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Archive for the ‘locavore’ Category

This Sunday, December 8th, the Dinner in Paradise series presents the best chefs from the Florida Keys collaborating on a seafood menu. Enjoy five courses paired with fine wine under the stars, set in the lush grounds of an organic farm.

Creativity by:
Ocean Reef: Philippe Reynaud
Pierre’s: Jouvens Jean, Joe Wiktorek 
Cheeca Lodge: Richard Smith
Taster’s Grill: George Patti  

5:00 pm cocktail reception
5:30 pm farm tour
6:00 pm dinner

Each dinner is $165.50 per person + tax and processing. Gift certificates are available.

Reservations are required and can be made online here.
http://paradisefarms.net/dinner-in-paradise/

All reservations must be made by Friday at noon, so the staff can harvest accordingly. For more information, contact the farm at 305-248-4181 or info@paradisefarms.net .

Proceeds from the dinners will benefit,  Learning in Paradise, the outreach program that hosts educational field trips to the farm.

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

Location:
Paradise Farms Organic
19801 S.W. 320th St.
Homestead, Florida 33030

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What do I do with the fennel?

The start of the CSA season couldn’t come soon enough! This summer, even though I tried to shop for local produce at nearby farmers markets, it was all too easy to backslide, and to gradually eat less and less fresh food (other than mangoes, avocados, and salads). Don’t get me wrong, I love vegetables. But there’s something about opening up a packed-full box of produce and just diving in.

This Friday, as I set up to take photographs of the shares, I felt that familiar thrill as I opened the first boxes of the season. Oooh, what’s in here? Star fruit, yum! Followed closely by, what am I going to do with fennel? Will I even like it? No matter, I’ll try anything once. And there’s a recipe for caramelized fennel in the CSA newsletter. But still, what do I do with the tops??

If anything, belonging to the CSA has introduced me to new things that I never saw or tasted before. If they weren’t in the box, I would never have tried them or known about them. I remember feeling really adventurous eating black sapote and canistel,  and took to saying, “You won’t find that in a grocery store!” Belonging to a CSA delightfully stretched me out of my comfort zone of eating.

Photographing the shares is a great privilege. I get to see in advance what’s in the box, and share it with you on this blog and in the farm newsletter. It amazes me every week how farmer Margie and her crew manage to cram all that goodness into one box. Easy enough to dismantle it all, but don’t ask me to repack it the same way!

Opening the first box of the season.

Opening the first box of the season.

Arranging different items for the photograph can be tricky. This week the challenge was — what do I do with the fennel? Its fluffy fronds take up so much space. Does it go in the front? Off to one side? In the back? There’s a lot of tweaking things, and stepping back to peer through the viewfinder. Once it looks right, click click click! What you see is what you’ll get, no faking. The most I’ll do is use some hidden props to hold things in place. No matter what’s in the box, the recurring challenge is, how do I place each item so you can clearly see what it is. The picture has to be distinct in black and white for the printed newsletter, too.

Once a farm volunteer asked me, “Do the veggies speak to you?” Always the smart aleck, I shot back, “Yeah, they say eat me!” She looked disappointed. Truth is, they do speak in a gentle whisper, beseeching like any divalicious model, “Make me look good. I want people to love me.” And I do want them to look attractive, vibrant and three dimensional. It’s my weekly zen practice, as it were.

And then I get to cook and eat my subjects. Fun! Dinner’s ready!

 

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Browsing for organic seedlings at the Bee Heaven Farm tent.

Browsing for organic seedlings at the Bee Heaven Farm tent.

(part 1 of 2)

Back for its second year this October, GrowFest! was the event for gardeners and locavores. Despite rain on Saturday afternoon and a slow start on Sunday morning, well over 1300 adults and kids came to the Fruit and Spice Park to browse for plants and nosh on good eats. Farmer Margie Pikarsky of Bee Heaven Farm, who organized the event (along with a group of fantastic volunteers), was delighted that the event is growing.

This year there was a mix of familiar and new vendors and exhibitors, a few less than last year, but each was worth checking out. Gardeners had plenty of plants to look at and buy, locavores found delicious things to taste, and there were plenty of interesting and knowledgeable people to talk to, with a wide variety of demos to attend.

GF-wagon

The best way to carry mass quantities of seedlings!

