Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival makes healthy changes

Florida Fresh Marketplace features ingredients produced locally

By Julie Broughton - Anchor

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - If you're heading out to Epcot's International Flower and Garden Festival, you'll notice some healthy changes this year. Disney debuted 11 garden marketplaces, including the Florida Fresh Marketplace.

According to Epcot's Executive Chef Jefs Dahlmann, the Florida Fresh menu features ingredients produced locally. Watermelon salad and shrimp and grits are two of the most popular items.

"For me, it's not hard, it's the right thing to do. If you source your products locally, they're cheaper, in season and taste better. That's what it's all about."

You can try barbeque or briskett from the smokehouse. Another new item you'll find in Japan is "frushi," or fruit sushi. That's part of Disney's "Try It" campaign, which encourages little ones to do just that.

"If your kids are ones that really like packaged and processed foods, bring them here, let them try our potato pancakes, fruit sushi and watermelon salad. It's really about flavors," said Dahlmann.

Also new for the little ones this year, expanded play areas where you can rest between courses then learn how to grow your own Florida Fresh food.

"You can touch. You see it. You can smell it. You can eat it," he said.

This is the first year all the topiaries are illuminated at night. The festival runs through May 19.

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