Wednesday, July 1, 2015


One of the most anticipated Baja events is the Wine Harvest Festival or, as the locals would say, Fiestas de la Vendimia. 

Over two weeks of parties and dinners will bring local wines, great food and incredible entertainment to the Guadalupe Valley guests. 

For information on traveling to this region, call, toll free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA (2252)-411 or email
For more information about the event: Go to or visit the Provino offices in Ensenada, Av. 20 de Noviembre 1138-2, Zona Centro. 

Phone: Provino at +52 (646) 178-3038 or 178-2949. 



Friday August 2nd at 7:00 pm: Muestra del Vino (Wine Show). 

This activity includes wine tasting from over 40 nearby vineyards and regional dishes prepared by local restaurants. 

Where: Centro Social, Cívico y Cultural Riviera del Pacífico. Cost: $420 pesos. SOLD OUT.

Saturday August 3rd at 9:00 am: Visitas Enologicas. Bus tour of the Ensenada Wine region. This activity will take place each of the three Saturdays during the Vendimia festivities. Each excursion includes visiting three Vineyards and is guided by knowledgeable wine experts. Where: local vineyards. Organised by Provino AC.

Saturday August 3rd starting at 5:00 pm: Mar y Vino Concierto José Luis Rodríguez ¨El Puma¨ (Sea and Wine Concert with José Luis Rodríguez ¨El Puma¨). 

Concert and open air-dancing with José Luis Rodríguez ¨El Puma¨. 

Where: Estero Beach. 

Organised by L.A. Cetto and Estero Beach. Cost (in MX pesos: $ 1,800.00 VIP ESTERO, $ 1,500.00 L.A CETTO AREA, $ 950.00 SEA, $ 700.00 WINE, $ 500.00 COCKTAIL. Tickets: Estero Beach, Viajes y Kinessia and online. More info: (646) 176-6245 (MX).

Saturday August 3rd at 6:00 pm: Cena de Gala at Adobe Guadalupe. This evening activity includes a reception, a five course dinner by guest chef Eduardo García from Máximo Bistrot in México City and a special edition wine auction.

Organised by: Adobe Guadalupe. Cost: $150 USD. Tickets: Adobe Guadalupe. More info: (646) 155-2094 (MX).

Saturday August 3rd at 6:00 pm: Vino y Música en Las Nubes (Wine and Music in the Clouds). Gourmet dinner by renowned chef Javier Plascencia and Las Nubes wines. Jazz and blues tunes will accompany the meal.

 Where: Viñedo Las Nubes

Cost: $1300 pesos. 

Tickets: Vineyard and Provino. 

More info: (646) 156-8037, (646) 176-8120 or (646) 176-9766 (MX).

Saturday August 3rd at 7:00 pm: Concierto del Crepúsculo (Twilight Concert).

2CELLOS‘ Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser will be delighting audiences with their cellos. 

This is what Elton John had to say about the duo, “…Go and see them live, because it really is astonishing! I can’t remember seeing anything as exciting as them since I saw Jimi Hendrix live back in the 60’s…”

Where: Monte Xanic

For tickets call (646) 174-6155 

 Cost: $115 – $170 USD.

Sunday August 4th at 1:30 pm: Comida Campestre (Picnic). 
Traditional picnic in the woods. 
Live music by the group Chokolate. 

Where: Viña de Liceaga

 Organised by: Viña de Liceaga. 

Cost: $350 pesos. 

Tickets: Vineyard and Provino. More info: (646) 178-2922 or email

Sunday August, 4th at 7:00 pm: Una Noche en Casa de Piedra – One night at Casa de Piedra. Where: Casa de Piedra. Organised by: Casa de Piedra. Cost: by invitation only. More info:

Tuesday August 6th at 6:30 pm: Muestra del Vino en Tijuana (Wine Show in Tijuana). Organized by the Cofradía del Noble Vino de Tijuana Where: CECUT. Organised by: CECUT. More info: (664) 686 -4986 (MX). Cost: $500 pesos.

Wednesday August 7th at 7:00 pm: Cena Maridaje con Vinícola la Trinidad. 

Wine pairing dinner in four courses with Guest Chef Daniel Ovadia from Paxia Restaurant.

