This Week’s Special

May 14th through May 29th, 2016

15-gal. Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees 8-12′ (Eucalyptus deglupta), $50.00.

Weekly specials are exempt from special coupons such as Yelp and Groupon.


Thank you.





If You Want Vegetarian Food Alternatives, Looky Here

Once again Richard Lyons’ Nursery is happy to pass along to readers some useful information published by Brooks Tropicals. This time it’s about preparing delicious vegatarian dishes. Enjoy!

Enjoy a tropical vegetarian dish!

You want to eat healthy. You’ve read about all the benefits of a plant-based diet.

But if there’s a gap between wanting to eat less meat and actually wanting to eat typical vegetarian fare, consider tropical fruits and veggies.

Tropicals bring a sense of excitement and fun to a meatless dish that typical vegetarian fare – sprouts, tofu and granola – could never muster on their own.

Great-tasting tropicals are also nutrient-dense, making that healthier lifestyle that much easier to embrace.


Consciously passionate guava couscous

Couscous is the free agent of grains. It doesn’t really clump; it doesn’t really cling. So to curb the “every ingredient for itself” element in this salad, prepare one guava as a paste and slice the other into pieces. The guava paste brings cohesion to the dish, and the slices bring guava’s crunch. It’s the tropical version of having your cake and eating it too.


1 7.6 oz. box couscous
2 Red guava
2 passionfruit, cut in half and with insides scooped out
1 tbs sliced almonds
1 lime
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
Protein per serving approximately 13.25 grams.


1. Peel one guava. Cut both guavas in half. In a small saucepan, add the guavas and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and let cool.
2. Follow the directions on the box to cook the couscous.
3. While cooking the couscous, scoop the seeds out of the peeled guava. Cut into pieces.
4. Press the other guava through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds and skin.
5. Add the guava paste to the couscous. Mix thoroughly. Add the guava pieces, passionfruit, almonds and the juice of 1 lime. Toss to combine. Serve warm or cold – your choice!

Getting enough protein?       

Happily protein isn’t hard to find in every-day food beyond the meat category. And that includes tropicals.For each recipe in this newsletter, the math’s been done. The approximate amount of protein is listed under each recipe. To see how tropical proteins stack up, click here…

Papaya-SlimCado cashew salad


1 SlimCado avocado, cut in half, seed discarded, chopped – for how-tos
1/2 Caribbean Red® papaya, about 2 cups peeled, seeds
discarded, chopped – for how-tos
1/4 cup unsalted cashews, chopped
3 tbs fresh mint, chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 limes
1 cup arugula, coarsely chopped
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes plus 2 hours of refrigeration.
Protein per serving approximately 10.53 grams.


1. In a large bowl, add the avocado pieces, papaya pieces, cashews, mint, shallots, salt, pepper and the juice of 2 limes. Toss gently to combine. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
2. Place arugula on plates. Serve the salad on top of the arugula. Serve immediately.



Some vegetarian recipes try to make a dish look like its beef counterpart.

We’re past masquerading tofu for our diners. But it’s still fun to transform more typical fare to a veggie version. Make it even tastier with a tropical veggie version like these fajitas.


Papaya with beer-saut?ed fajitas

4 oz. of beer is half a can. Drink the other half while cooking. It’s cook’s privilege. I hate to say drink fast, but this recipe is quick and easy.


2 Tbs olive oil
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced for how-to’s
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
4 oz. canned beer, your choice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1/2 Caribbean Red® papaya, peeled seeds discarded and
sliced into long thin pieces, for how-to’s
1/4 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped
6 whole-wheat tortillas
4 oz American cheese
1 lime
Yield: 6 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
Protein per servicing approximately 11.33 grams.


1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and ginger for 2 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and onion. Sauté for 3 minutes.
2. Add the bell pepper and cook 5 minutes. Stir frequently.
3. Pour the beer into the skillet, then add the salt, pepper and cumin. Stir to combine. Add the papaya strips. Cook until the liquid has evaporated. Stir occasionally.
4. Remove from heat, add the cilantro and gently toss.
5. Place the tortillas between 2 damp paper towels on top of a microwaveable plate. Microwave on high 30 to 45 seconds.
6. Place a tortilla on a serving plate, scoop about 1/6th of the filling onto it. Top with a portion of the cheese. Repeat for the remaining tortillas.
7. Serve hot with lime wedges.

