Posts Tagged ‘Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens’

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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Food and Garden Festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden

Saturday, April 24, 2010 – Sunday, April 25, 2010
9:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Several Redland Organics growers will participate at the Fairchild Food and Garden Festival. Look for a cooking presentation by Robert Barnum aka the Cantankerous Chef, and lectures by Margie Pikarsky and Gabriele Marewski.

Here’s a selected schedule of events:

Saturday, April 24

COOKING DEMOS:  Whole Foods Market Culinary tent
11:00 a.m. Robert Barnum, Possum Trot Tropical Fruit Nursery
Betel leaf Tempura with Coconut Crab Sauce
2:00 p.m. Laura La Fata, La Diva Cucina
Sautéed radishes & their tops over bow tie pasta w/ Smoked Chicken Apple Sausage

LECTURES:  Garden House
11:00 a.m. Margie Pikarsky, Bee Heaven Farm
Preserving Your Harvest: Drying, Preserves, Fermentation and Kombucha
12:00 p.m. Gabriele Marewski, Paradise Farms
Local Mushrooms in South Florida

PANELS:  Classroom A, Corbin Building
1:00 p.m. “Time for Lunch”- Slow Food panel on Healthy School Lunches
Panelists: Ken Lyon, Fratelli Lyon restaurant; Adri Garcia; Penny Parham, Department of Food  and Nutrition, Miami-Dade County Public Schools;  Erin Healy; Moderator- Donna Reno, Slow Food.
Chef Adri Garcia is a panelist on Healthy School Lunches panel. She created the completely locavore menu for the Mother’s Day Brunch at Bee Heaven Farm in May 2009, and has given several cooking presentations at the farm.

3:00 p.m. Local Food in Miami: Where we are headed. A discussion with Miami food bloggers
Panelists: Trina Sargalski, Miami Dish; Bill Jacobson, Tinkering with Dinner; Ellen Kanner,  Edgy Veggie; Caroline Hatchett, Occasional Omnivore;  Moderator – Paula Nino, Mango & Lime.
Was invited to the blogger’s panel, but due to a schedule conflict, will not be able to participate. You might catch me at various presentations, or hanging out at the Blogger’s Corner.

For the full schedule of events, and information about admission, go to the Fairchild Garden web site.

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Cherokee Purple, Amish Paste, Mortgage Lifter, Brandywine. If you missed out on grabbing heirloom tomato plants last weekend, you have one more chance. Redland Organics will be at Ramble, Fairchild Garden’s annual festival of food and plants, on Friday Nov. 20, Saturday Nov. 21 and Sunday Nov. 22.

In addition to tomato plants, Farmer Margie will be selling smoked organic eggs (my favorite high protein snack), fresh organic eggs, herbs and various seasonal fruits. You will find it all at Slow Food Miami’s Greenmarket Tent. Don’t forget to try cas guava, the latest flavor of goat milk ice cream from Hani Khouri of Redland Mediterranean Organics. And, Martha Montes de Oca, of Sous Chef 2 Go, will be cooking up Hispanic dishes with an organic twist.

In addition, there will be several cooking demos. Hani will hold a goat cheese-making workshop on Sunday at 2pm. CSA member Hunter Reno and chef Adri Garcia will give their cooking demo, “What’s in Your Lunchbox?” on Sunday at 11 am. Saturday’s demos are at 11 am with Thi Squire and 2pm with chef Dawn Fine.

Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, $10 for children 6-17, and free for children 5 and under and members of the garden. Go to the web site to get a coupon for $5 off event admission.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
10901 Old Cutler Road
Coral Gables

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The Edible Garden Festival at Fairchild

The Edible Garden Festival at Fairchild

Some people have been asking me, licking their lips, “So, what’s good from the farm this week?” Their appetites were whetted by all the fabulous fruit we’ve been having this summer. Now they’re ready for veggies. Now? You gotta be kidding! There’s nothing growing right now except for weeds! While the rest of the country in latitudes to the north of us are at the peak of their season, reveling in all kinds of veggie goodness, we’re sweltering in the heat swatting mosquitos and gnawing on the last of the fruit. There just isn’t that much growing right now. Too hot, too much rain, too many bugs, too many weeds. (Wonder how the pioneer settlers got by during the cruel late summer/early fall months.) This time of year is a food desert comparable to the dead of winter in Maine (but without the permafrost).

But October and fall and slightly cooler temperatures are around the corner, and that’s going to be a good time to start planting your own food garden. This Sunday’s Miami Herald had an extremely informative article in the Home and Design section about planting gardens in our area. It’s the second of what I hope is an ongoing series of articles written by the good folks at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens.

By the way, don’t forget to check out the Edible Garden Festival on Oct. 24-25 at Fairchild. Look for the Redland Organics tent!

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