 Where: Restaurante Laja, Carretera Ensenada Tecate, Km. 83, Valle De Guadalupe.

 Organised by: Vinicola La Trinidad. 

Cost: $1,350.00 pesos. 

Tickets: Vineyard. More info: (646) 947-6161 (MX).

Thursday August 8th from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm: 6ta. Fiesta Callejera: Eventos multidisciplinario – 6th Street Fest: A Multidisciplinary Event. 

As part of the 23rd Harvest Festival, in collaboration with AC ProVino and the Association of California Winemakers (Asociación de Vitivinicultores de Baja California), the activity includes live music, performances, clowns, cabaret theater, visual arts, graffiti, art intervention, skate, dance and electro breakdance and other city art expressions.

 Where: Plaza de las Artes, Plaza Norte and Terraza CEARTE’S Terrace. 

Cost: Free. More Info: (646) 173-4307 (MX). Organised by: ICBC and CEARTE

Thursday August 8th at 6:00 pm: Expresiones Gastronomicas de Baja California (Baja California Gastronomic Expression). 

Sunset and evening with live music at Hacienda Guadalupe. Sample dishes made with local ingredients. Wine pairing with D’Poncelis Melchum wines. 

Where: Hacienda Guadalupe. 

Organised by: D´Poncelis and Hacienda Guadalupe. Cost: $1,200 MX. Tickets: Hacienda Gpe., Provino, online. More info: Tel +52 (646) 155 28 59 y 175 20 75 or

Friday August 9th at 4:30 pm: Día sagrado. Wine pairing dinner with chefs Mikel Alonso, Gerard Bellver and Jair Téllez. Singular 2011 wine. Entertainment by: Helena Rousillo- Perret. 

Where: Hacienda la Lomita. Organised by: Hacienda La Lomita. Cost: $2,000 pesos. More info: (646) 156-8459 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm or email SOLD OUT

Saturday August 9th at 5:30 pm: Jazz en el Mogor. Sunset Jazz concert with regional delights. Where: Vinícola Cavas del Mogor. Organised by: Cavas del Mogor. Cost: $700 pesos. Tickets: Viajes RCV. More info: (646) 178-3136 or email

Friday August 9th at 7:00 pm: Al Son de Vinisterra. Wine pairing dinner with Sano- Hussong of Sanos Steak House and Cuban music show with Adonis Puentes. 

Where: Vinícola Vinisterra. 

Oragnised by: Vinicola Vinisterra. 

Cost: $1,300.00 pesos. 

More Info: (646) 178-3350 (MX) or email

Friday August 9th at 8:00 pm: Cena Pausada y Memorable (Slow-paced and Memorable Dinner). By invitation only. Hedonistic experience with Pijoan wines and the sensuous cuisine of 4 well renowned chefs, Guillermo Barreto, Tania Livier (Sarmiento – Ensenada); Nicole Pederson (Found – Chicago); Angel Vázquez (Intro – Puebla). Where: Restaurante Sarmiento; Plaza Viento Km 104 Carretera Tijuana – Ensenada. Organised by: Viñas Pijoan. For information email , , or or call (646) 210-1695 or (646) 117-3970 (MX).

Saturday August 10th at 9:00 am: Visitas enológicas 2. Bus tour of the Ensenada Wine region. This activity will take place each of the three Saturdays during the Vendimia festivities. Each excursion includes visiting three Vineyards and is guided by knowledgeable wine experts. Where: local vineyards. Organised by Provino AC. Cost: $400 pesos. Tickets: Online and at Provino. More info: (646) 178-3038 and (646) 178-2949 (MX).

Saturday August 10th at 10:00 am: Pokar-Run. A bicycle race coordinated by the Asociación de Ciclismo de Tijuana. Where: Viñedos Bibayoff. Organised by: Bibayoff y Asociación de Ciclismo de Tijuana. Cost: $150 peosos.

Saturday August 10th at 2:00 pm: La Verbena de Santo Tomás. Traditional Verbena (street party) with a wide range of food, crafts and music. Where: Bodegas de Santo Tomás. Organised by: Bodegas de Santo Tomas. Cost: Free.

