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Posts Tagged ‘Fruit and Spice Park’

GrowFest! is a go!

GrowFest-logo-2

Redland GrowFest!

Saturday October 17 & Sunday October 18, 2015
9:30 am – 4:30 pm

Fruit & Spice Park
24801 SW 187th Ave, Redland, FL

Edible & Native Plants: seedlings and fruit trees
Growing information, workshops, demos and presentations
Delicious Local Food, Chef’s Local Cookoff Challenge
Music, Art, Tours, Giveaways, Kid Stuff

This year’s event benefits the Redland Farm Life Culinary Center,

a project of the South Florida Pioneer Museum
 
Admission: $10 at gate,  $8 in advance online
Free admission for children under 12
Military families get free tickets at VetTix.org
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This year’s GrowFest! debuts the Redland ART section. Applying the same criteria as for all GrowFest! vendors, art or photography by local artists is showcased, depicting local, edible or native plant, animal or local scenes, or incorporates locally-grown or native materials.

John DeFaro with Who is Nest wall assemblage 63rd All FL Juried Competition and Exhibition Boca Raton Museum of Art 2014

John DeFaro is a local artist who works with natural materials, royal poinciana seed pods one of his favorite objects. All pieces are for sale at GrowFest! 50% discount prices of $45 to $75 (signed by the artist), depending on size/detail. John will be at GrowFest! until 4 pm Saturday and until 3 pm Sunday.

In his own words:

detailAt first glance one quickly sees rich earth tones of cheery wood reds and mahogany browns hanging from copper wire. About the size of four or five hands, the forms floating are created primarily using Poinciana Tree Seed Pods; a signature material to John DeFaro’s new naturalist approach for his making of art assemblages and on site installations.

The Nightmare Catchers are smaller scaled found object, informal assemblages using wire, vintage electrical transistors, jewelry wire, plastic beads, and so on. These hanging intuitive sculptures are a deviation from the traditional Native American Dream Catchers in that they, fresh out of the artist studio ad hoc forms, are to be hung inside the home and dwellings where one might sleep. In addition to Catching, they Capture and Extinguish Nightmares FOREVER.

detail-2As part of the artist narrative, The Nightmare Catchers provide a complete monitoring of nightmares placed anywhere within the entire home. Simply the power of playful belief when and how artistic creation brings enjoyment and positive thinking. And simply an expression as an art form celebrating the re-purposing of Nature.

DeFaro’s better known large assemblages using the dried and hardened, oiled and protected pods, have garnered awards and exhibition participation such as an Artist Choice award at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, SoBay Art Exhibit at the Deering Estate in Cutler, FL, Scope Art Fair, Art and Culture Center, Hollywood, FL, and most recently inclusion in the 63rd Annual Juried Competition and Exhibition / Boca Raton Museum, Florida.

http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/115861-john-defaro

Nightmare-Catcher

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Demos, Workshops & Presentations


Saturday, October 18

11:00 am          Mistakes I’ve Made Along the Way Growing Herbs
11:00 am          Mango Poetry
11:30 am          Hungry for Justice documentary screening
1:00 pm            Properly Pruning Fruit Trees
1:00 pm            Mango Poetry
1:30 pm            Managing Vegetable Crops:
From Commercial Industry to Backyard Gardens
2:30 pm            Rain Barrel Workshop (Barrel cost: $40)
2:30 pm            Wild Edible Plants of Florida

 

Sunday, October 19

10:30 am          Plant Propagation
10:30 am          The Slow Food Ark of Taste
11:00 am          Mango Poetry
11:30 am          Hungry for Justice documentary screening
1:00 pm            Mistakes I’ve Made Along the Way Growing Herbs
1:00 pm            Mango Poetry
1:30 pm            Good Bugs/Bad Bugs in Your Edible Landscape
2:30 pm            Vegetable Oddities
2:30 pm            Rain Barrel Workshop (Barrel cost: $40)

 

Saturday and Sunday All Day activities:

Kids’ Activities / Ag in the Classroom
Master Gardener Plant Clinic
Community Art  *SUNDAY ONLY*
Light Bulb & Shower Head Exchange (Must bring old ones)

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A celebration of all local things edible, green, and growing

Hosted by Bee Heaven Farm / Redland Organics

Heirloom Tomato & Vegetable Seedlings
Fruit Trees * Growing Information
Local Food * Live Music
Park Tours * Giveaways * Kids’ Activities
Demos & Presentations