Breakfast – getting a great start

No need for bacon or ham at breakfast to get your protein.Oatmeal or yogurt delivers the protein punch while tropicals like passionfruit and papaya make breakfast a memorable way to start the day.

Oatmeal topped with passionfruit and papaya
Happily chocolate delivers a good amount of protein.

And chocolate combines delightfully with a passionfruit and a SlimCado for a great-tasting and protein-packed dessert.


Chocolate-SlimCado Mousse

Chocolate delivers protein, so does a SlimCado but to a lesser extent. But with the SlimCado bringing to the table all the nutrients of an avocado, you’ll get a dessert that delivers some important nutrients.


1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 SlimCado avocado, cut in half, peeled and seed discarded
1/2 cup agave
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup skim milk
1 tbs vanilla
dash of salt
1 passionfruit
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes plus 3 hours of refrigeration.
Protein per serving approximately 3.99 grams.


1. Add the chocolate chips to a microwave save bowl. Microwave on medium power for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until entirely smooth and melted. You can burn chocolate, so take it slow.
2. Add the melted chocolate, SlimCado, agave, cocoa powder, milk, vanilla and salt to a food processor. Blend until smooth.
3. You can scoop into serving glasses and cover the top surface of the mousse with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
4. Scoop out the insides of a passionfruit, top the mousse with about 1/4th of the fruit.

Tropical veggie entrees

Tropical gazpacho
on a slice of papaya

Perfect for a workday lunch, but magnificent on a hot, steamy summer’s night when heating up the kitchen to heat up your tummy makes no sense at all.


1/2 cup orange juice
1 lime
2 tbs basil
1/4 cup fresh parsley
4 oz. feta cheese
1/2 Caribbean Red® papaya, peeled, seeds
discarded and chopped – for how-tos
1 SlimCado® avocado, peeled, seed discarded
and chopped – for how-tos
1 dragonfruit, cut in half, scooped out and chopped
10 oz. pkg edamame, shelled
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes plus 2 hours refrigeration.
Protein per serving approximately 11.19 grams.


For the tofu, part 1
1. Spray a 9″ x 13″ nonstick baking dish with cooking spray.
2. To the dish, add and combine the soy sauce, ginger, the juice of one lime and 1/4 cup water.
3. Layer the tofu slices in the dish. Spoon some of the sauce on the top of the tofu slices. Marinate at least 20 minutes. Flip the tofu slices halfway through.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F.

For the salsa
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the juice of 2 limes, cilantro, chili, salt pepper and oil. Add the avocado, papaya and broccoli. Toss gently to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

For the tofu, part 2
1. Sprinkle the marinated tofu with curry powder. Bake 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn once halfway through.
2. Serve the tofu topped with the Caribbean salsa; add lime wedges on the side.


Chayote-potato scramble topped with papaya salsa

Breakfast, brunch or dinner, this scrambled dish will be a favorite. If you have any leftovers, the salsa and the scramble make a great sandwich.

The chayote-potato scramble can be cooked like hash browns or pressed into patties. Your choice – just cook the patties 5 minutes on each side. No cheating. The patties don’t like to be flipped twice.


For the papaya salsa

1 lime
1 tbs honey
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbs coriander
1/2 Caribbean Red® papaya or 2 Solo papayas, peeled, seeds
discarded and chopped finely – for how-tos
1/4 cup red onion, chopped finely
1 green pepper, chopped finely
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped finely

For the chayote-potato cakes

1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 chayote, peeled and shredded
1 boniato or potato, peeled, seed center discarded and shredded (keep boniato pieces in water until ready to cook)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
Protein per serving approximately 8.19 grams.


For the papaya salsa
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the juice of 1 lime, honey, cilantro and coriander. Add the papaya, onion, and green and yellow peppers. Toss gently.
2. This can be refrigerated covered up to 3 days. Toss before serving.

For the chayote-potato cakes or hash
1. If making patties, preheat oven to lowest setting.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the salt and eggs. Add the cornmeal and seasonings.
3. Put the chayote in a colander and squeeze out any excess moisture. Add to the egg mixture along with the drained boniato.
4. In large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes.
5. For patties

a. Using 1/2 cup of the chayote mixture, make a patty about 1″ thick.
b. Cook until lightly brown, about 5 minutes per side.
c. Transfer finished cake to an ovenproof dish in the oven. Cover with aluminum foil.
d. Add more oil to the skillet as needed.

