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Posts Tagged ‘Redland Organics’

Here’s a look back, the first of a series, of Bee Heaven Farm/Redland Organics at Pinecrest Farmers Market this winter. Their last day was April 28th, 2013, and now the market season is over for them until fall. Farmer Margie, husband Nick, and their hard working crew will be back in December. Until then, enjoy happy memories of mornings at market browsing for ridiculously fresh local fruits and veggies. The following pictures were taken on December 2, 2012.

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Farmer Margie weighs tomatoes.

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Nick (with straw hat) helping a customer.

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Nicole holding sugar cane.

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Red lettuce looks airbrushed.

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Nose-y eggplants.

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Finally on Facebook

Redland Rambles finally has a fan page on Facebook! Check it out here or use the link in the right hand column. BTW there’s a very similar page called Redland Ramble (without the “s”). It’s not mine.

This blog will continue with its three degrees of writing about: 1) Bee Heaven Farm, 2) various organic growers which interact with Bee Heaven (such as members of Redland Organics), and 3) CSA members, chefs, customers and other friends of Bee Heaven, and any local issues that impact these Redland growers and friends. That’s plenty right there!

The Facebook page is for all friends of the blog, and for me to go on tangents about farm and local food issues that wouldn’t otherwise belong on RedlandRambles.com. See you on Facebook!

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Dr. Marvin Dunn surveys the Roots in the City garden and market.

The Roots in the City Farmers Market in Overtown opened on Wednesday Dec. 8th for its second season. You may remember that it ran for a couple months, March and April, earlier this year. Now it’s back at the same corner of NW 10 St. and 2 Ave. in Miami, and it’s grown a bit bigger with two new vendors, Gardens of TROY and Nature Boyz. The same growers from the first time are there also — RITC Gardens, Teena’s Pride, Redland Organics and Hani’s Mediterranean Organics.

The first day of the season called for Grand Opening festivities and VIPs. It wasn’t as crazy a party as last spring, but all the important people were there — chef Michael Schwartz, chef Michel Nischan, a PBS video crew, Farmer Margie and her intern Liberty, students from nearby Phyllis Wheatley Elementary, Dr. Marvin Dunn, Teena and Michael, an assortment of foodies and neighborhood shoppers, and most of the food bloggers in town.

Market co-founder and chef Michael Schwartz  brought his food cart, and his crew dished out grilled rosemary chicken garden vegetable chopped salad, which was quickly devoured. The recipe was created by a student from Phyllis Wheatley Elementary, where chef Michael recently visited, as part of the new Chefs Move to Schools program.Schwartz’s market partner, chef Michel Nischan, loped up and down the row of tents, stopping to greet growers and shoppers. Michel’s foundation, Wholesome Wave, donated matching funds to use with SNAP aka food stamps, good for up to $20 per person per day. Last season, a large number of people used the matching funds tokens to supplement their shopping.Chef Michel Nischon (plaid shirt) is trailed by producer Jon Crane and his crew, while farmer Margie Pikarsky looks on.

Michel was trailed by a PBS crew shooting a segment about him for the AARP show “My Generation.” He was speaking passionately about food and urban farming with producer Jon Crane. “You can be poor but still grow food and be sustainable. Brooklyn had gardens and chickens years ago. There are so many great stories in this community,” he said, looking around. “Food gives a person a sense of place, self esteem and security, and it reaches across all socio-economic strata. All differences melt away with good local food.”

Chef Michael Schwartz chats with Ben Thacker, Jepson Jean-Pierre and Antonio Moss from TROY Academy, while Alexandra Rangel videotapes.

Michael Schwartz stopped by to chat with two TROY Community Academy students and Ben Thacker, their gardening program director. Some of the things for sale at their tent were callaloo, carrots, passion fruit, aloe plants, and garlic chives. “Each kid has his own garden,” Ben said, “and they get to keep the money from selling their crops. All the kids are eating it.” Michael replied quickly, “Don’t eat it, sell it!” Ben said, “We’re trying to get them to eat more fruit.” “Ok, eat it!” Michael responded. The students laughed. Videographer Alexandra Rangel hovered nearby with her camera, capturing the conversation for a promotional fundraising video for TROY.

Several large, perfect cabbages at Teena’s Pride tent caught my eye, along with exotic looking pattypan squash. There were red round tomatoes, cucumbers, and an assortment of other veggies and fresh herbs. All those and more can be yours on a weekly basis if you join the Teena’s Pride CSA. It’s not too late to sign up, and there are about 100 spots left. For prices and details, email farm@teenaspride.com or call 786-243-1714.