Browsing through a sea of seedlings in the heirloom tomato section. (GrowFest! 2012)

Browsing through a sea of seedlings in the heirloom tomato section. (GrowFest! 2012)

Saturday October 18 and Sunday October 19, 2014
10:00 pm- 5:00 pm
Fruit & Spice Park
24801 SW 187 Ave, Redland FL 33031

$10 cash at gate * Kids under 12 free
Free tickets for military at Vet Tix 

 

Heirloom tomato seedlings. (GrowFest! 2012)

Heirloom tomato seedlings. (GrowFest! 2012)

GrowFest! is about connecting the dots between the farm or garden and the dinner table. It’s about providing the knowledge and materials to grow, forage, buy, prepare, and eat good, local, seasonal food. Engaging the public, encouraging and giving them the tools to grow some of their own will enable them to gain a better appreciation of what it takes for farmers to produce the food we all eat, and whet folks’ appetite for the best, healthiest, and freshest produce.

Start your gardens! Get your seedlings, fruit trees and companion plants. Bee Heaven Farm will have over 100 varieties of heirloom tomato, veggie and hard-to-find herb seedlings. There will be fruit trees, native, and companion plants to promote beneficial insect habitat and gardening supplies. SNAP/EBT dollars can be used for buying veggie seeds and seedlings. And those dollars will stretch twice as far, courtesy of Florida Organic Growers’ Fresh Access Bucks double-value program, to get those gardens growing!

Teresa Olczyk and Jeff Wasielewsky from the UF/IFAS Extension office.

Teresa Olczyk and Jeff Wasielewsky from the UF/IFAS Extension office. (GrowFest! 2013)

Questions about growing? Answers here for backyard growers, urban farmers, small and big farms. The UF/Miami- Dade County Extension Office is our local source for growing information tailored to our subtropical South Florida climate. Check out our presentations, workshops, and demos. There will be special emphasis on organic and environmentally friendly practices, and establishing building blocks for healthy eating.

Chef Jon Gambino makes pizza the way the old Italian guys taught him. (GrowFest! 2013)

Chef Jon Gambino makes pizza the way the old Italian guys taught him. (GrowFest! 2013)

Want to learn how to prepare healthy food? See local chefs use fresh local ingredients to create fun and tasty dishes, school lunches, and snacks. Pick up copies of awesome books highlighting local foods, like Local Flavor: Recipes Raised in the Florida Redland. Grab a hot-off-the-press copy of Edible South Florida Magazine’s Fall issue, chock full of information.

Cuckita “Cookie” Bellande and her daughter of Rochelois Jams.

Cuckita “Cookie” Bellande and her daughter of Rochelois Jams.

Enjoy fresh, great locally-grown food! Tired of that same old fair food? Our food vendors showcase locally-grown Fresh From Florida and Redland Raised ingredients. Local cottage food and artisanal producers will share their stories and sell their goods.

Watch screenings of “Hungry for Justice” a documentary about social justice issues for agricultural workers presented by Florida Organic Growers.

Explore the park! The only tropical botanical garden and public park of its kind in the U.S., the Redland Fruit and Spice Park hosts over 500 varieties of tropical fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, nuts and edible plants. If you’ve ever been to the park, you know what a nice place it is to visit and learn about the amazing variety of edible plants you can grow in South Florida.

Enjoy Music Bluegrass tunes by The Redland Pickers and chill vibes by Satori Kings each day at 11:30 am and 3:30 pm.

Daily Prize drawings each day at 1:15 pm and 4:30 pm. Paid and VIP admission includes a raffle ticket for a chance at some great door prizes!

 

(L to R): Margie Pikarsky, Nick Pikarsky and Louise King of the Tropical Fruit Growers Association (GrowFest! 2012)

(L to R): Margie Pikarsky, Nick Pikarsky, and Louise King of the Tropical Fruit Growers Association (GrowFest! 2012)

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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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GrowFest! 2013

GrowFest-logo-2

October 19-20, 2013
10:00 am – 5:00 pm

A Bee Heaven Farm ~ Redland Organics Event

If you attended the inaugural GrowFest! event last fall, you were one of the hundreds who had a great time browsing for plants, enjoying local food and drinks, and relaxing to sounds of local musicians. Farmer Margie received lots of positive feedback, and with over 900 attending, it was an unqualified success. Now GrowFest! is back for a second year, just in time for planting season.