Saturday August 10th at 4:30 pm: Día Sagrado. Wine pairing dinner with chefs Mikel Alonso, Gerard Bellver and Jair Téllez. Singular 2011 wine. 

Enteratinment by: Helena Rousillo- Perret. 

Cost: $2,000 pesos. 

More info: (646) 156-8459 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm or email SOLD OUT

Saturday August 10th at 5:00 pm: En Armonía con Emevé. Wine pairing dinner in 4 courses, with regional food and Emevé wines. 

Entertainment by the group “Blue Sound Live”. 

Regional products exhibit as well as art and sculpture, Nuria Benítez/Aida Valencia. 

Where: Viñedos Emevé

Organised by: Vinedos Emeve. 

Cost: $1,300 pesos. 

Tickets: Provino and online. 

More info: (664) 634-1080 (MX) or email

Saturday August 10th at 6:00 pm: Vinalia Rústica 2013. Enjoy evening with wine from Viñedo Lafarga and Vitivinícola Tres Valles. Live music. 

Where: Vitivinícola Tres Valles, San Antonio de las Minas. 

Organised by: Viñedos Lafarga y Vitivinícola Tres Valles. Cost: $750 pesos. Tickets: Tres Valles, Lafarga . More info: (646) 178-8052 (MX) or email

Saturday August 10th at 8:00 pm: Puesta de Sol (Sunset). 

Enjoy a magnificent sunset by the sea and 6 Pijoan wines and 24 “tapas” prepared by 4 renowned chefs. 

Guillermo Barreto, Tania Livier (Sarmiento – Ensenada); Nicole Pederson (Found – Chicago); Angel Vázquez (Intro – Puebla). 

Where: Restaurante Sarmiento; Plaza Viento Km 104 Carretera Tijuana – Ensenada. 

Organised by: Vinas Pijoan. 

Cost: $1,100 pesos. 

For more information email , or call (646) 210-1695 or (646) 117-3970 (MX).

Saturday August 10th (time TBD): Paralelo solo para ti (Paralelo just for you). Wine tasting and dinner. Where: Vinícola Paralelo. Organised by: Vinícola Paralelo. By invitation only. More info:

Sunday August 11th (Time TBD): Ingrediente Guadalupe en Laja. Traditional dinner prepared with local, organic products. 

The new Moebius wine will be served under the big oak trees at Laja Restaurant.

 Where: Restaurante Laja. 

Organised by: Vinos Moebius. Cost: $82o pesos. Tickets: Online and Provino. 

More info: (646) 174-6442 (MX)

Sunday August 11th from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm: Inauguracion. Finca La Carrodilla Vinery presents a special evening in honor of the Finca La Carrodilla Project with a delicious traditional dinner. Music by Helena Rousillo-Perret. Where: Finca La Carrodilla. Organised by: Finca La Carrodilla. By invitation only.

Sunday August 11th at 6:00 pm:
“Noche Gitana” Suerte, Amor y Vino (Gypsy Night, Fate, Love and Wine). Entertainment by the group Innuendo and dinner with chef Cesar Dario of Nigori. 

Where: Viña de Liceaga

Organised by: Viña de Liceaga. 

Cost: $800 pesos. 

Tickets: Vinicola y Provino. 

More info: (646) 178-2922 or email

Tuesday August 13th at 6:00 pm: Noche de Cofradia. 

This activity includes a wine pairing dinner with 34 vineyards and 34 restaurants participating from Ensenada, Tijuana, Mexicali and San Diego. 

There will also be live music and a tug boat show in the harbor area. 

Where: Recinto Portuario en la Terminal de cruceros. 

Organised by: Cofradia del vino de Ensenada. Cost: $900. 

Tickets: (646) 173-4500 ext 400 and 401 (MX). More info: (646) 173-4500 ext 400 and 401 (Claudia) or call (646) 174-6544 (Carmen Molina).

Thursday August 15th at 4:00 pm: Fiesta en el Valle. Free event offering wine tasting, food and art by local artisans. 

Where: Parque del Porvenir, Valle de Guadalupe. 

Organised by: Comité Provino. 

Cost: Free. More info: (646) 178-3038 and (646) 178-2949 (MX).

