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Article by Margie Pikarsky,
owner of Bee Heaven Farm, Redland FL

You’ve probably heard about the recent quarantine imposed on over 80 square miles of our Redland agricultural area. It’s because of what might be the absolute worst pest imaginable in a single package. Why? The Oriental Fruit Fly eats anything that even remotely looks like a fruit, and some other things too. It’s not from here, so there are no natural enemies.

Remember the Mediterranean fruit fly scares and quarantines? Well, the Medfly has a list of about 20 “host materials”, fruits. The Oriental Fruit Fly has a 14 PAGE list of just about every fruit you can think of, fruiting veggies like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, cucumber, luffa, snap beans, and even some ornamentals like jasmine, brugmansia, orchids and Ylang-Ylang. Get the idea just how devastating this fly could be if it gained a foothold here?

The Department of Agriculture monitors sentinel traps for several species of exotic pest flies, each baited with an irresistible sex lure that will draw in a fly if it’s somewhere in the vicinity. (Don’t worry, it’s not going to bring in flies where they aren’t already hanging around.) You may have seen some of these white triangular traps hanging on trees here and there. They’ve been around for years, silently guarding our crops from outbreaks.

Every once in a while, a fly shows up in a trap. Then FDACS goes on alert, sets out a bunch more traps around the area of the find, and monitors. Usually no more are found, and that is that.

This time, however, they found 5 locations close to each other where there this fly had set up shop, and they found, not just 1 fly, but at the worst location, 45 in a single trap! This meant they were breeding. It was a call to mobilize. You’ve never seen government agents, both from USDA and from FDACS, move so fast into position to set more traps and start canvassing the area to find out exactly where they are. Following a proven protocol, they defined a core boundary area within 1/2 mile of each find, a larger treatment area around the cores, and declared a quarantine area reaching out 4.5 miles in every direction from the core area. And they’ve stepped up monitoring a little outside the quarantine area too, just in case.

The absolute best way to treat this kind of invasion, they’ve found, is to use these same irresistible lures in baited traps. For the Oriental Fruit Fly (OFF), the lure is methyl eugenol, a naturally occurring substance that acts as a pheromone male OFF flies simply cannot resist. Where they have found females, a different type of trap, using a yeast-based lure, is set. Nearby trees are stripped of their fruit, and the soil beneath and around the immediate area is drenched with a poison to kill larva. Why the soil? Well, the female lays eggs in the fruit. The larva hatch, and before they’re ready to pupate, they fall to the ground and move into the soil. There they hatch into new flies. So to make sure the cycle is completely broken, they have to poison the soil. Sad but necessary.

In the meantime, fruit is NOT allowed to move around in the quarantine area, unless and until it is treated is a way to eliminate the possibility of inadvertently spreading the flies.

What does this mean to you? If you’re a homeowner in the quarantine area or have friends who live there, the simplest, best thing while the quarantine is in effect is:

1) Do not take fresh fruit off your property.
2) Do not accept fresh fruit from another property, not even your nana’s house.
3) Eat it on the property – have food parties!
4) Process it in your kitchen – freeze it, juice it, cook it, make jams & jellies. Once you’ve done that, you can take the finished product off the property without fear.
5) Dispose of all scraps and peelings in the approved way – double-bagged, sealed and placed in a covered garbage can that will go to the landfill.

For commercial or hobby growers, if you anticipate a large crop of something that is one of the 400+ listed hosts (avocados, squash, pitaya, for example), you can start a 30-day pre-harvest treatment protocol. Once 30 days have passed AND no flies were found near you, you can begin to harvest, while continuing the treatment. There are a couple of approved USDA treatment options, once of which IS approved for use in organic production.

The other option when harvesting, is to use a post-harvest treatment. There are very few treatments approved by the USDA for this purpose, and they mainly involve the use of methyl bromide with or without chilling for many days, or irradiation. Each type of fruit has its own protocol, and these treatments are not guaranteed to keep the fruit in good condition! For instance, most Florida avocado varieties simply cannot sit in refrigerator temperatures for days – it spoils the fruit and turns it brown. None of the post-harvest treatments are approved for use in organic production.

Nurseries and gardeners need to be careful. If potted plants are growing underneath fruit trees, the soil in the pots must be drenched with the poison to make sure no larvae dropping from above are lurking in the soil. If the plants are growing in a greenhouse or in the open away from trees, it’s not an issue and no special precautions need to be taken, other than to make sure no fruit is left to grow on the potted plants (young fruit trees shouldn’t be allowed to set fruit anyhow-while attractive to a potential customer, it’s like expecting an 8-year-old to have a child-damaging to the parent.

Anyone involved in production, handling, packing or selling of host plant materials (fruits, fruiting veggies, some ornamentals, palms, etc) in the quarantine zone or needing to transport in or out of the zone, needs to fill out a Compliance Agreement.

