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DATES: October 15 and 16, 2016, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Fruit & Spice Park, 24801 SW 187 Avenue, Redland, FL
ADMISSION:  $10 cash per person at the gate.
Advance tickets $8 online until Oct. 12 at Brown Paper Tickets .
Children under 12 get in free.
Military families can get free tickets at www.VetTix.org .

GrowFest!
A celebration of all local things edible, green, and growing

Redland GrowFest! returns for the fifth year to the Fruit & Spice Park October 15 & 16, 2016. This annual event celebrates all local things edible, green, and growing. Growers offer a bonanza of seedlings, starter plants and native and tropical fruit trees for home or school gardens and food forest projects. Food and artisan vendors feature products made with Redland-Raised ingredients, like the festival’s signature jackfruit curry.

Bee Aware! is this year’s festival theme, highlighting our pollinators, so essential for many crops. The Tropical Beekeepers Association, this year’s event beneficiary, will be on hand to share information about beekeeping from the hobby to the professional level and their educational projects. The club meets the second Tuesday of each month at the Redlands Community Church.

Organic grower and festival organizer Margie Pikarsky, owner of Bee Heaven Farm, believes it’s important for folks in the South Florida area to be aware of our diverse local agricultural resources, and learn how to take advantage of the unique possibilities our tropical climate offers.

The Chefs’ Local Cookoff Challenge on Sunday, joined this year by a similar Students’ Local Cookoff Challenge on Saturday, asks renowned local chefs and students to get creative with a Mystery Box full of Redland-Raised seasonal crops. Awesome deliciousness results from their inspired dishes!

Lectures and demos throughout the weekend by UF/IFAS/Miami-Dade County Extension agents, 4-H, Master Gardeners, and other local experts will inform growers at all levels – from balcony to backyard growers, urban, small and large farmers.

Event sponsors include Dade County Farm Bureau, Edible South Florida, District 8 Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, UF/IFAS Miami-Dade County Extension, Homestead Hospital, FIU Agroecology Program, Slow Food Miami, Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, Fresh From Florida/Redland Raised, Bee Heaven Farm and the Fruit & Spice Park.

For more information and schedule of activities, visit the Redland GrowFest! web site.

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GrowFest-logo-2

Chefs’ Local Cookoff Challenge: Sunday, 1:30 pm

The Chefs
Sean Brasel – Meat Market
Michael Reidt – Pilgrim
Samantha Narvaez – PG Bakery
Chef Pablo Zitzmann – Trust and Company
Simon Stojanovik – Swank Farm/ Swank Table

The Judges
Galena Moscovitch – Herald and Zagat writer
Sarah Liss – Writer/Saffron Supper Club
Eleanor Hoh – Wok Star cooking teacher, Blogger

The Ingredients
• a mystery box of locally-grown seasonal food
• a limited pantry with locally-grown ingredients plus a few basic staples
• 3 ingredients of their choosing

The Result
Awesomely creative deliciousness!

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GrowFest-logo-2
FEATURED SPEAKER: Jim Ewing, former president of the Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, will be presenting on two topics:
 
Creating an Edible Forest on a Permaculture Model. Jim outlines various layouts and strategies for incorporating perennials into a traditional growing layout, providing a more natural, stress-free food production area. Human beings have been doing this — prior to modern industrial agriculture — for millennia, from the birth of human kind on the savannahs of Africa.
Sunday, October 18 at 10:00 am
 
Selling Your Crop: Tips for Small Producers. Calling his techniques “guerilla marketing,” Jim gives tips for small producers to increase sales through various strategies — cheaply! — using social media, targeting markets and objectively weighing and maximizing options for one’s unique situation.
Sunday, October 18 at 1:00 pm
 
 A former organic farmer, Jim serves or has served with numerous ag, food system and environmental organizations, and is currently on the administrative council and a member of the executive committee of the 15-state Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE USDA) program that serves Florida. He is the author of seven books, including Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating.