Thursday August 15th at 6:00 pm: Cena Maridaje, Presentación de Nuevas Etiquetas y Añadas (Wine Pairing dinner, Introduction of the new Wines). With guest chef Drew Deckman and Juan Antonio Hussong. Entertainment by Décima Musa. Where: Vinícola Viñas de Garza. Cost: $180 USD. SOLD OUT.

Thursday August 15th at 6:30 pm: Velada en Casa Torres Alegre “30 Años Elaborando Vinos Mexicanos” (Soiree at Casa Torres Alegre “30 years producing Mexican wines”). Violin and piano concert, dinner. 

Organised by: Vinicola Torres Alegre y Familia. 

Cost: $1,400 pesos. 

Tickets: Vineyard and Provino.

 More info: (646) 176-3345 and (646) 151-0666 (MX) or email or

Thursday August 15th at 7:00 pm: Del Huerto y el Viñedo a tu Mesa (From the Garden and the Vineyard to your Table). Signature cuisine dinner surrounded by the vineyards with Norte 32 and G Salinas wines. Where: Finca Altozano, Valle de Gpe. Organised by: Norte 32, G Salinas Vitivinicultores and Javier Plascencia. Cost: $1,800 pesos. Tickets: Finca Altozano, Casa Plascencia and at Provino. More info: (664) 225-9309 or email

Friday August 16th at 7:00 pm: Fiestas de la Vendimia en Mexicali, Noche de Cabaret, XVII Muestra del Vino (Wine Harvest Festival in Mexicali, Cabaret, 17th Annual Wine Show). The real wine festival in Mexicali. 

Open tasting of Baja California newly released wines, under the guidance of the members of the Cofradía del Vino de Mexicali. 

Live music and an excellent environment, snack bar. 

Where: Salón FSTSE. 

Organised by: Cofradía del vino de Mexicali.

 Cost: $600 pesos. 

Tickets: La Ribó Wine Shop. 

More info: (686) 566-79-14 (MX) or email yolanda@laribó.com or visit

Friday August 16th at 7:30 pm: Noche Pagana. Big celebration for the closing of the harvests, Hacienda la Lomita style, with music, food and much more. Artist Said Fierro. Where: Hacienda la Lomita. Organised by: Hacienda La Lomita. Cost: $950 pesos. Tickets: Online and at the Vineyard. More info: (646)156-8459 from 9:00 am tp 3:00 pm or email

Friday August 16th at 7:30 pm: 30 años de Valmar. Mouline Rouge style music and French dinner paired with house wines.

 Where: Cavas Valmar. 

Organised by: Cavas Valmar. 

Cost: $1,500 pesos. 

Tickets: Vineyard. 

More info: (646) 178-6405 or

Saturday August 17th at 9:00 am: Visitas enológicas 3. Bus tour of the Ensenada Wine region. 

This activity will take place each of the three Saturdays during the Vendimia festivities. 

Each excursion includes visiting three Vineyards and is guided by knowledgeable wine experts. 

Where: local vineyards. Organized by Provino AC. Cost: $400 pesos. 

Tickets: Online and Provino. 

More info: (646) 178-3038 and (646) 178-2949 (MX).

Saturday August 17th at 5:00 pm: Cena en la Antigua Ruta del Vino (Dinner on the Old Wine Route). This activities includes a superb dinner and wine in the vineyard’s gardens. Guests will be able to sample regional dishes, including wines from the two participating vineyards. 

Where: Viñedos Aldo Cesar Palafox. 

Organised by: Viñedos Aldo Cesar Palafox and MD Vinos. 

Cost: $120 USD per couple. 

Tickets: Vinos Palafox Office. 

More info: (646) 178-1590 (MX) or email or or

Saturday August 17th at 6:00 pm: Fiesta de la Vendimia Vena Cava.

 Cocktail and wine pairing dinner created by Mexican chefs Enrique Olvera of Pujol Restaurant, Guillermo González Beristain of Pangea Restaurant and Diego Hernández Baqueano of Corazón de Tierra. 

Where: Vinícola Vena Cava – Hotel la Villa del Valle

Organised by: Vinícola Vena Cava. 

