborough County in Florida