For extensive information about the fly, the quarantine areas, maps, rules, available treatments, latest finds, and more visit the Division of Plant Industry website at: http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Plant- Industry/Pests-Diseases/Exotic-Fruit-Flies/Oriental-Fruit-Fly-Information

For help in completing the simple compliance agreement, reporting suspect flies, improper movement of fruit, or general information contact the HOTLINE at 888-397-1517.

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GrowFest! is a go!

GrowFest-logo-2

Redland GrowFest!

Saturday October 17 & Sunday October 18, 2015
9:30 am – 4:30 pm

Fruit & Spice Park
24801 SW 187th Ave, Redland, FL

Edible & Native Plants: seedlings and fruit trees
Growing information, workshops, demos and presentations
Delicious Local Food, Chef’s Local Cookoff Challenge
Music, Art, Tours, Giveaways, Kid Stuff

This year’s event benefits the Redland Farm Life Culinary Center,

a project of the South Florida Pioneer Museum
 
Admission: $10 at gate,  $8 in advance online
Free admission for children under 12
Military families get free tickets at VetTix.org

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Tickets Available For Paradise Farms 2015 Dinner in Paradise Series

Join the organic farm in celebrating its 10th season!

Stumped for the perfect present this holiday season? Even the most finicky of foodies will be ecstatic to receive a seat at the table during Dinner in Paradise’s 2015 series with a nearly all-new lineup of culinary talent. Tickets go on sale just in time for last-minute gifts at paradisefarms.net or by calling 305.248.4181.

Paradise Farms, an organic boutique operation founded by Gabriele Marewski in 1999 in Homestead, Fla., focuses on Miami’s emerging chef scene as the theme for its 10th annual year of hosting multicourse, farm-to-table repasts in an open-air gazebo surrounded by lush tropical landscaping. Following a reception, guests are treated to a farm tour before sitting down to dinner with wine pairings selected by wine director, Shari Gherman.

January 2015

To kick off the season on January 11, The Federal’s Cesar Zapata, Haven’s Todd Erickson and Eating House’s Giorgio Rapicavoli team up for a mouthwatering evening that showcases their progressive take on cuisine that’s reshaping the city’s palate. Zapata stars in “Best New Restaurant,” a cable television show contest hosted and judged by kitchen veteran Tom Colicchio that premieres on Bravo on January 21. Rapicavoli is a frequent winner on Food Network’s “Chopped,” while Todd Erickson took home the top prize for Miami New Times’ Iron Fork Competition in 2014.

The January 25 dinner partners Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi of Broken Shaker and their newly opened 27 Restaurant & Bar; Kris Wessel of Oolite, who hosted Anthony Bourdain for the TV host’s upcoming travel show about Miami, and Diego Oka of La Mar, a Peruvian import by one of the world’s most acclaimed chefs and restaurateurs Gaston Acurio.

February 2015

Adrianne Calvo, the Cuban proprietor of Chef Adrianne’s who appears regularly on television and just released her third cookbook, William Crandall, the Midwestern chef de cuisine for Azul at Mandarin Oriental Miami, a long-time participant in Dinner in Paradise that always draws crowds, and Andrew Gilbert, The Seven Dials’ British chef owner who puts a modern, organic twist on classic English fare, show off their techniques on February 1.

March 2015

Marewski, who has been a vegetarian since her teens, is especially proud to feature a plant-based dinner on March 1. It brings together Keith Kalmanowicz of Love & Vegetables, who has a large local following through his dishes that elevate the category to a gourmet level; Billy Devlin, the chef de cuisine for Basil Park, which has received rave reviews by food critics for its delicious, healthy menus, and chef Enrique Ruiz of Temple Kitchen, a vegan restaurant and juice bar that was a hit during the inaugural Seed Food & Wine Festival in Miami in October.

Flower fans will be excited to attend the farm’s annual Edible Flower Festival on March 14. Richard Sandoval Restaurants’ appropriately named executive chef Jose Luis Flores makes a special visit to Miami again to cook with the hospitality group’s Toro Toro executive chef Eric Do. Their dishes incorporate the farm’s more than 50 types of edible flowers such as calendula, borage and nasturtium. Please note that this dinner occurs on Saturday, rather than the usual Sunday event.

Falling on Palm Sunday, March 29’s meal pairs Aaron Brooks, the Australian executive chef behind Four Seasons Miami’s modern surf and turf concept Edge Steak & Bar; Mike Pirolo, who garnered a rare, four-star review from The Miami Herald while at Scarpetta before opening his locals’ mainstay Macchialina Taverna Rustica, and Gabriela Machado, the highly artistic founder of Copperbox Culinary Atelier restaurant and owner of Contrabando Catering Company.

