Disney to Debut “Magic of Seeds” Garden this Spring
Seed innovations will take center stage this spring during the 24th Annual EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, March 1- May 29, at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. More than 7 million guests from around the world will visit during this 90-day festival.
The 2017 festival will feature an American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) garden outside the popular Living with the Land Pavilion to tell the story of seeds and the importance of plant breeding. The display will feature kale from 100 years ago plus varieties available today. It also will show how plant breeding has led to the evolution of Dianthus flowers.
Signage by the garden, including story boards closely based on ASTA’s “Better Seed, Better Life” communications initiative, will bring to life the story of plant breeding in a very public way by the experienced storytellers of Disney’s Horticulture team. Language is still being finalized, but it will likely read something like:
“Throughout time, the tiny seed has played a pivotal role in feeding the world. Protecting a new plant inside its strong coat, a seed waits patiently for growing conditions. Early farmers chose their most successful plants and collected the best seed for future crops. Later, they learned to mix pollen between plants to select desirable traits. Modern breeders use technology at molecular levels to produce new and improved varieties. The food we eat, clothes we wear and fuel that powers our car all began with a seed planted in the ground. Today’s plant breeders create higher yield and variations in color, size, hardiness, taste, nutrition and disease resistance. Better seed = better life.”
Also as part of the Disney-ASTA partnership that was announced last Monday during the ASTA Vegetable & Flower Conference in Orlando, seed industry speakers will deliver a series of presentations during the festival’s opening week. Festival attendees will receive Tomatosphere seed packets with Better Seed, Better Life branding.
In addition, ASTA’s Communications Committee is planning promotions around the 2017 Flower & Garden Festival at EPCOT. Committee members will tour the gardens with festival director Eric Darden. Admittedly, I’m looking forward to “embarking a mouthwatering mission” while enjoying a wholesome smorgasbord provided by the World Showcase. Outdoor Kitchens, each offering a specialty menu of farm-to-table inspired foods, are exclusive to this festival. Two outdoor kitchens will debut in 2017. One of the most popular Outdoor Kitchen gardens, Urban Farm Eats, will return to inspire growing numbers of guests interested in learning how to raise their own edibles.
Join the fun! Even if you aren’t able to travel to Orlando, you can take your taste buds spring break with Disney-inspired recipes. Today we’re sharing a recipe for candied strawberries that were inspired by the Flower & Garden Festival. Also be sure to check out the new board “Disney Dishes” on Latham Seeds’ Pinterest Page where you’ll find recipes for everything from Queso Fundido – which looks fitting for any Super Bowl party – to comfort foods like Chicken Pot Pie Soup.
Beijing-Style Candied Strawberries - Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons corn syrup
Wash and dry strawberries. Set aside until ready for dipping.
Add sugar, water, corn syrup, and balsamic vinegar into a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Continue to cook over medium or medium high heat without stirring until a candy thermometer reads 300 degrees and the liquid is an amber color and reduced by slightly more than half, about 20 minutes (watch for boil overs!). Remove from heat and allow bubbles and foam to reduce, showing the liquid, about 2 minutes. If desired, add sesame seeds.
Working quickly, dip strawberries in the sugar mixture, allowing excess to run off the tip of the strawberry. Turn strawberry several times to ensure even coating and distribution of candy shell. Place on wax paper or lightly greased aluminum foil. Place strawberries in a freezer for 15 minutes so that the coating sets, then transfer to a covered container in the fridge for storage.
Serve directly from the fridge to prevent sweating and ensure the coating stays crunchy.