6. For hash

a. Add the chayote-potato mixture to the skillet. Press flat. Let cook 4 minutes. Flip and press flat. Cook another 4 minutes. Break up with a pancake turner and cook another 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
b. Serve immediately.

7. Serve warm topped with papaya salsa.


Red guava, black beans

In a rush? Have three pots going with the rice, guava and black beans heating up separately. I know this too well; this is the dish I pull out of thin air when unexpected dinner guests have arrived.


2 red guava, ends cut off, peeled and cut in half
2 tbs olive oil
4 scallions, chopped
1″ fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/4 cup red vinegar
1/4 cup white cooking wine
1 bay leaf
1 tbs sugar
1 lime
2 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 cup cooked yellow rice
Yield: 6 servings
Prep time: 40 minutes, plus any additional time to cook the rice.
Protein per serving approximately 10.91 grams.


1. In a large saucepan, add the guava halves and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and let cool under cold water. With a spoon, scoop out the seed cavity. Slice into small pieces.
2. In the large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the oil and heat for 3 minutes.
3. Add the scallions and ginger to the saucepan and sauté for 3 minutes.
4. Add the vinegar, wine, bay leaf, sugar, juice of one lime and seasonings. Stir to combine.
5. Add the black beans and guava pieces. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
6. Meanwhile, follow the directions on the package to cook the rice.
7. Serve the guava’d black beans over rice. This dish is great hot or cold.


Calypso pepperpot

“Everything but the kitchen sink” might apply when making this Caribbean soup. With tropical potatoes such as yams (the real yam) and yuca bringing the mainstay of flavor, you can add just about anything and it will be great. Make the recipe your own, but take notes so you can remember what you did for next time.


2 tbs canola oil
1″ fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 cup or 1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 poblano chili, deseeded and chopped
4 cups water
1 small tropical yam, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
1 medium yuca, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
1 15 oz. can green peas
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 tbs thyme, chopped
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp salt
5 cups spinach (5 oz. pkg), chopped
6 scallions, chopped
1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
1/4 Groovy Coconut, opened and extract – for how-tos
Yield: 6 servings (about 8 cups)
Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour 25 minutes of cooking.
Protein per serving approximately 11.73 grams.


1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil for 2 minutes. Add the ginger and onion. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add the bell pepper, chili and sauté for another 3 minutes.
2. Add the water, yam, yuca, peas (undrained) and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes (until the yuca and yams are tender). Stir occasionally.
3. Add the spinach, scallions and coconut milk. Cook for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
4. Remove from heat. Serve hot with coconut shavings on top. Perfect over pasta.


Tropical spring rolls with spicy peanut dressing

Something about dipping your entrée in sauce makes it fun. Tropicals just give this Asian dish an alternative taste.


Spicy peanut dressing

1 lime
1 8 oz. package silken soft tofu
1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth
1 tbs low-sodium soy sauce
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated – for how-to’s
1 tsp black pepper

Spring rolls

Non-stick cooking spray
1/2 Caribbean Red® papaya, peeled seeds discarded and
sliced into long thin pieces, for how-to’s
1 SlimCado® avocado, cut in half, seed discarded and chopped
1/2 red onion chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
3 tbs rice vinegar
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated for how-to’s
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 limes
12 6 1/2-inch square egg roll wrappers
2 tbs canola oil
Yield: 6 servings
Prep time: 30 minutesplus 10 to 12 minutes of baking
Protein per servicing approximately 14.76 grams.


For the dressing
1. Juice the lime into a blender or food processor. Add the remaining dressing ingredients. Blend until relatively smooth. Refrigerate.

For the tropical spring rolls
1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
2. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray.
3. In a large bowl, gently toss the papaya, SlimCado, onion and parsley together. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, ginger, salt, pepper and the juice of one lime. Reserve the other lime for garnishing.
4. Gently toss all ingredients.
5. Lay a wrapper diagonally on a plate. Place a portion size of the papaya mixture in the lower triangle of the wrapper. Pull up the lower corner of the wrapper to cover the mixture. Then pull in the two sides. Then roll tightly upward. Place the roll seam side down on the cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining wrappers.
6. To brown, spray the tops of the spring rolls with cooking spray or brush with canola oil.
7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.                                                                             8. Serve warm with the remaining lime cut into wedges and the spicy peanut dressing served on the side.


