Samantha Harris is getting the VIP treatment at the Daystar Life Center in St. Petersburg, visiting their city garden to check out their collard greens.

What You Need To Know

  • Tampa Bay Collard Green Festival set for Saturday

  • It was a friendly cookoff, but it soon morphed into something much larger

  • Saturday's event will be at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum

  • More On the Town with Virginia Johnson

It’s kind of her thing - she’s the co-founder of this weekend’s Tampa Bay Collard Green Festival.

Part of our mission is to inspire healthier communities through urban agriculture, culinary experience, nutrition, fitness and family fun,” she explained. “So this fits right into what we do at the festival.”

Of course they’ll be lots of cooking at the festival, slated for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feburary 19 at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum.

Festival co-founder Boyzell Hosey is in the center’s teaching kitchen, working on “top to bottom 1-hour-greens.”

Traditionally, they can up to three hours.

“And most people didn't believe me when I said, ‘I'm getting pretty good at making collard greens in an electric pressure cooker.’ And that's how it all kind of started from there,” Hosy said, explaining the festival’s origins.

It was a friendly cookoff, but it soon morphed into something much larger - a look at healthy eating options for this traditional African American food.

Hosey uses turkey instead pork, and he uses olive oil infused with heat.

“I have a secret sriracha blend,” he explains, drizzling it on shredded greens.

The importance of the green cannot be overstated. As a local Chef, Melly Gardner grew up on her grandmother’s and mother’s greens.

Now she cooks cuisine from the world over, but she still she carries the importance of collard greens in the black community.

“It signifies you know – something in our history,” Gardner said. “We know that’s what we started on – we know that’s what we are going to finish on.”

And when Hosey’s greens are finished…it brings him back.

“It does conjure memories for me, especially growing up, you know, eating collard greens, my mother making collard greens, going to the garden, harvesting the greens and making a pot," said Hosey. "Bon appetit!”