Cost: $175 USD. Tickets: Vineyard. More info: (646) 156-8007 (MX).

Saturday August 17th at 6:00 pm: Atardecer Romántico (Romantic Sunset). Romantic music concert with performances by Carlos Cuevas, the king of bolero and Macedonia, the Queen of interpretation. 

Taking place at sunset in the unique context of the Chateau Camou Vineyard. Accompanied by delicious appetizers and house wines. 

Where: Chateau Camou . 

Organised by: Chateau Camou. 

Cost: $1,650 pesos. 

Tickets: Chateau Camou and Viajes Kinessia.

Sunday August 18th at 12:00 pm: Concurso de Paellas Ramón García Ocejo. The conclusion of the harvest festival. This activity will bring together more than 40 wine types and 80 teams that compete to offer the best paella. Family atmosphere, music, gastronomy and the best wines of Baja California. 

Where: Viñas de Liceaga. Organised by: Comité Provino. 

Cost: $500 pesos. 

More info: (646) 178-3038 and (646) 178-2949 (MX). SOLD OUT.

The official date for this event has been announced. The Wine Harvest Festival – Fiestas de la Vendimia will take place August 2nd through August 18th, 2013.

 However, events’ dates and details are subject to sudden change and cancellation. 

Please confirm with the event organizer before booking your trip.

For help with your travel planning please do not hesitate to call, toll free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA (2252)-411 or email to reach one of our expert travel agents.

US flag to fly over Havana again, but that won't end America's Cuba debate


Cuba is one of a number of key foreign-policy issues in which President Obama has sought to get beyond what he has seen as mistaken policies of the past. The approach has been vaunted by some, vilified by others.

JULY 1, 2015

Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

WASHINGTON — The United States and Cuba may have agreed Wednesday to open embassies in each other’s capital for the first time in half a century, but that doesn’t mean it will be all salsa music and humdrum diplomacy between the two longtime adversaries anytime soon.

President Obama emphasized that “very serious differences” remain between the two neighboring countries, particularly on human rights and democracy, as he announced a long-awaited accord between the two governments Wednesday. 

The agreement will allow each country’s existing diplomatic offices in Washington and Havana to reopen as full-fledged embassies as of July 20.

“I believe that American engagement – through our embassy, our businesses, and most of all, through our people – is the best way to advance our interests and support for democracy and human rights,” Mr. Obama said Wednesday in a Rose Garden speech.

Cuba is one of a number of key foreign-policy issues – Iran and Iraq also come to mind – in which Obama has sought to get beyond what he has seen as mistaken policies of the past.

 Such a foreign policy emphasizes trying diplomacy where, to the president’s thinking, isolation and unilateral action have not worked. And in each instance, whether Cuba or Iran, it is still being hotly debated, with some vaunting and others vilifying the approach.

That debate promises to figure prominently in the 2016 presidential election, and the emotional topic of Cuba is sure to stand out.

On Wednesday, several Republican presidential hopefuls – most notably two from Florida, with its politically crucial Cuban-American population – were quick to blast the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba as a gift to a repressive regime.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said diplomatic ties “will legitimize repression in Cuba, not promote the cause of freedom and democracy.”

Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio criticized the Obama administration for being so eager to open an embassy in Havana that it has “continued to look the other way and offer concession after concession” as the Cuban government “has stepped up its repression of the Cuban people.”

Insisting the US got nothing from the Cubans in the six months of negotiations since Obama announced his intention to renew diplomatic relations, Senator Rubio said, “It is time for our unilateral concessions to this odious regime to end.”

That theme of the US giving up much to an adversary for little or nothing in return can also be heard in reference to Iran and the negotiations to limit its nuclear program.

Most Democrats, on the other hand, hailed the reopening of the Havana and Washington embassies by echoing Obama’s foreign-policy conviction that America’s isolation of adversaries does little to resolve differences with them – while causing problems with allies who oppose unilateral steps like the 50-year-old US trade embargo on Cuba.

“Embargo and isolation failed to bring fundamental change to Cuba and have instead become a source of friction between the United States and our partners in the Western Hemisphere and across the globe,” said Sen. Christopher Murphy (D) of Connecticut in a statement.

