About

Litchi_chinensis ‘Mauritius’_lychee

About Us

Founded in 1955, the Rare Fruit Council International, Inc. (RFCI) is a non-profit organization that promotes the development and use of tropical fruits in South Florida. The RFCI is headquartered in Miami, Florida and has chartered several chapters and affiliate fruit clubs. Florida’s benign climate is conducive to growing many tropical fruits that cannot be successfully cultivated anywhere else in the continental United States. 

We also teach members and the general public methods of propagation and the cultural requirements of fruit trees. The Rare Fruit Council is indebted to its many worldwide members for donating seeds, scions, and plant materials to achieve this goal. At our monthly meetings we host a guest speaker, a plant swap, and a fruit-centric pot luck. We hope to see you at our next meeting.

Our Board Members

member
Matthew Snow, MD

President

When Matt isn’t busy practicing medicine, he enjoys spending time on his farm in Homestead, FL where he grows a wide variety of cultivars of tropical fruits, including mango, wax jambu, carambola, and avocado.

member
Maurice Kong

Director, previous President

Originally from Jamaica, Maurice joined the RFCI in 1993 (President in 1996), and introduced improved cultivars of mangoes and other tropical fruits collected from the Caribbean, Central America, the Pacific, and Southeast Asia.

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Efrain Santiago

Director, previous President

Efrain, a happily retired cabinet maker, has been a member since 1977, making him one of our longest running members. During the 1990s, Efrain acted as RFCI President (’91-’92) and was interviewed for a television spot about the council.

member
Steve McNally

Vice President

Before joining the RCFI in 2008, Steve acted as a Huey Helicopter Crew Chief in the US Army. A decorated combat veteran and avid tropical fruit grower, Steve currently works in as a sales and project manager for a commercial roofing company.

member
Laura Buksnaitis

Treasurer

Laura loves fruit, especially for breakfast. While berries are her morning favorite, her yard bestows a wide variety including loquat, mango, dragon fruit, longan, orange, and lime that she enjoys year round. Laura has been in accounting for 20 years, currently at a local University.

member
Erin Wilson

Media Chairman

Erin is plant mom. After moving to Miami in 2013, she discovered a whole new world of tropical plants and fruit. She boasts that she moved to Miami for “sunshine and coconuts,” but if her yard is any indication, it was for the mangoes. When not tending to her garden, Erin drives better business outcomes with leading SaaS applications.

member
Jason Wilson

Vice Media Chairman

Jason doesn’t do anything halfway, and that goes for fruit too. His yard is overflowing with trees, vines, even sweet potatoes and boasts over 30 kinds of edible flora. One can only imagine the mean morning smoothie you find at the Wilson household.

member
Ivan Torres Hidalgo-Gato, Esq.

Membership Chairman

Ivan is an attorney-at-law that practices Immigration and Nationality Law in Coral Gables, FL. He is fluent in  English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese and can get by in Papiamento and Haitian Creole. Ivan’s interest in the study of plants, languages and botanical names keeps him an excited member of the Rare Fruit Council.

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Gary Winston

Secretary

A learning lawyer/farmer, with the dream of a blooming vineyard.

 

 

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George Moser

Events Chairman

George has been growing exotic fruit trees from seeds and grafts for over 25 years. It’s been a rewarding hobby.

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Dr. Lee Resnick

Advertising & Public Relations

Dr. Lee Resnick is focused on research and development in the medical field. He has an interest in rare fruits, their merits and consumption as they relate to overall health and wellness. 

 

member
Lydia M. Cuni

Plant & Seed Committee

Lydia is a Miami-Dade native that holds a Masters in Environmental Studies. As a field botanist at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, she works to preserve South Florida’s rare and endangered plants.

 

member
Rosa Cuadrado

Hospitality

A long time active RFCI member and retired IT specialist, Rosa loves growing tropical fruit. Her and her family have a long history of farming fruit trees in Ecuador.

member
Mark M.

Program Chairman

As our program chairman, Mark does an excellent job scheduling our great speakers. If you have a special request for a topic, make sure to mention it to Mark during our next meeting.