This Week’s Special

June 25th through July 10th, 2016

15gal. Rainbow Eucalyptus trees on sale for $60.00.

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


Thank you.






Exotic Jackfruit Gains in Popularity

The Food Network, in its online blog, FN Dish, recently ran a feature story about jackfruit. This huge, delicious fruit is just beginning to gain nationwide interest, but Richard Lyons’ Nursery has been growing the species for over a decade. Richard describes the complex flavor of the fruit as a combination of pineapple, banana and Juicy Fruit gum. Presently there are over 100 jackfruit trees being field-grown at the nursery, comprising several different cultivars. The fruit traditionally has ripened during the period from May to September, but recent changes in climate have allowed many of the trees to produce year-round. Enjoy the informative article by Amy Reiter, and drop by Richard Lyons’ Nursery to satisfy your jackfruit needs.
10 Things to Know About Jackfruit
10 Things to Know About Jackfruit
by Amy Reiter in News, May 24th, 2016


Jackfruit is having a moment.

“Seriously sweet and even better than pulled pork — this cult fruit is more than just junk food for vegans,” the London Evening Standard gushes, calling it “the new kimchi, kale and cauliflower all rolled into one.”

Eater, meanwhile, has just traced the factors “Behind Jackfruit’s Rise From South Asian Staple to Vegan Trend,” noting, “while it might seem like this fruit … came out of nowhere in the United States, its development as profitable product has been happening simultaneously in India.”

What’s that, you say? You don’t know jackfruit?

Here are 10 things to know about the trendy fruit:

1. It’s the world’s biggest tree fruit, growing as big as 3 feet in length, weighing in at as much as 100 pounds and growing on the branches and trunks of trees that may be as tall as 30, 50 or even 70 feet. Trees may yield about 150 large fruits every year; some fully mature trees may produce as many as 500 more modest-size fruit in a given year.

2. The jackfruit is native to India and Southeast Asia, where it has been a staple crop for thousands of years.

3. In the U.S., it is now being grown — albeit only on a modest scale — in Florida. Hawaii also has a climate conducive to its cultivation.

4. It has a pungent aroma that has been compared to “overripe fruit, packaged fruit cup, smelly feet, stinky cheese and pet food,” as NPR recently put it, adding that “really, it wasn’t that bad!”

5. The taste has been described as that of a pineapple crossed with a banana.

6. Nutritionally, the jackfruit is a powerhouse: packed with protein, calcium, iron, potassium and vitamin B, with 95 calories per cup.

7. An adaptable food, jackfruit can be eaten fresh and blended into smoothies. Or it can be dried or roasted and used in everything from soups to chips to noodles, jams to juices, and even ice cream. (The seeds are also useful and may even be ground to use as flour.) The fruit may also function as a stand-in for meat in curry dishes and Mexican foods. As noted in a Food Network video, “unripe jackfruit has a meatlike taste, and when cooked the fruit is transformed into a savory meat substitute similar to pulled pork, perfect for tacos.”

8. It has been hailed as a potential solution for food insecurity — a “miracle crop.” “It is easy to grow. It survives pests and diseases and high temperatures. It is drought-resistant,” Danielle Nierenberg, president of Food Tank, a nonprofit organization focused on agricultural sustainability, told the Guardian. “It achieves what farmers need in food production when facing a lot of challenges under climate change.”

9. You can buy it canned (in water or brine or syrup).

10. You can try your hand at cooking it with this recipe for a BBQ jackfruit sandwich. And to learn more about jackfruit, paste the following link into your browser:

Photo courtesy of iStock

Dealing with Zika and Aedes aegypti

Now is the time for Floridians to take precautions to help minimize the occurrence of the Zika virus. As you are aware, while Zika is not yet known to have been transmitted within Florida, Miami-Dade County leads the nation in reported cases, as travelers who have contracted the virus while away from the country return to, or pass through, our area. However, given our hot and rainy summer climate, it is only a matter of time before Zika starts to be transmitted locally.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the species most likely to spread Zika. The most effective preventive step you can take to minimize the virus – or any other mosquito-borne disease – is to eliminate standing water on your property. Mosquitoes can breed in even tiny receptacles, so be sure to inspect your property thoroughly to eliminate those risks.

Of course, there are places on the property of many individuals where water collects intentionally and not as the result of neglect. They include fishponds, birdbaths, and bromeliads. Fortunately, there are methods for treating those decorative features. A product that we use at Richard Lyons’ Nursery is Mosquito Bits, a larvicide. Its primary active ingredient is Bacillus thuringiensis ssp. israelensis, Strain 144. Bti, as it is known for short, is a biological control, and the manufacturer of Mosquito Bits claims that its product “will give a quick kill within 24 hours.” The product label further states that it “can be applied to areas that contain aquatic life, fish and plants.” You can read the entire label at

When it comes to bromeliads in particular, it should be of some comfort to know that they are not the favorite habitat for Aedes aegypti. A University of Florida publication ( advises that the species prefers lower lighting than what occurs in bromeliad tanks. Moreover, the two mosquito species most prominently found in bromeliads, belonging to the genus Wyeomiya, are not known to spread disease in humans. A companion UF article ( states that Bacillus sphaericus has some advantages over Bti.

Queen’s Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia speciosa) and Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)

Queen’s Crape Myrtle is a deciduous subtropical tree, USDA hardiness zone 10B-11, closely related to the more cold tolerant Lagerstroemia indica.  However, Queen’s Crape Myrtle has a single trunk,  much larger crown spread, larger leaves, and larger flowers varying in color from pink to purple, as opposed to the many flower colors of L. indica.  It attains a height of 25-30′ in South Florida, with a profusion of blooms from mid-May to June, followed by woody rounded capsules which split open revealing many seeds, which small song birds feed upon.

The common name, ‘Crape or Crepe’, is probably due to the crinkled flowers resembling delicate crepe paper, and ‘myrtle’ because the peeling bark of L indica resembles the trunk of trees in the myrtle family.  The genus Lagerstroemia is named for the Swedish merchant, Magnus von Lagerstrom, who supplied Carolus Linnaeus with plants he collected.

The tree is native to SE Asia, and is called Banaba in the Philippines.  The flowers and leaves are used to make an herbal tea, as they contain corrosolic acid, a chemical which has an insulin like effect of lowering glucose levels in the body.

Richard Lyons’ Nursery has a very large pink flowering variety of Queen’s Crape Myrtle which is much showier than most of the varieties seen in the nursery trade.  Most varieties sold in S. FL. tend to be more purple or lavender than pink, and much smaller sized flowers.  The nursery carries the regular Crape Myrtle in various colors and these trees are grown in 3gal., 7gal., and 15gal. containers.

Lagerstroemia speciosa (Queen’s Crape Myrtle)

Lagerstroemia speciosa (Queen’s Crape Myrtle)

Lagerstroemia speciosa (Queen’s Crape Myrtle)

Lagerstroemia speciosa (Queen’s Crape Myrtle)

Lagerstroemia speciosa (Queen’s Crape Myrtle)

Lagerstroemia speciosa (Queen’s Crape Myrtle)



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
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