Bee Heaven Farm had its usual sea of organic seedlings. Along with dozens of varieties of heirloom tomatoes, you could also choose from a selection of vegetables, herbs and greens that grow well in our climate and are regularly raised at the farm. In response to customer demand, there were several varieties of eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, Asian greens, and intriguing herbs like lemongrass, curryleaf, turmeric (new this year).

Farm intern Nicole Fiori helps a customer choose heirloom tomato seedlings.

Farm intern Nicole Fiori (right)helps a customer choose heirloom tomato seedlings.

A big thanks to farm employee Luz, intern Nicole, and volunteers Dhilini, Alhen and Holly who were on hand all weekend!

Selecting loofahs and goat's milk soap.

Selecting loofahs and goat’s milk soap.

New this year was the addition of Flair’s Fayre line of goat milk products. The husband and wife team of Pat Houle and Dan McGillicuddy, along with their assistant Christine, were on hand with offerings of raw goat milk and cheeses (for pet consumption only), and an assortment of deliciously aromatic soaps that were very popular. All products are made with milk from their small herd of goats.

Margie Pikarsky, Marty Mesh and Steven Green discuss matters at the FOG tent.

Margie Pikarsky, Marty Mesh and Steven Green discuss matters at the FOG tent.

At the Florida Organic Growers and Consumers Inc. (FOG) tent, folks were selling chilled Uncle Matt’s organic citrus juices and sharing information on organic certification. Marty Mesh, the executive director, returned this year along with several staffers who were thrilled to introduce their newest statewide program, Fresh Access Bucks (FAB).

Staffer Carmen Franz explained that FAB doubles value, up to $20, that SNAP recipients can use to buy Florida grown fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets. So far, FABs are accepted at Urban Oasis Project farmers markets and Bee Heaven Farm (in this area). This new program is funded by a grant from the state agriculture department, and Wholesome Wave, a non-profit which pioneered matching funds. Become a member to help FOG support “a sustainable and just food and farm system for all.”

Two Innovative Farmers of the Year! Margie Pikarsky (2013) and Gabriele Marewski (2012).

Two Innovative Farmers of the Year! Margie Pikarsky (2013) and Gabriele Marewski (2012).

Farmer Gabriele Marewski of Paradise Farms Organic brought two kinds of salads: cactus salad made with nopalitos, and her signature Baby Brassica Blend which includes a colorful sprinkling of edible flowers. The farm is known for its elegant, gourmet Dinner in Paradise and Brunch in Paradise series, season starting soon.

Alfredo Anez, Katie Sullivan and Gretchen Schmidt are the key people who produce Edible South Florida.

Alfredo Anez, Katie Sullivan and Gretchen Schmidt are the key people who produce Edible South Florida.

Edible South Florida magazine debuted their latest issue, which is all about local food. Many local growers and artisans are featured, and if you haunt farmers markets and locavore restaurants and cafes, they may be familiar to you too — Helen Cole’s jerky, Hani’s falafel, and Zak’s bread to name a few. I spotted a picture of farmer Margie on page 23. (Next to it is a brief essay I wrote about Farm Day.) You can pick up a copy for free at Whole Foods, Joanna’s Marketplace and other locations around town.

Giant African Land Snails (GALS) in carious stages of growth. A sample of their eggs is in the upper right corner.

Giant African Land Snails (GALS) in various stages of growth. A sample of their eggs is in the upper right corner.

And the villain of GrowFest! was back for an encore — the Giant African Land Snail (GALS). It’s an invasive species that devours over 500 kinds of plants and is capable of munching stucco off your house. Fully grown, the snail is as big as your hand, and has unique vertical jagged stripes on its shell. If you see a GALS in your yard, absolutely do NOT touch it! Call the state Division of Plant Industry at 888-397-1517 to come get it. These snails can harbor a microscopic nematode that can infect your brain and kill you. Over 131,000 GALS have been located and captured in South Florida in the past two years.

Grower Arturo Gonzalez, of Margarita's Fruits & Vegetables brought a forest of mango and avocado saplings.

Grower Arturo Gonzalez, of Margarita’s Fruit Trees, brought a forest of mango and avocado saplings.

GF-bananas

Bananas and plantains at Going Bananas

GF-bees

Beekeeping books and supplies from South Florida Bee Supplies.

Carnivorous plants from Envy Botanicals

Carnivorous plants from Envy Botanicals

Landscaping plants at Casey's Corner Nursery

Landscaping plants at Casey’s Corner Nursery.

