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Archive for the ‘locavore’ Category

Hani Khouri and his ice cream scooper ready to go!

I first met Hani Khouri at a farmers market set up in a parking lot in front of a grocery store off US1. The market was a motley bunch of tents and vendors selling all manner of locally grown produce, flowers and treats. Hani had his table set up next to Bee Heaven Farm’s sprawling tent, and he was offering tastes of his artisanal farmer’s cheese made from goat milk. He was enthusiastic about the health benefits of goat milk, how it differs from cow’s milk, and how his cheese was the best. I was reluctant to try, because I had never liked the tang of soft goat cheese, and have problems with cow’s milk.

 

Hani invited me to try a bite, and cautiously, I did. The farmers cheese was firm, a lttle crumbly, and sweet. No goaty tang. It was delicious! I asked him his secret, and he told me, but now as I write this, I can’t remember what it was. I do recall that he had a cooler loaded with containers of cheese and milk on ice. For some time he didn’t have a tent for market, and relied on shade from his trademark Panama hat.

 

Hani expanded sales to other farmers markets, and provided cheese to several local restaurants. He created goat milk ice cream – yes, ice cream! It had some of that traditional goat cheese funk and tang, and was flavored with tropical fruits and fresh sugar from local growers. All local, all organic. It was hard to choose a favorite. They were all very good, including the one made with tart cas guava.

 

Hani expanded into preparing various Lebanese dishes, and hosted several dinners around the Redland area. The food was tasty and the dinners were popular. Of course Hani teamed up with Margie Pikarsky to provide his cooked food and cheese as add-on shares for her weekly CSA veggie boxes. Occassionally he would drop off something different for Margie to try. This is how I learned about ful mudamas (fava bean dish) and namoura (sweet semolina cake). It was all scrumptious, and again, hard to choose my favorite.

 

Hani also introduced me to his kids – his Nubian goats’ offspring, that is. I visited a few weeks after they were born. The front yard had been transformed into a goats’ playground, as the young kids bounced, leaped, trotted, skipped and climbed on top of anything. They were in constant motion and very entertaining to watch. Hani explained that goats like to climb on top of things. One kid would climb on top of an old stump, then the next would push him off and climb up. They also liked to climb on top of an old white plastic toy igloo then leap off, or nap inside it. The older goats were friendly, and came up to the fence to nibble on my clothes.

 

Years later, Hani and I were sitting on a log at a bonfire one evening at Bee Heaven Farm. His wife Mary Lee and two of his children were there, along with a number of Margie’s friends and neighbors. Occasionally she would have a fire, usually on a cold night, and would invite people over. Hani and I were watching the flames, and chatting about life. My heart had been broken recently, and I was feeling blue. “How do you know it’s the one?” I asked Hani. “You just know,” he told me. “I married my best friend.” His one true love Mary Lee smiled at him across the flickering fire. Hani would do anything for her. He moved heaven and earth to buy goats and a farm so she could have good milk and cheese; and he went through great lengths to find and prepare organic, clean, fresh food so she could recover her health. And she thrived for many years from his loving care. Hani’s entrepreneurship began because of love, and he made his food with love. You could taste it in every bite.

 

Further reading about Hani Khouri:

 

Obituary published in Edible South Florida

https://ediblesouthflorida.ediblecommunities.com/food-thought/memoriam-hani-khouri-businessman-chef-goatherd

 

GoFundMe fundraiser for the Khouri family

https://www.gofundme.com/f/hanikhouristroke

 

Best cheese 2013

https://www.miaminewtimes.com/best-of/2013/food-and-drink/best-cheese-6403651

Goatherd and cheesemaker Hani Khouri rolls a bale of alfalfa to the goat’s pen at dinner time.

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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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SATURDAY

All Day – Master Gardener Plant Clinic

All Day – Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry – Learn about the Redland Oriental Fruit Fly (OFF) quarantine, Giant African Land Snails (GALS) and Agro-Terrorism initiatives. Officers will be on hand for anyone needing to sign a compliance agreement.

10:00 am – 11:00 am  Fermenting Love – Shelah Davis

10:30 am – 11:30 am  Vermicomposting – Zarron Brown, Worm Whisperer

11:00 am – 12:00 noon  Asian Vegetables for South Florida – Dr. Qingren Wang, Commercial Vegetable Agent

12:00 noon – 1:00 pm  Easy Cooking with Asian Vegetables

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm  Home Composting – Adrian Hunsberger, MS Urban Horticulture Agent/Entomologist/Master Gardener Coordinator. Workshop participants will receive a voucher (one per household) for a free compost bin valued over $100. (Pick up your bin at Solid Waste, address will be provided.) Advance registration not required.

2:30 pm – 4:00 pm  Rain Barrel Workshops – Barbara McAdam, PA, Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program.(Workshop is free, but advance registration required to reserve a rain barrel @$40). Register here for Saturday.

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm  Vermicomposting – Zarron Brown, the Worm Whisperer

SUNDAY

All Day – Master Gardener Plant Clinic

All Day – Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry – Learn about the Redland Oriental Fruit Fly (OFF) quarantine, Giant African Land Snails (GALS) and Agro-Terrorism initiatives. Officers will be on hand for anyone needing to sign a compliance agreement.

10:00 am – 11:00 am  Creating an Edible Forest on a Permaculture Model  – Jim Ewing, member USDA SSARE, Exec Comm

10:30 am – 11:00 am  Vermicomposting – Zarron Brown the Worm Whisperer

11:00 am –12:00 noon  Goat Milking Demo – Christina Nielsen, Flair’s Fayre goatherder

12:00 noon – 1:00 pm  Art of Kombucha – Buster Brown

12:45 pm – 1:30 pm  Proper Pruning of Fruit Trees live demo – Jeff Wasielewski, MS Tropical Fruit Extension Agent

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm  Selling Your Crop: Tips for Small Producers – Jim Ewing, member USDA SSARE, Exec Comm

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm  Chef Cookoff Challenge – 5 top chefs + limited ingredients + a mystery box of locally-grown food + 3 judges = a recipe for exciting creations with the unique foods of South Florida.

2:30 pm – 4:00 pm  Rain Barrel Workshops – Barbara McAdam, PA, Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program. (Workshop is free, but advance registration required to reserve a rain barrel @$40) Register here for Sunday.

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm  Vermicomposting – Zarron Brown, the Worm Whisperer

Schedule subject to change.

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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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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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