Preserving America’s global stature, Senator Murphy added, “depends on strong diplomatic relationships and a willingness to learn from both our successes and our ... missteps in particular – from the failed isolation of Cuba to the disastrous occupation of Iraq.”

What Congress is expected to do

Even as the political debate over Cuba continues, the Republican-controlled Congress is expected to try to thwart Obama’s opening to Cuba as best it can – largely through its control of government purse strings.

Congress can’t stop the reestablishing of full diplomatic ties with Cuba. On Wednesday, in fact, Secretary of State John Kerry said he will travel to Havana “later this summer” to mark both “the raising of the Stars and Stripes” over the embassy and “the beginning of a new era of a new relationship with the Cuban people.”

It will be the first time since 1945 that a secretary of State has visited Havana, Mr. Kerry noted.

Still, Congress can continue to place roadblocks on the way to a deeper US diplomatic presence in Cuba.

A number of funding bills for US government departments have been amended in the House to limit any expansion of operations in Cuba. 

Most critically, State Department funding for US diplomats operating in Cuba has been frozen – even though the State Department won Havana’s OK to boost the number of US diplomats in Cuba as part of the transition to a full-fledged embassy.

“It would be a shame if Congress impeded implementation of some of the very things we all agree we want to do,” says a senior State Department official, referring to the ability to “reach out all over the island” with a beefed-up embassy staff.

The US also won the right to add additional agencies to the US diplomatic presence in Cuba – in particular law enforcement agencies – that were not allowed in the existing US Interests Section in Havana. 

A law enforcement presence will allow the US to directly address the issue of fugitives from US justice in Cuba, the State Department says.

“I would assume most on the Hill would agree those are good things to do,” adds the senior official, who spoke with reporters on the condition of anonymity.

Americans’ views about the moves

While the political debate over Cuba may continue unabated, administration officials can proceed with expanding the US presence in Cuba knowing that most Americans appear to agree that’s “a good thing to do.”

A number of recent polls indicate that a majority of Americans across the political spectrum support Obama’s renewing of ties with Cuba.

A Chicago Council on Global Affairs poll released Wednesday found that a majority of Americans believe the renewed relations with Cuba will be beneficial to both countries. 

In particular, varying majorities believe the US opening to Cuba will boost Cubans’ prosperity, boost the US image in the world, and help improve human rights and political freedoms in Cuba.

And a solid two thirds of Americans support ending the US trade embargo on Cuba, according to the Chicago poll – something only Congress can do.


From Bonita to Cape Coral, where to celebrate the 4th

Tamara Pigott 
Special to The News-Press

2:39 p.m. EDT July 1, 2015

(Photo: news-press file photo)

July 4 is right around the corner and Lee County has a full schedule of parades and fireworks throughout the area to commemorate Independence Day. 

So get out this weekend and have some fun as we celebrate with old-fashioned hometown parades, spectacular fireworks and much more. Have a fun, safe time as you enjoy the holiday.

Kick off the holiday July 3 in Estero

The festivities begin on Friday night when Miromar Outlets in Estero gets a jump on the holiday with its “Have a Blast” Independence Eve fireworks. In its 16th year, the lakeside event includes live music, kids activities and entertainment with fireworks at dusk. It’s a great family event and you might want to arrive early to find the perfect place to catch the fireworks.

Bonita Springs

Star Spangled Bonita begins its July 4 celebration at 9 a.m. with a parade on Old 41. At 4 p.m., a party in Riverside Park includes food, fun and entertainment, bed races and more. The celebration ends with fireworks and a laser light show at dusk.

Sanibel Island

At 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sanibel Island’s 25th annual July 4th parade begins at the corner of Tarpon Bay Road and Periwinkle Way and will travel down Periwinkle Way to Casa Ybel Road. The theme this year is “For The Fun Of It.” It’s the perfect theme because that’s just what it is — a lot of family fun. As always, parade participants go all out decorating their parade floats and tossing trinkets while spectators line the road cheering them on. Hang around that evening and catch the fireworks at dusk that will be launched from Bailey Road on the Bay side.

