A farmer’s life is not always hard work. The farmers I know like to take time off to party, and they always have good food! This past Sunday was Farm Day, the annual open house at Bee Heaven Farm. The weather was glorious, sunny but not too hot and not too humid. CSA members and friends of the farm were invited to hang out for the afternoon. Over 100 people showed up, mostly families with children, to eat good food, listen to live music, build scarecrows and go on hay rides, and socialize with fellow fans of the farm. For hard core locavores, this was a rare chance to visit the very place where their food comes from.
Lining up at Dim Ssam a GoGo.
New this year was Dim Ssam a GoGo, the food truck from Sakaya Kitchen. Chef Richard Hales and two assistants were on board filling orders as quick as they could. Chef Richard worked his pan-asian magic on various vegetables provided by Farmer Margie. I recognized eggplant, radishes, cucumber, bok choy and garlic chives from the heavy boxes delivered to his restaurant a couple days before. They reappeared grilled and roasted, and in the form of kimchee. The line at the truck was crazy! It went from here to way over there! Later, I saw various people going through the line a few more times. Maybe the truck had to be empty before it could leave?
People sat on bales of straw and ate at tables in the sun outside the barn. It was close to the food and the coolers full of homemade herbal teas — lemongrass, roselle, and allspice berry. From there you could watch kids building scarecrows and listen to live music. Grant Livingston was back to charm us with his songs and stories about life in Florida. He sings and plays guitar in a laid back folk style, and his catchy tunes have gentle humor and poetic turns of phrase.
It takes a village to build a scarecrow.
Scarecrow building was popular from previous years, and you never know what kind of straw people kids and parents will create. Lengths of pvc pipe and connectors, plus old clothes and lots of straw were set out. First you make the skeleton out of pipes, and then you build the body by stuffing clothes with straw. The challenge is to make a head somehow. Bags usually work. The best part was that you could take your scarecrow home with you to protect your garden.
Hayride around Bee Heaven Farm.
Farmer Margie gave hay rides with the green tractor and a trailer loaded with bales of straw. People sat on the bales and watched the farm go by at three miles per hour. Margie circled the property and pointed out different things growing here and there. The ride was extremely popular this year. As soon as it was over, more people climbed aboard the bales and staked out their spots. Yes, they sat there waiting for 20 minutes until the next ride! More, more!
Raw food chef Pam Molnar admires watermelon radishes.
Inside the barn, a small farmers market was set up. If you haven’t been out to Homestead, Overtown or Pinecrest Markets, it was a fair representation of what you’ve been missing. A long row of tables zig-zagged along one wall, loaded down with produce. Fruit was on one end — passion fruit, tart “tangy-rines”, starfruit, avocados, red grapefruit, black sapote, and papaya. Greens and herbs loaded down the other end — yukina savoy, mixed salad greens, lettuce, arugula, garlic chives, dill, sage — and interesting vegetables in the middle — eggplant with funny appendages, watermelon radishes that have white flesh with a red center, globe radishes, dragon tongue beans, and maybe the last of the green beans for a while because of the last freeze. A lot of this stuff you just won’t find in the stores.
Wings, grilled eggplant, kimchee, pulled pork sandwiches and crispy duck wraps.
Back to the food from Dim Ssam… It was amazing! I tasted a variety of things. Juicy chicken wings with a soy-honey-ginger-pepper sauce that was not too hot but definitely flavorful. Kinchee made with French breakfast radishes, cucumber, bok choy and cilantro provided by the farm, and chunks of garlic, pickled in a peppery sauce that had a slight fermented kick. Grilled eggplant with garlic chives and a soy-based sauce. Pulled pork sandwich with a pinkish, zippy “kimchee” sauce. Crispy duck wrap with crunchy veggies, amazing sauces, and wreathed in fresh cilantro. Everything was so delicious, I wanted one of each from the truck, but my belly ran out of room. So leftovers went to James, the farm’s Intern Composter, who was wandering around hungry for food scraps, and happy for a taste of Sakaya cooking, yum!
Happy winners of the coveted composter.
The afternoon wound to a close with the raffle. A Smith & Hawken Biostack Composter was up for grabs. There were a fair number of entries, and people were excited and hopeful to win it. (Apparently this particular composter does a good job, but is rare as hens teeth.) The Sebesta family won the composter, and Nancy B. won a box of produce. Winners, enjoy your prizes in good health!
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