Marguerite the Nubian goat hangs out with Hani Khouri and his wife Mary Lee, while customers sample fresh goat cheese.

Over at the other end of the market, Marguerite the Nubian goat was hanging out with her humans, ice cream and cheese makers Hani and Mary Lee Khouri of Hani’s Mediterranean Organics. Of course everybody had to come over to take pictures of the goat… pet the goat… sample the ice cream… maybe get a falafel wrap… At the next tent, Farmer Margie had a large array of fruits, vegetables and herbs. She’s also set up to take SNAP funds and credit cards.

It was a pleasant afternoon in the neighborhood, and the most important people there were the people who live in the area shopping for fresh food. During the spring, the beginning of market was slow but by the end of the second month, a good number of regulars from the neighborhood came by. If things go like last season, every week will draw more people out of their food desert to partake of locally grown bounty.

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This season’s grand opening of the Roots in the City Farmers Market is on Wednesday Dec. 8, from 1 to 4 pm. The market will be held in the same place it was last year, on the corner of NW 10th St. and 2nd Ave. in Overtown, right by the RITC gardens.

This market is one of several in the area where real growers (not produce re-sellers) are participating. Returning this season are RITC itself, selling collards, papaya and other delicacies from its gardens, Redland Organics, Teena’s Pride and Hani’s Mediterranean Organics.

The RITC Farmers Market was also the first market in the area to accept SNAP/EBT payments, and doubles the value of purchases up to $10, thanks to a generous program sponsored by Wholesome Wave Foundation.

This season the market will be open two days a week, Wednesdays and Fridays. It will stay open through April 2011. For more information, email RITC or call 305-772-3229.

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The Pinecrest Gardens Green Market opened for the season two Sundays ago, and you couldn’t ask for a better day, sunny and cool, and not too humid. It was a great day to take the kids and dogs outside and stroll among the tents, shop for farm fresh produce and grab a bite to eat.

Farm intern helping shoppers with their purchases.

The big Redland Organics tent dominated the west entrance of the market, and its tables were loaded with a variety of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. It’s one of many sellers returning this year, and plenty more new ones were added to the mix. There are 50 vendors this year, according to Alana Perez, the Director of Pinecrest Gardens. I caught her prowling the market snapping pictures with her iPhone. She was delighted about the turnout on the first morning of the season. “This has really taken off, it’s huge!” she exclaimed. “The market has community support and it has a loyal following.” And the hungry community was there shopping up a storm. They lined up eight and ten deep to pay at the Redland Organics tent. By noon, Farmer Margie had sold out of grape tomatoes, all greens, and most fruit and vegetables. Only a few green peppers, zucchini, thai basil and some mamey remained.

Eggplants with schnozzles, proboscis, protruberances, and curlicues.

This year the market setup was a bit different. The tents were moved back to a row of banyan trees behind the main parking lot for the Gardens. It was hard to see tents from the road when I drove up. Then I spotted two small signs pointing me to the parking lot. Some vendors would have preferred to be visible from the street, like last year. But Alana Perez explained the move freed up more parking spaces. And Farmer Margie pointed out that the trees provide shade that helps keep produce from wilting in the heat.

Of the 50 vendors, there were more selling non-food items, like stoneware and solar systems. One produce seller groused, “It becomes more like bargaintown.” Bud and Linda, two shoppers who stopped to chat with me, love the market but had mixed feelings about its new incarnation. Bud told me, “I don’t want it to be like a flea market. There shouldn’t be anything that’s not edible.” Linda liked the old location by the street, and found the narrow aisles a bit claustrophobic. Both shop at the market to support local growers. “The people who are local are proud to be local,” Bud pointed out. “As for people who are not, it should be compulsory to say where the food came from.” (If they don’t have a sign, peek under the table at the produce boxes to discover where things came from.)

Farmer Nick offers a taste of local honey.

Most produce was local, and customers who want something that’s not ready for harvest right now will just have to wait a little longer. Overheard at the Redland Organics tent:

Customer: I want kale. Why don’t you have kale?
Farmer: Because it’s not ready yet. It’s not in season.
Customer: How come Whole Foods has kale?
Farmer: Because they get it from California!

Farmers markets are about eating in season, celebrating local food, and enjoying freshness you won’t find in any supermarket. Support your local farmers and you’ll support local families too.

Local food bloggers Laura Lafata of La Diva Cucina, Trina Sargalski of Miami Dish, and Paula Nino of Mango & Lime.