Fort Myers Beach

The annual 4th of July Parade on Fort Myers Beach begins at 10 a.m. and runs along Estero Boulevard, between School Street and the Time Square area. Note that the Matanzas Pass bridge will be closed from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Then, 15 minutes after sunset, the fireworks show blasts off from the Fort Myers Beach fishing pier.

Downtown Fort Myers

Freedom Fest 2015 begins at noon on Saturday in the historic river district. The event includes four stages with live music and entertainment, a classic car show, free kids zone with bounce houses and slip & slide, first responder demonstrations, raffles, vendors. The annual fireworks on the river begin at 9:30 p.m.

Cape Coral

Red, White and Boom is the theme of Cape Coral’s annual July 4th celebration. The fun begins at 5 p.m. with activities and entertainment including a Bon Jovi tribute and a performance by Chase Rice. The evening culminates with 9:30 fireworks from theCape Coral Bridge.

Tamara Pigott is the executive director of The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB), the lead marketing agency charged with bringing worldwide visitors to Lee County. Almost five million visitors spend nearly $3 billion annually. The VCB is funded exclusively by a 5 percent tourist tax and works to preserve and protect area beaches and the environment.

Save the date

You don’t want to miss Mango Mania on July 18-19. 

The mango is the star attraction where you can sample locally-grown delicacies at this annual, unusual celebration of all the tropical fruit grown on the island. Fruit, exotic fruit trees, and fruit-related products are available for purchase. 

In addition to mango food and beverages, the event features live music, art and craft vendors, food and recipe contests, activities area for kids and a chance to meet the Mango Queen. 

Check it out at the German-American Social Club on Pine Island Road in Cape Coral.

At Boston’s Fenway Park, a different Green Monster


With the opening of a vegetable garden on the roof of the oldest baseball park in the United States, the Boston Red Sox became the latest Major League Baseball team to feature more green than just a perfectly manicured field.

By Shontee Pant, Staff writer 

JUNE 30, 2015

Shontee Pant/The Christian Science Monitor

A vibrant vegetable garden is growing atop the roof of the oldest baseball park in the United States. When Fenway Park opened Fenway Farms this spring, the Boston Red Sox became the latest Major League Baseball team to feature more green than just a perfectly manicured field.

Patches of produce now sprout up across the nation at the stadiums of the San Francisco Giants, the Colorado Rockies, and the San Diego Padres. Fenway Farms, which officially kicked off on Red Sox opening day, is currently the largest major league garden with 5,000 square feet of growing space. 

Located atop the managing offices of the Red Sox, the all-organic garden was the idea of Linda Pizzuti Henry, wife of Red Sox owner John Henry. The increasingly sophisticated palate of Americans, in part, prompted the interest in growing vegetables. 

Baseball concessions have gradually welcomed new fare, such as Shake Shack burgers in Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., and steak sandwiches at Yankee Stadium in New York. Ballpark staples like Cracker Jack and Fenway Franks have, over the years, been joined by fruit smoothies and sushi rolls. Now Red Sox Nation will be able to eat fresh vegetables grown on site.

22 summer salads

Fenway Farms, using a milk crate container system, is set to produce 4,000 pounds of veggies and fruits annually. 

Chris Knight, Red Sox manager of facility planning and services, hopes that the farm’s “success here will show what is possible” and encourage Red Sox fans to sport their own green thumbs at home.

The vegetables will be used in food served at Fenway, including in the park’s private clubs. 

While the chefs have found it challenging to incorporate the available produce, “they look forward to [it],” says Mr. Knight. 

He adds that the farm is working on an educational-science program for Boston city youth scheduled to start in the fall.

Fairchild’s Mango Festival features mangoes of Jamaica

Dr. Noris Ledesma, Fairchild’s curator of tropical fruit, holds a basket of mangos at the 2013 mango festival.
© 2013 George Leposky

The mangoes of Jamaica take center stage this year at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s 23rd annual International Mango Festival on Saturday and Sunday, July 11th and 12th, 2015.

Each year, mangoes from a different country where this pan-tropical fruit grows are featured at the festival.

 Jamaica’s mangoes are a worthy choice for such attention because “it is part of their culture, and they take it for granted,” says Noris Ledesma, Ph.D., Fairchild’s curator of tropical fruit.