 

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Pepper #30, by Edward Weston

Pepper #30, by Edward Weston

Many years ago, I came across the famous photo of a bell pepper taken by Edward Weston. The pepper was sensuous and and appeared to have a satiny skin. I was transfixed and flummoxed. Where did Weston find such a thing? Turns out he grew the pepper himself. But that didn’t keep me from scouring bins of bell peppers at the grocery stores. Nope, no luck. They were all the same plain boxy shape. No quirks, no twists, no character. Let’s face it, veggies at the supermarket are just plain dull.

Page 42 of the Spring issue, Edible South Florida

Page 42 of the Spring issue, Edible South Florida

It wasn’t until I started hanging out at Bee Heaven Farm taking photos of CSA shares that I came across produce with character. Hallelujah! Of course, I started photographing them! And now, a small part of my collection of wacky veggie pictures has been published on the inside back page of the spring issue of Edible South Florida. Thanks to editor Gretchen Schmidt for selecting the pictures!

Ohhhh myyyyy!!!

Ohhhh myyyyy!!!

Large heirloom tomatoes like to morph various shapes. Carrots get naughty. Daikon are more elegant and like to twist and twine. Eggplants grow noses. And bell peppers tend to grow lobes and knobs. (I still haven’t found one as elegant as Weston’s but that won’t keep me from looking.) Mother Nature is coloring outside the lines.

One man, Jordan Figueiredo, is on a mission to get supermarkets to sell veggies with character, because creating consumer demand for misshapen produce is a good way of reducing food waste. Growers and wholesalers prefer uniformly shaped, blandly “perfect” produce for supermarket sales — and us shoppers have come to expect bland as normal. We lose out on nature’s riotous creativity, which gets wasted, rotten, thrown away.

You can read more about Figueiredo and his mission in the article next to my pictures. His web site lists links for grocery chains, where you can be an ugly veggie activist too. Shoot an email to corporate. Or, ask the produce manager at your favorite grocery store, and remember to keep asking. With enough demand, “uglies” can and will start showing up routinely in grocery stores.

Don’t forget, “uglies” are fun. Over at the farmers market, I’ve seen kids reach first for eggplants with noses, and moms get a giggle at risque carrots. And of course you can start your own collection of produce pictures. Maybe you’ll be the one who finds a pepper as memorable as Weston’s #30.

Dancing daikon

Dancing daikon

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Plethora of peppers

One pound of red jalapeno peppers.

One pound of red jalapeno peppers.

Are you perplexed and puzzled by the plethora of peppers that presented themselves in your prodigious CSA box a couple weeks ago? Ponder no more! Pickle them! I made two different pickles, or ferments, with the peppers. One ferment is with honey, and the other with salt and vinegar.

Three large chopped jalapenos in about a cup of raw wildflower honey. The ferment is about two weeks old.

Three large chopped jalapenos in about a cup of raw wildflower honey. The ferment is about two weeks old.

Hot peppers fermented in honey is simple and fairly quick. Honey is anti-biotic and anti-fungal, and and it makes sense to use it to preserve food. I chopped up three jalapeños, one with seeds and two without, put them in a small jar, and covered them with raw wildflower honey from Bee Heaven Farm. I filled the jar to the shoulder, screwed on the lid. Within a day, the honey grew liquid and syrupy, and by the second day, small bubbles appeared among the chunks of peppers. They were fermenting! I burped the lid every day for a week until the ferment settled.

I started tasting teaspoons of honey on the third day. It was sweet fire! I made a sweet-hot-sour vinaigrette with apple cider vinegar and it was delicious on a green salad. The dressing would be good on a fruit salad too. The hot honey could be used to make a sweet and sour sauce, or simply drizzled on BBQ ribs — or chocolate ice cream. Holy mole! And still-crunchy chunks of sweet pepper could be added to salsa or stir fry for a mellow kick.

Sriracha, day one of fermentation. On the right are seeds saved from five peppers.

Sriracha, day one of fermentation. On the right are seeds saved from five peppers.