April 2015

April is shaping up to be a terrific time to visit the farm, too, with three incredible dinners. On the 12, Sean Brasel of Meat Market, which expanded to Palm Beach earlier this year, and Timon Balloo of the always packed Sugarcane and Bocce Bar return to cook with newcomer Dena Marino of MC Kitchen, who honed her craft in kitchens from Napa to Aspen, and has challenged Masaharu Morimoto on “Iron Chef America.” The 19th combines Danny Grant, a Best New Chef for Food & Wine who joined 50 Eggs (Yardbird, Khong River House, Swine) after wowing diners with his fine dining concept 1826 Restaurant & Lounge; Jacob Anaya, executive chef for popular casual eatery and craft beer and wine bar OTC, and Najat Kaanache, a Spaniard who worked at El Bulli, Alinea and Per Se before launching her Piripi Miami in Coral Gables any day now. Finishing out the season on the 26th, Jodrick Ujaque of Homestead-based Chefs on the Run doesn’t have to venture far to join Richard Torres of Bread + Butter, an updated approach to Cuban comfort food that expanded with Little Bread Cuban Sandwich Co. in Little Havana, and Nicolas Cabrera of Coya Restaurant & Bar, a British import featuring Peruvian cuisine from the owner of Zuma.

Community Support

“Paradise Farms is offering our community a wonderful opportunity this holiday season to support women and families in need, and they are helping Lotus House build community support and raise public awareness, as dinner guests come together to enjoy a meal in their beautiful gardens,” said Constance Collins, Lotus House Director. “This incredible support will help fund life-saving shelter, sanctuary and holistic supports at the Lotus House so that the special women, youth and children we serve can heal, reclaim their lives, and bloom into who they are truly meant to be.”

Sponsors

Paradise Farms would like to thank the event’s generous, long-term sponsors including Whole Foods, Schnebly Redland’s Winery, Strategic Importers, Lucini Italia, Brustman Carrino Public Relations, as well as DIP co-founder Michael Schwartz.

Reservations and Gift Certificates

Please go to our website www.paradisefarms.net to make reservations.

For gift certificates, please call Paradise Farms office: 305-248-4181.

We look forward to seeing you!

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Farm Day fun! Collage by Margie Pikarsky

Farm Day fun! Collage by Margie Pikarsky

10th Annual Farm Day at Bee Heaven Farm

Come to the country * Fun for the whole family * Bring friends!

Sunday December 21st * 11:30 am to 3 pm

Farm Food * Activities * Hay Rides * Farm market and nursery

Live Music * with local singers Jennings and Keller: Fusion Folk Americana

Yoga in the Corral * with CSA member Sheelah Davis of OM Brew Yoga

FREE ADMISSION * Food $10 * Yoga $5 donation * Bring cash. Drooling is free!

We accept credit/debit/SNAP for purchases.

Directions:
From southbound on US1, turn west (right) on Bauer Drive (SW 264 St.) and go approx. 5 miles. The farm is about 1/3 mile west of Redland Road (SW 187 Ave.) Look for the farm signs and flags on your left. Please angle park on the swale and walk on in.

 

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Some of the assorted produce available this time of year.

Some of the assorted produce available this time of year.

Pinecrest Farmers Market
Sundays 9 am to 2 pm

Location:
Pinecrest Gardens
11100 SW 57th Ave.
Pinecrest FL 33156

It’s that time of year again, when Bee Heaven Farm/Redland Organics appears for the season at the Pinecrest Farmers Market. Bee Heaven offers the best in fresh, local, organic, seasonal and sustainable produce. Look for their big white tent! Check out these items that are available now:

Awesome Veggies: purple and striped eggplant, arugula, mizuna, 2 kinds of kale, collards, bok choy, yukina savoy, baby bok choy, sweet green bell, cubanelle, poblano and jalapeno peppers, fennel, dandelion greens, sunflower greens, lettuces, cucumbers, beets, red turnips, kohlrabi, cherry and grape tomatoes, daikon, watermelon radish.

Father and daughter shopping for cukes.

Father and daughter shopping for cukes.

Savory herbs: scallions, cilantro, curryleaf, allspice, garlic chives, lemongrass, flat Italian parsley, dill, cilantro, hoja santa.

Bean Bonanza: green beans.

Delectable Fruits: black sapote, canistel, carambola, GREEN papaya (for Asian salads and cooked dishes), passionfruit, sugarcane.

Other assorted goodies: local farm honey, fresh pollen, herb teas, dried Fruits of Summer, Florida Sem-Chi organic rice, Florida Keys Sea Salt, Flair’s Fayre goat milk soaps, and assorted tomato and herb seedlings.

Come early for best selection! The market is located in the parking lot near the front entrance of Pinecrest Gardens. See you there!

Farmer Margie Pikarsky, and husband Nick.

Farmer Margie Pikarsky, and husband Nick.

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