“In Jamaica, mangoes are consumed mainly as fresh fruit. A 10-year-old child picks a mango fruit on his way to school for a snack. Every backyard has at least one mango tree; of course, it’s their favorite mango! Many urban and suburban households produce significant amounts of mangos because it is traditional to plant fruit trees around the home, and mangoes are one of the most popular options.

“Mangoes are eaten fresh but are also used for cooking as a paste, for juice, and to make jellies or smoothies. The green or immature fruits are excellent for cooking in a sauce or curry.

“In the last decade, there has been an increased use of mangos as ingredients in cooking and in refrigerated products (ice cream, shakes, and smoothies), in cosmetics, canning, bottling, jelly, and candy.”

Writing the book

Ledesma is intimately familiar with the mangos of Jamaica. 

Two years ago she wrote the chapter on Jamaican mangos for a mango encyclopedia. “Mangos tell the history of Jamaica from the time when ‘the king of fruit’ was introduced to the island,” she says.

One vignette from that history especially captured her fancy. 

“French sailors were navigating to the Caribbean, escaping from British enemies,” she recounts.

 “They grew mango trees in containers on the ship’s deck. They got caught by the British, who transferred the trees to their ship. Only one of 11 mango trees survived. The British ship raised sails for Jamaica, where the ‘Number 11’ mango was planted. It continues to grow to this day. The French were entrusted to Davy Jones’ locker.”

Varieties of mango trees popular in Jamaica, which will be on sale at the festival, include:

-- Julie, with juicy saffron yellow flesh, no fiber, and the strong flavor of cloves and tropical spice with a caramel and pineapple sweetness. Some argue it has the finest flavor in the world, Ledesma says.

-- East Indian, with deep orange flesh that is firm and juicy, coarse fiber throughout, and a rich, spicy flavor with aromas of vanilla and peach. This is the most popular fruit on the island.

-- Bombay, with soft, juicy orange flesh, little fiber, and a flavor rich in aspects of spiced fruit and peach with a powerful floral aroma.

-- Blackie, with considerable fiber and a rich, sweet, spicy flavor like sugar cane.

Among other varieties of mangos grown on the island are Stringy, Kidney, and Sweetie Com Brush Mi.

Jamaica mango quest

If you’re going to Jamaica and want to find mangos, Ledesma advises that 90 percent of the fruit grows in the island’s dry south and southwest regions: Saint Elizabeth, Yallahs, Mandeville, Kingston, Saint Thomas, Clarendon Parishes, and Hodges.

 However, she says, mangoes also can be found throughout the entire island, especially in the northern mountainous areas at elevations above 300 meters (984 feet) along roads, in backyards, and on abandoned farms.

“Jamaica can produce mangos almost year-round. Mango production peaks during April to June in most parishes, except in St. Thomas. Several cultivars, i.e. Julie, Bombay, and East Indian, have their highest production in the parishes of Kingston, St. Andrew, and St. Thomas.

“There are around 500 hectares in production in Jamaica. Most of the commercial mango orchards are five hectares (12.35 acres), although there are many smaller farms throughout the island.”

Although the West Indian fruit fly has severely limited the mango export trade from Jamaica and other Caribbean nations, Jamaica does export a modest quantity of fresh mangoes to Europe, Bermuda, Canada, and the U.S. (including south Florida), but you have to look for them in specialty markets.

Festival highlights

At the Fairchild mango festival, Ledesma and Richard J. Campbell, Ph.D., Fairchild’s director of horticulture and senior curator of tropical fruit, are among the speakers who will discuss various aspects of mango cultivation and care in Jamaica and throughout the world.

Other highlights of the festival schedule include

-- Cooking demonstrations featuring mango dishes prepared by celebrated local chefs.

-- Hands-on seed dissection for children.

-- A pruning workshop.

-- A Saturday morning sampling of mango dishes from some of Miami’s top chefs.

-- Tasting of multiple varieties of mangos.

-- The annual Sunday mango brunch that raises funds for the garden’s Tropical Fruit Program and Fairchild Farm.

-- Yoga classes for adults and children.

-- An international fruit market with multiple varieties of mangos for sale.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is located at 10901 Old Cutler Road in Coral Gables.