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The 70th annual Fairchild Ramble is this weekend. If you haven’t been, it’s a huge, amazing event, with plant sales, food vendors, a calliope — and my favorite, the Farmer’s Greenmarket.

Redland Organics will be there, of course. If you missed out on getting tomato starts at the Edible Garden Festival not too long ago, or you want to get more, you’re in luck. Farmer Margie will have smaller assortment of tomato plants, along with arugula and collard starts, flowers including tithonia (Mexican sunflower), and a varied assortment of organic fruits, vegetables and herbs.

IMPORTANT — Redland Organics will NOT be at the Pinecrest Gardens Green Market this Sunday! But, Farmer Margie will be back the following weekend.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
10901 Old Cutler Road
Coral Gables, FL 33156
Phone: 305-667-1651

Members may enter at 9:00 a.m.; Non-members may enter at 9:30 a.m.

Admission: Free to Fairchild members and children 5 and under. Non-members: $25 for adults, $18 for seniors 65 and up and $12 for children 6-17.
Eco-discount: If you ride your bike, walk or use public transportation, receive $5 off for adults and $2 off for children.
For driving directions, click here.

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You can buy heirloom tomato starts raised at Bee Heaven Farm this weekend at the Edible Garden Festival held at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

Here’s a list of what kinds of starts will be available this weekend.

Heirloom tomato starts: Mexico, Speckled Roman, Zapotec Pleated, Homestead 24, Taxi, Tigerella, Black Prince, Amish Gold (an awesome cross between Sun Gold and Amish Paste), Black Cherry, Brown Berry, Black Plum, Black Zebra, Cream Sausage, Green Zebra, Red Zebra, Black Zebra,  Large Red, Lime Green Salad, Italian Heirloom, Federle, Opalka, Orange Banana, Super Snow White Cherry, Pink Ping Pong, Striped German, Tiny Tim, Koralik, Dr. Carolyn, Tommy Toe, Sun Gold, Creole, Healani, Tropic, Jaune Flamme, Matt’s Wild Cherry, Peacevine, Podland Pink, Podland Pink, Yellow Pear and many more!

Several varieties of tomato starts are registered in the Slow Food Ark of Taste. They are: Cherokee Purple, Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter, Sudduth’s Brandywine, Amish Paste, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, German Pink, Valencia and Red Fig. For a food to be listed in the Ark of Taste, “it has to have something exceptionally good, like flavor, or be in danger of disappearing because not enough people are growing it anymore,” Margie explained.

Veggie & Herb Starts: Arugula, Listada de Gandia Eggplant, Florida Highbush Eggplant, Garlic Chives, and more.

First harvests from Redland Organics growers:

From Redland farms: Certified organic Avocados, Carambola, curryleaf, fresh dried allspice berries, Thai basil, jakfruit, Rachel’s Eggs, local Wildflower Farm Honey and Tropical Fruit Honey.

From Punta Gorda partner Worden Farm: Cukes, squash, radishes, turnips, dandelions, bok choy, scallions, collards, dill & basil.

Prices for any combination of starts are $3 each, buy 5 get an extra one free (6 for $15). Buy 15 get 5 more free (20 for $45). All new this season, Redland Organics will have a credit card terminal and a SNAP terminal to make your shopping easier.

Also at the Festival, Margie is scheduled to give a talk about growing tomatoes called Beefsteaks are BORING! “Get away from beefsteaks, they take too long to grow. Be more adventurous!” she said. “Cherry tomato varieties do so much better down here.”

Several Redland Organics growers, members and others connected to R. O. will be giving presentations. Here’s the select lineup:

Saturday Oct. 23

1:30 p.m. Green Garden Enchiladas cooking demo by Adri Garcia, Greenrocks Foods, LLC.  Mise en Place, LLC., Cooking Tent
2:00 p.m.
Cheese making demonstration with Hani Khouri, Corbin A

Sunday Oct. 24

10:30 a.m. Drip Irrigation workshop, Muriel Olivares, next to Butterfly Garden
11:30 a.m. Tomato time! Beefsteaks are BORING!  Margie Pikarsky, Garden House
12:00 p.m. Urban Food Forests, Marion Yanez, Corbin A
12:30 p.m. How to Make a Raised Bed Garden, Urban Oasis Project, next to Butterfly Garden
2:30 p.m. Your Edible Organic Garden, Ben Thacker, Garden House

Edible Garden Festival
Saturday October 23 and Sunday October 24, 2010
9:30 am to 4:30 pm
Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden
10901 Old Cutler Road Coral Gables, FL 33156
Phone: 305-667-1651

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