That done, I still had three-quarters of a pound of peppers left. It’s too much to eat before they go bad. Time to make hot sauce! And not just any sauce, but sriracha. I found two versions online, one fermented, and one a quick pickle in vinegar. The fermented one caught my imagination.

Out of the 10 peppers left, I seeded half (saved the seeds to grow my own) and cut all of them into chunks. They went into the food processor along with two garlic cloves, some brown sugar and salt. The finely chopped mixture was spooned into a jar and pushed down so its juices would cover as much as possible. It will sit on the kitchen counter for 3 days to ferment. Then the recipe calls for heating the ferment with vinegar, and straining to make the finished sauce. (You could also add a dash of fish sauce for a bit of umami, and maybe a tablespoon of honey to mellow the fire.) Click on the link to get detailed instructions for both versions of sriracha, fermented and vinegar based.

Happy pickling, hot heads!

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Saucy Kohlrabi

White (actually light green) kohlrabi

White (actually light green) kohlrabi

Kohlrabi, that crazy looking bulbous vegetable with large drapey leaves, is at its peak right now. It tastes like a blend of cabbage and turnip, and its name means precisely that — Kohl = cabbage and Rabi = turnip. You can throw it in a salad, or cook it like you would turnips or cabbage. The greens are similar to collards and can be prepared the same way. For those on an ultra-low carb or paleo diet, you can blanch the leaves to soften them, and then use them for wraps.

Kohlrabi started getting harvested in mid-November. It was the mystery dish at farmer Margie Pikarsky’s Thanksgiving Day dinner at the barn. Guests were trying to identify the light colored chunks, covered with sauce and chopped greens. Potatoes? Nein. Kohlrabi? Ja! Give thanks for  that unusual German brassica that was a favorite of Emperor Charlemagne.

Kohlrabi with white sauce

Kohlrabi with white sauce

At Thanksgiving dinner, Margie recounted the tale of when she and her family were traveling in Germany one summer a few years ago. Late in June, they found themselves in the southwestern corner of the country somewhere near Weisbaden. “Imagine a small urban, self-contained neighborhood about six blocks wide, surrounded by farm fields,”  she described. She didn’t remember the name of the town, but she did recall the name of the B&B — the Black Eagle — where they stayed the night. For dinner at the restaurant down the street, they ate farm fresh food.

“I don’t remember the main course,” Margie said, “but they were just starting to harvest peas, so there were baby peas, and baby carrots. They had kohlrabi served with a white sauce made with milk, like scalloped potatoes.” The tour guide they were traveling with said they were eating a typical German farm meal. “Here’s a vegetable you don’t know,” he told the hungry travelers, pointing to the saucy dish. “Nobody from America knows this.” He was expecting to stump Margie, who took a bite and said, “Know this? I grow this!”

In the version of this dish served at Thanksgiving, Margie chopped up the kohlrabi tops, sautéed them until tender, and served them with the bulbs. Mmmm tasty, enjoy!

If you want more kohlrabi and didn’t make it to Pinecrest Market on Sunday, you can go online and order some at the Bee Heaven Farm web store.

Lots of kohlrabi at market.

Lots of kohlrabi at market.

 

Kohlrabi with White Sauce

Ingredients:

4 kohlrabi bulbs, peeled and cubed
Kohlrabi greens, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
oil for sautéing greens

Directions:

1. Place the kohlrabi and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a saucepan. Cover with water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until kohlrabi can be pierced with a fork, but remains firm, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking water. Place kohlrabi in a bowl, and cover.

2. Place the butter into the same saucepan, and melt over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, and stir until the mixture becomes paste-like and golden brown. Gradually whisk the milk and reserved cooking water from the kohlrabi into the flour mixture, stirring until thick and smooth. Stir in the cream, 1 teaspoon salt, and nutmeg until well blended. Continue whisking until sauce thickens, then cook 10 minutes more. Stir in the kohlrabi, tossing to coat evenly with sauce.

3. Heat oil in another saucepan. Add chopped kohlrabi greens. Cook until tender, and serve with the sauced bulbs.

Serves 8.

Based on the recipe here.

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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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