Calabaza always makes a great soup. In this version, the pumpkin can be enjoyed in chunks along with other garden veggies. And if you like a nutty taste, add the boniatos. Adding tempeh means this can be the main dish of the meal. Filling and yummy, this is a perfect vegetarian entrée.


1/4 calabaza (about 4 cups)
optional: 2 boniato
2 tbs olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, diced (1 medium onion)
1″ fresh ginger, grated
1 7 oz. package tempeh, chopped
5 cups water
2 medium turnips, peeled and diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 6.3 oz. pkg rice pilaf
Yield: 6 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 45 minutes of cooking.
Protein per serving approximately 12.67 grams.


1. Cut the calabaza into quarters (you can often buy a precut quarter). Scoop and discard the seed area. Using a potato peeler, peel the skin and discard it. Chop into small pieces using any orange flesh except for the meat directly under the stem.
2. Wash the boniatos. Cut off the ends. Peel them using a vegetable peeler. Boniato, when exposed to air, may turn brown. If desired, peel underwater to avoid discoloration. After chopping the boniato, place pieces in a bowl with water covering the pieces. Discoloration doesn’t change the flavor.
3. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil for 1 minute. Add the onion, ginger and tempeh. Sauté for 3 minutes.
4. Add the water, calabaza, turnips, carrots, boniato and seasonings, except for the parsley. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.
5. Meanwhile, prepare the rice pilaf as directed on the package.
6. After cooking, remove the stew from the heat. Add the chopped parsley. Serve over the rice pilaf. This stew refrigerates well up to 1 week and can be frozen up to 3 months.

Here’s to tropical meatless Mondays!

Yours in the tropics,

Mary Ostlund
Brooks logo

Avocado Scourge Continues Its Spread Through Florida

Last week in this space, Richard Lyons’ Nursery reported more discouraging news concerning citrus greening disease. This week we have received equally ominous information about the disease affecting avocados. The University of Florida has disclosed that the insect responsible for transmitting laurel wilt disease has continued to increase its presence in the state.

Dr. Jonathan Crane of the Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC) in Homestead reports that the ambrosia beetle has distributed the laurel wilt pathogen in 61 of Florida’s 67 counties. Only the Panhandle counties have been spared. Those of you who grow avocado trees at your residence will find Prof. Crane’s advice particularly valuable:

Avocado tree-destroying pathogen now in 61 of 67 Florida counties

A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences tropical fruit expert is doing his best to help commercial and residential avocado tree owners battle the dangerous laurel wilt pathogen.

With 12,000 commercial avocado trees already destroyed by laurel wilt, growers need a solution, but so do residential homeowners, as the pathogen has now been reported in all but six of Florida’s 67 counties, said Jonathan Crane, a UF/IFAS professor of horticultural sciences and a tropical fruit Extension specialist.

The only counties not to have reported laurel wilt are Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla – all in the Panhandle, said Crane, a faculty member at the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Florida.

“Eventually, all Florida counties will have laurel wilt,” Crane said.

Though he doesn’t have specific numbers for the residential avocado tree problem, Crane said more and more UF/IFAS Extension faculty members are telling him that their clients are calling about dying avocado trees. Crane is giving tips on how to combat the problem.

Among Crane’s recommendations:

Maintain the health of your avocado tree and other nearby trees. Healthy trees are less attractive to ambrosia beetles. Avocado trees benefit from a good fertilizer program and periodic irrigation.

Report any suspicious redbay, sassafras and avocado trees to the Florida Division of Plant Pathology, 888-397-1517. Look for rapid wilting, dieback and insect boring. Please be sure the tree is a member of the laurel family. You can also call your county’s UF/IFAS Extension office. A list of those offices are here:

Trees affected by laurel wilt or suspected to be positive for laurel wilt disease should not be moved from the infested property unless taken to the local landfill and destroyed or buried. Contact your local waste disposal service for disposal options and procedures. An option is chipping or grinding the entire tree (including the trunk) and tarping the chips for at least one week. The chips may then be used as mulch.