The stars of the event are undeniably all the heirloom tomato starts that Farmer Margie is famous for. Come pick up all the varieties you love. Lots of other growers will be there also, to provide plants and knowhow for your gardening success.

Grow Fest! is about connecting the dots between farms/gardens and your dinner table. It’s also about providing the knowledge and materials to grow, forage, buy, prepare, and eat good, local, seasonal food.

By engaging, encouraging and enabling visitors about gardening, and giving them the tools to grow some of their own food, you’ll gain a better appreciation of what it takes for farmers to produce the food we all eat, and whet your appetite for the best and freshest produce.

This year’s event will be held, once again, at the Redland Fruit and Spice Park. It’s the perfect venue, as the park hosts over 500 varieties of tropical fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, nuts and edible plants. It’s the only tropical botanical garden and public park of its kind in the country. Take some time to explore all its nooks and crannies. If you’ve never been to the park, this is the time to visit. Redland is the heart of our local agricultural production, so what better place to kick off the winter growing season in South Florida!

This year’s GrowFest! will benefit our own locally-based Urban Oasis Project. Door prizes will be raffled off.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Admission:
$10/$8 in advance (coming soon), children under 12 free
Military families free via VetTix (coming soon)

Location:
Redland Fruit & Spice Park
24801 SW 187th Avenue
(corner of Coconut Palm Drive & Redland Road)
Redland, FL

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The Firework Flower

The Incendiary Blooms of the Guiana Chestnut are hard to miss. Combining arches of vibrant yellow with electric red and white hairs…you could almost call this The Firework Flower.

[Welcome to guest blogger Alex Norelli, contributor to the Organic Gardening blog. Alex is a blogger, poet, and photographer. Here is his view of a month’s visit to Redland. – marian33031]

My first introduction to the Redland was through the Fruit and Spice Park, a great place to see the potentials of this land and climate. When I arrived in the Redlands I expected to see an intense iron-colored soil like the almost inhuman Mars-red fields in La Mancha I remember driving through while in Spain. But I didn’t see it in the soil as much as I found it in the air, in a host of blooms and fruit, some edible, others strictly for the eye.

Such Mainifold color, with red at the center.

Such manifold color and form…the red of the flower’s petals contrasting with the green of unripe bananas is an eye-catching combination. The size of this fruit has no equal where I come from, and perhaps only a rose, or cardinal flower, has a comparably red.

Coming from the north and spending nearly my entire life in zone 6, with short forays into other zones, I was in for a wealth of newness. For one thing, fruits and flowers in zone 6 are usually quite reserved, petite and constrained, nonetheless beautiful, but of a different scale. In the sub-tropics, without a winter to hold back growth, there is never a thought for conservation, or preserving energy to make it through a many-month winter. And so things just grow; wildly, gaudily, loudly, abundantly, fruiting multiples times a year. That simple fact allows for a startlingly different display of color than I am used to, and it’s been an eye-opening pleasure encountering it in the last two months.

This Red is otherworldly…This neon red is too bright for my camera to capture in detail, the luminosity of the color is so great it becomes a iridescent smudge of wild color.

Cranberry Hibiscus, An edible red…its leaves can be steeped to make a tart tea high in Vitamin C

A row of edible red/orange marigolds among an impressive selection from Paradise Farms

This purple star apple shows a bit of the red and blue that make up its color

The Strawberry Tree with its Cotton Candy flavored fruit

I am sure the examples of red are more numerous than I have experienced in only one season. I didn’t even hit on the tomatoes, of which the Cherokee has always caught my eye, not to mention they are one of the tastiest you’ll find. I’ve heard the nearly 150 varieties of mango are truly something to taste and see, and I have not spoke of the orchids. The one red I wish I captured was the rosy blush of a ripe mango, but I was too busy eating them to pause to take a photograph, and anyway, the interior is more delicious to the tongue than the exterior to the eye.

Alex Norelli spends his time between Pennsylvania and New York City where he works as a Roof-top gardener and writes poetry and paints. Recently he found himself in South Florida for a time and has set out to see its many wonders with his own brown eyes. You can see some of his works at www.AlexNorelliArt.com

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