Fresh potted herbs from Teena's Pride Farm

Fresh potted herbs from Teena’s Pride Farm.

Learn how to compost with worms, from the Fertile Earth Foundation.

Learn how to compost with worms, from the Fertile Earth Foundation.

Kamala Fletcher, Christiana Serlé, and Mike Moskos of the South Florida Food Policy Council

Kamala Fletcher, Christiana Serlé, and Mike Moskos of the South Florida Food Policy Council discuss the community’s food issues.

Ken Holden advocates incorporating Redland

Ken Holden advocates incorporating Redland.

Buy native plants from the Urban Paradise Guild

Buy native plants from the Urban Paradise Guild

(To be continued…)

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Paradise Farms OrganicBrunch in Paradise returns with the Queens of Farm to Table.

Paradise Farms Organic offers a delicious upscale family style meal made with local organic products, sourcing as much as possible directly from the farm. Each brunch features fresh eggs, homemade yogurt, fresh seasonal fruit, mimosas, and much more.

Harvest    November 24, 2013
Julie Frans / Essensia at the Palms Hotel & Spa
Amber Antonelli / The Naked Bite

Easter    April 20, 2014
Amber Antonelli /The Naked Bite

Pre-Mother’s Day    May 10, 2014
Julie Frans / Essensia at the Palms Hotel & Spa

Mother’s Day   May 11, 2014
Mary Siragusa / Fresh First

Guests please arrive at 11:15 am, followed by a farm tour at 11:30 given by Gabriele Marewski, followed by lunch at 12:00 noon.

All brunches require reservations. For more information and to make reservations, please visit Brunch in Paradise. Ingredients on the menu are harvested to order by the farm’s staff, and prepared fresh, based upon the seasonal availability of the farm.

Each brunch is priced at $53.00 for adults, $15 for children under 12, and free for children under 2. Tax and Google fee not included.

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Paradise Farms OrganicThe farm to table tradition continues! Dinner in Paradise at Paradise Farms Organic features the finest chefs in Miami preparing a delicious five course meal made with local organic products and paired with fine wines. The magic and charm of the lush edible landscape coupled with the finest chefs in Miami creates a uniquely intimate dining experience under the stars.

November 17, 2013

Tongue & Cheek: Jamie DeRosa
HaVen: Todd Erickson
Market 17: Lauren DeShields

December 8, 2013

Ocean Reef: Philippe Reynaud
Taster’s Grill: George Patti
Cheeca Lodge: Richard Smith
Pierre’s: Jouvens Jean, Joe Wiktorek

January 12, 2014

Area 31 at Epic: Wolfgang Birk
Bar Lorenzo at The Redbury: Tony Mantuano, James Versfelt
The Forge: Dewey LoSasso

January 26, 2014

The Federal: Cesar Zapata
Buccan / Imoto: Clay Conley
Kris Wessel

February 8, 2014
Valentine’s Day (Saturday)

Johnson & Wales

March 15, 2014
Edible Flower Festival (Saturday)

Richard Sandoval Restaurants: Chef Jose Luis Flores
Intercontinental: Alex Feher
Toro Toro: Eric Do

March 23, 2014
Palm Sunday

Essensia at The Palms Hotel & Spa: Julie Frans
Eating House: Giorgio Rapicavoli
Azul at Mandarin Oriental: Chef TBA

April 6, 2014

Sugarcane / Bocce Bar: Timon Baloo
Oak Tavern: David Bracha
EDGE Steak and Bar at Four Seasons Hotel: Aaron Brooks

April 13, 2014

Meat Market: Sean Brasel
Lido Restaurant at The Standard: Mark Zeitouni
Pubbelly: Jose Mendin

April  27, 2014

Cecconi’s: Sergio Sigala
Salumeria 104: Angelo Masarin
Bread & Butter: Alberto Cabrera

Each year, Paradise Farms Organic donates proceeds to a local charity or organization philosophically in line with their vision of sustainable, healing, and healthy organic food. This year “Learning in Paradise,” the farm’s outreach program to host children’s educational field trips to the farm, is sponsored.

5:00 pm for cocktail reception
5:30 pm farm tour
6:00 pm dinner
(In March, times move back one hour.)

Each dinner is $165.50 per person + tax and processing. Gift certificates are available.

