First, the Miami Herald mentioned the 7th Annual Farm Day at Bee Heaven Farm in its Thursday food section, right at the top of page 2. Then Short Order posted the news. (And it was also posted on this blog.) “Oh no,” Farmer Margie worried out loud. “How many people are coming? A thousand?” She didn’t know what to expect. A couple years ago, over 300 people showed up for Farm Day, and her five acre farm felt crowded.
But the feared stampedes didn’t come, and if you stayed away for that reason, you missed out on some laid-back country fun. About 250 people came to hang out, eat, listen to live music, go on a hay ride, build a scarecrow, and shop at the farm market set up inside the barn. There you could find all kinds of fresh produce, honey, salt, and rice — all local and most organic (honey and salt can’t be certified organic). Outside, people browsed through a heirloom tomato plants. It was a gorgeous day — sunny but not too hot, and with enough breeze so it didn’t feel too humid.
The biggest thrill was the hay ride. Kids and their parents perched on bales of hay loaded on a trailer hitched to the green John Deere tractor. Every 20 minutes, Farmer Margie took them for a tour. They rode at a leisurely two miles an hour as they circled the farm. Margie pointed out flats of tomato seedlings, compost piles, bee hives, avocado groves and different things growing in various vegetable beds. As soon as one ride was over, another group of kids and parents climbed aboard, staked out their seats, and waited patiently for the next ride. Margie and her tractor went around and around the farm a bunch of times that day.
Dim Ssam a GoGo, one of the nationally renowned food trucks from Sakaya Kitchen, was set up near the barn. (It was recently featured on Anthony Bourdain’s new show, The Layover.) The menu featured dragon tongue heirloom beans prepared by chef Mac in the special SK way with lots of chopped ginger and a hit of soy sauce. They went very nicely with my favorite, roasted brussels sprouts. (Never liked brussels sprouts before, but now this is the only way I’ll eat them, with soy and ginger, so good!).
People ate sitting on bales of hay at tables set up in front of the barn. Nearby was a tent and platform set up for local folk musicians Jennings & Keller, formerly of Homestead’s now departed Main Street Cafe. They performed at last year’s Farm Day also.
The Real Sorbet food cart was popular too. Owners Nick and Tessa Mencia were offering tastes and scooping up cupfuls of their handmade frozen fruit treats. The featured flavor was Black Sapote, made from fruit grown not too far away from where the cart was standing. Their concoction included chopped hazelnuts, almond milk, cocoa and a hit of espresso. It made for an interesting, mocha-ish flavor, but the dark earthy flavor of black sapote could have been stronger. Tessa said their specialty is vegan, non-dairy sorbet made with local fruit in season (some flavors may contain nuts or alcohol).
At the end of the party, Farmer Margie raffled off a rare, discontinued Smith & Hawken BioStack Composter. She fished it out of her secret stash in the barn somewhere. They haven’t been seen in stores in years, and are a coveted prize. Anyone who donated $5 got a chance at winning it. Miracle of miracles, the lucky winner was Roly Masferrer. And Bill Dickhaus won the produce box stuffed full of fresh veggies. Congratulations Roly and Bill! If you bought a ticket and didn’t win this year, come back next year and try again, while there’s still composters left.