Posts Tagged ‘Claire Tomlin’

It was a great weekend for the Fairchild Farm & Garden Festival, sunny and warm but not yet excruciatingly hot. A lot was going on, and I was running from presentations in the Garden Room to various tents and back trying to keep up with interesting events.

Margie Pikarsky

On Saturday morning, I dropped in at the start of Farmer Margie Pikarsky’s presentation on preserving the harvest. As usual, she gave a well-researched lecture on different kinds of food preservation — freezing, fermentation, dehydration, brining, pickling, and canning. The handout was chock full of info, and if you didn’t make it to the lecture, you can download it here.

As for following recipes and instructions that one finds published in books and elsewhere, Margie cautioned that “all publications are geared for the temperate zone. You can’t listen to them. We have to modify. It’s warmer here and chemical reactions happen faster. You have to be aware of that. Sauerkraut can take two weeks instead of two months. There’s potential for vegetables to go bad in the heat when fermenting. Start with organic produce which has less mold and contaminants.” Margie recommended the book Wild Fermentation if you want more detailed instructions for pickling and fermenting.

Stopped by the Cooking Demo tent to say hi to Laura Lafata aka La Diva Cucina. She was getting ready to give a presentation on preparing radishes with vermouth. The radishes looked happy to be in her hands, and vermouth is an ingredient I hadn’t thought of using. (The recipe is at the bottom of this post.)

Laura Lafata aka La Diva Cucina

Talk about food makes me hungry, so I prowled around looking for something good to eat. Found Margie standing in line at the bright green Native Conch stand, and we got the last of the conch salad. Thanks to Jason for taking care of us!

Claire Tomlin with potted herbs for sale.

Came across Claire Tomlin of The Market Company showing off her latest venture. She has ready-to-grow raised garden beds made of cedar that you can use in your yard. The beds come in a package that includes a cedar frame, soil blend, vegetable and herb starter plants, organic fertilizer and mulch. All you need to add is water and sunlight. It’s too late to plant almost all vegetables now (remember, we’re in the sub-tropical growing zone), but there’s more than enough time to get ready for fall planting. If you’re interested, contact Dylan Terry at dylanjterry(at)gmail.com or call 786-436-7703 for more information.

Pure beeswax candles available from Miguel Bode the beekeeper.

Said hi to Miguel Bode the beekeeper on the way out, and he revealed that he has the largest display of pure beeswax candles anywhere (well, at least at the festival). He uses 35 different molds to shape wax extracted from his hives.

My name was on the schedule for the food bloggers panel Saturday afternoon, but I couldn’t stay due to a schedule conflict. Thanks to Melissa Contreras and Annie Stamps of Fairchild for inviting me to participate in the Festival. You ladies rock!

Sauteed Radishes and Tops over Bow Tie Pasta with Apple Chicken Sausage

Serves four main dinners or six starter plates


1 lb. box of bow tie pasta
1 bunch of radishes with tops attached
1 pkg. organic apple chicken sausage
dash white vermouth
good quality extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper


Put on pasta water to boil and once boiling, add a dash of salt. Cook pasta al dente in salted water for a minute or two less than suggested When pasta is cooked, drain into colander, saving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Set aside.

While pasta is cooking, fill sink with cool water. Chop radish tops and wash thoroughly in water, let green tops drain and then blot dry with paper towels. Wash radishes and thinly slice, set aside.

Heat large fry pan on stove and slice sausages into quarter inch slices. Add olive oil to pan and when heated, add sausages, lower heat to medium high and saute until brown on both sides, being careful not to burn. Put cooked sausage on plate, set aside.

Heat fry pan again and add more olive oil if needd. Once hot, add radishes, lightly salt and cook over medium heat until light brown on both sides. Turn up heat and add a dash of vermouth to deglaze pan, continue cooking radishes for another 30 seconds or until soft. Add to the plate of cooked sausage.

Heat fry pan and use more oil if necessary. Lightly saute greens until just wilted, add pasta to pan along with sausages and radishes and thoroughly combine all ingredients. Cook over medium high heat for another minute, adding a bit of pasta water to make a light sauce. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over each serving.

Copyright (c) La Diva Cucina Inc.

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Pinecrest Gardens Farmers Market

Suddenly it’s farmers market season again! A new market sprang up on Sunday morning in the Pinecrest Gardens parking lot. Formerly the South Florida Farmers Market, it has all your old favorite vendors and plus a few new ones. And it was mobbed! Despite a 9 a.m opening time, plenty of people pestered vendors at 8 a.m. (the old opening time) as they were setting up. Farmer Margie Pikarsky of Bee Heaven Farm emailed me, “Business was great. Best start day for a market. Pretty darn good, considering it was also a new location, and a month earlier!!!”

Claire Tomlin, The Market Company

The change in location was a long time coming. Germaine Butler, the founding president of the Pinecrest Garden Club, is delighted to have the Pinecrest Gardens Farmers Market at the garden. “I wanted a market for seven years,” she told me. “This is a community garden, and the market fits in here.” It took some persuading from Farmer Margie, Mitch Rabin of Living Colors Nursery, and Tim Rowan of The Lettuce Farm, to move the market to its new location. Claire Tomlin, who owns The Market Company which runs this market, is happy with the move. She said there’s plenty of room, plus it seemed a natural fit with the neighborhood. Compared to the Gardener’s location, the vibe is definitely more laid back, with people strolling up and down the long row of vendors. And there’s plenty of overflow parking along Killian Drive.

The large Redland Organics tent is located at the west end. If you’re in the CSA, and you want more of something in your share, you can find it at the market. If you’re not in the CSA, this is your chance to get the same things your friends are enjoying. You’ll also find goodies at RO tent that you won’t find in your box, such as smoked eggs, dried fruit, local raw honey, tomato plants, various tropical fruits from Possum Trot Nursery, and delicate oyster mushrooms (which debuted at Ramble) grown by Paradise Farms.

Fresh Local Organic at the Redland Organics tent

Redland Mediterranean Organics holds down the east end of the market. Stroll over to see Hani Khouri tending the falafel fryer, and get a taste of his goat cheese, hummus and tabouleh. Yeah, there’s another guy selling similar food, but it just doesn’t taste the same. And if you want pumpkin pie ice cream made with fresh goat milk, this is the only place you can find it.

And while you are there, stroll through the Pinecrest Gardens themselves. Admission is free, and docents from the garden club will give tours at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The garden club has big plans to put in a world-class kitchen and bring in world-class chefs to give cooking classes, according to Germaine Butler. Once an avid rose grower, she now plants arugula in the front yard, and has a philosophy of “sow it, grow it, serve it, eat it.” Sounds like a good match of garden and farmers indeed!

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