*Reservations are required.* RESERVATIONS MUST BE MADE BY FRIDAY AT NOON SO THAT THE FARM STAFF MAY HARVEST ACCORDINGLY. For more information and to make reservations, please visit the farm’s web site.

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

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This weekend, come meet farmer Rachael Middleton and chef Jon Gambino of Three Sisters Farm, which is located, quite conveniently, across the street from the Fruit and Spice Park. Rachael and Jon are bringing plants and tastes of their farm to GrowFest!

The farmer and chef couple will have an assortment of edible plants for sale, whatever they are able to haul across the street for the weekend. “We have some interesting different fruit trees, and cool tropical roots, like malanga. We have a good variety of heirloom tomato seedlings and some different peppers,” Rachael told me. Besides vegetable seedlings, they’re also offering larger plants as well.

“We have a lot of big stuff that we can’t bring across the street, but we will have a plant list and give a sampling of what our nursery has right now. Since we are an active farm year round, we are always producing root stocks and pups, and have suckers in abundance at the farm. People are welcome to contact us if they are interested in getting plants anytime throughout the growing season,” Rachael said.

Tastes will come mostly from whatever is in season at their organic and biodynamic farm. “We will offer a variety of drinks, including a sorrel drink (it really tastes like Hawaiian Punch). We’ll also have jaboticaba sorbet (and a limited quantity of fresh jaboticaba fruit!).”

Chef Jon recently acquired a wood fire oven, which he has been using to bake fresh bread for his Farm Meals. “The oven is one of our favorite new things this season,” Rachael said. “It’s amazing, and we have been doing a lot of baking at the farm lately because of it. We are going to bring the oven over to the park and bake fresh bread and make pizzas.” Come find out what kind of tropical toppings will grace goodies hot out of the oven at GrowFest!

Three Sisters Farm

If you would love to visit and dine at Three Sisters Farm, chef Jon Gambino offers a Farm Meal every Saturday by reservation only. “The meal begins with a private tour where you get to see everything we are growing on our active, working, natural farm,” Rachael said.  “At the end of the tour, you are seated on our beautiful tropical tiki deck, where if you time your reservation right, you will be able to catch a beautiful view of the sunset.

“The farm meal uses all of our own ingredients (sometimes supplementing with some of the best of what our neighbors have to offer) to create a multi-course gourmet tasting feast. Our ingredients are a wide variety including tropical fruits, veggies you know and love and some you may not know you love yet, tropical roots, and spices.  What Jon does with all those amazing ingredients is equally varied and exciting. He also makes delicious handmade pastas, fantastic breads and pizzas (baked in our wood fire oven, which you can see from the tiki deck).

“The Farm Meal is $85 a person and we sometimes offer a fish option for an additional $15. Don’t worry about not being full, it’s a multi-course (at least 5) feast. Do dress comfortably for walking around on the farm and outdoor dining.  It’s BYOB, no cork fee.”

The next Farm Meal is scheduled for Oct. 26th. This Saturday, Oct. 19th, there is no Farm Meal because of the festival. “We are pretty much a two man (sometimes three) show,” Rachael explained.

For reservations and more information:
Three Sisters Farm
18401 SW 248th St.
Homestead, FL 33031
305-209-8335

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artisanal fair

Saturday, September 28, 2013
12 noon to 4:00 pm
Free admission

The Wolfsonian Museum is teaming up with local farms and makers of food products for this all-about-the-local-food-you eat event.

Artisanal Fair @ The Wolf and CSA Sign-Up is a fantastic opportunity to meet your local farmers. Come find out more about local food grown by Margie Pikarsky of Bee Heaven Farm and sign up for one of her Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm shares.

Teena Borek from Teena’s Pride CSA and Muriel Olivares from Little River Market Garden CSA (sold out for this season!) will also be there. Buying from a CSA a great way to support a local farmer, and get fresh produce every week during our harvest season.

Participating local food vendors include: Cao Chocolates, The Cheesecake Gallery, Dauphin Kaffee artisanal coffees, Freakin’ Flamingo jams and jellies, Pop Nature popsicles and paletas, Proper Sausages, and Simply Sharon’s “treats that heal.”

At 2:00 pm, take a special guided tour of the current Modern Meals exhibit. It will be led by museum staff and Teena Borek.

This event is co-presented by The Village Stand gourmet shop and Slow Food Miami.

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