The 12,000 commercial avocado trees destroyed by the laurel wilt pathogen represents about 1.5 percent of avocado trees grown for farming in Florida. More than 98 percent of Florida’s commercial avocados are grown in Miami-Dade County, but avocado trees are popular in residential landscapes.

Laurel wilt is spread by the ambrosia beetle and among avocado trees through the interconnected roots of mature avocado trees. The time from infection to tree mortality ranges from four to eight weeks. The ambrosia beetle was discovered in the U.S., in Georgia, in 2002, and the link between the beetle and the fungal pathogen was made in 2003. The devastating disease has spread rapidly through the natural landscapes along the southeastern seaboard of the U.S.

Florida Citrus Continues to Suffer

Since citrus greening disease was first detected in Florida in 2005, Richard Lyons’ Nursery has been tracking its spread, as well as attempts to find a way to control or eradicate the problem. In 2012 we felt it prudent to begin recommending against planting any citrus until a solution to citrus greening is found.

This week more discouraging news about Florida citrus has emerged. Fresh Plaza, an online publisher of news concerning the global fresh produce industry, on April 21 published a press release from the University of Florida about our problem. We reproduce it below to help keep you abreast of the latest information about the dire state of our citrus industry.

Florida citrus growers: 80 percent of trees infected by greening

Florida’s citrus growers say as much as 90 percent of their acreage and 80 percent of their trees are infected by the deadly greening disease, which is making a huge dent in the state’s $10.7 billion citrus industry, a new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences survey shows.
The survey, conducted in March 2015, shows the first grower-based estimates of both the level of citrus greening in Florida and the impact of greening on citrus operations in Florida.
“Even though the industry acknowledges that greening has reached epidemic proportions across the state, estimates of the level of infection and its impact on citrus operations are scarce,” the researchers wrote in the paper.
Assistant professor Ariel Singerman and associate professor Pilar Useche, faculty members in the UF/IFAS food and resource economics department, surveyed about 200 growers to estimate their losses from the disease. They obtained about 76 completed surveys; those growers operate approximately 30 percent of Florida’s citrus acreage. They also estimate greening has reduced their yield by 41 percent.
Surveyed growers said, on average, 90 percent of citrus acreage and 80 percent of trees in their operations had been infected, on average, in any given operation in Florida.
Singerman and Useche conducted their survey at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, where Singerman conducts his research. Useche works at the UF Gainesville campus.
Their results are outlined in an Extension document,
Greening was first detected in Florida in 2005 and threatens to destroy Florida’s citrus industry. Florida has lost about $7.8 billion in revenue, 162,200 citrus acres and 7,513 jobs to citrus greening since 2007, according to UF/IFAS researchers. Orange production dropped from 242 million to 104 million boxes in 2014, UF/IFAS researchers say.
The greening disease bacterium first enters a citrus tree via the tiny Asian Citrus Psyllid. When introduced into the plant by leaf feeding, the bacteria then moves through the tree via the veins of the tree. The disease starves the tree of nutrients, damages its roots and the tree produces fruits that are small and misshapen and have reduced quality, making it unsuitable for sale as fresh fruit or, for the most part, juice.
For more information:
Brad Buck
University of Florida
IFAS Communications
+1 352 294 3303


Spring 2016 Makes a Grand Entrance in Southern Florida

Believe it or not, we do have seasons here in southern Florida. And spring is upon us!

I just completed a tour of the nursery, where there is evidence everywhere of the new season.

Sweet Almond (Aloysia virgata) is extremely fragrant, in contrast with its much milder scent during the winter.

Mysore Raspberries (Rubus niveus) are beginning to ripen and are they sweet and delicious.

The Trumpet Tree (Tabebuia aurea, f/k/a T. caraiba) all over town are at their best with bright, rich yellow flowers. Specimens of Tabebuia bakeriana are also peaking — just simply gorgeous.

The various Costus species are awakening from their winter snooze and will be full of color shortly. Green Jade Vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys) has just finished blooming It has been known to flower a second time, so let’s hope this is one of those years.

Caladiums (Caladium bicolor) are putting forth new, colorful leaves in amazing patterns. They will not lose those leaves until the cold of winter returns later this year.

I invite all of you to come to Richard Lyons’ Nursery to see personally all of these amazing wonders and many others.