It is said in India that mangoes bring Eternal Life. I don’t know if that’s true, but I did stumble across a little piece of Heaven, tucked away in a West Palm Beach neighborhood. I was out exploring with Janet DeVries Naughton, trying to find what looked like some sort of grove from the Google maps aerial map, near Dreher Park. Up and down the streets we went…and came upon Camellia Road. I had read an article that this was where David Sturrock lived, one of the area’s early residents and horticultural expert on mangoes.
Sturrock, born in Scotland, came to Miami in 1913 at the age of 20. He began working in the horticultural field on the Deering Estate in Miami (today’s Vizcaya). Later he worked in Cuba at the Hershey Agricultural Station and was superintendant of the Harvard Botanical Gardens. He then settled in West Palm Beach with his four children. In the 1950s, he began his love affair with mangoes and developed many new varieties. Sturrock worked with colleague Edward Simmonds on some mango hybrids and the result was the Edward, still grown today. Sturrock struck gold with his next creation – the delectable Duncan mango, named for Ralph Duncan who had drawn maps for one of Sturrock’s books. I sampled this mango and I can attest that it is delicious, peachy, with no fiber or odd taste that many Florida mangoes can have. David Sturrock lived on his beloved farm to the fine age of 84, eating the beautiful fruits in all manner from fresh, to jams and chutney.
And that brings us to the slice of Heaven, or what I call The Land that Time Forgot – somehow, the Sturrock farm exists in the sprawling West Palm Beach, still selling the delectable mangoes. At this writing in July 2017, Palm Beach County is in the middle of mango season. The original Sturrock home still stands on the property, surrounded by mango trees in all stages of growth – babies not yet bearing, to giants with enormous trunks. It is all here, just as David Sturrock left it.
The farm, under the moniker Tropical Acres Farm, 1010 Camellia Road, is just south of Southern Boulevard on Parker Avenue. The farm is open daily during the short summer mango season. Find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TropicalAcresFarms and make sure they are open before you venture to the farm.
Check out my earlier blog on how mangoes came to Florida – The Mango and the Reverend
Source: The Palm Beach Post Archives