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Friday January 6, 2012
TIME: 3:00 p.m.
HOST FARMER: Hani Khouri, Hani’s Mediterranean Organics
GUEST CHEF: Alejandro Pinero, Sustain
PRICE: $190.00 SOLD OUT! Seats still available as of Dec 28.

Outstanding in the Field is hosting a farm dinner at Hani’s goat farm next week. The event is only one of two Florida stops on their North American Tour of dinners. (The next stop is at Lake Meadow Naturals farm in Ocoee outside of Orlando.) The organization’s mission is “to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it.” Since 1999, the group has hosted diners all over the world, in all kinds of exotic settings. This coming week, guests will be dining near gentle Nubian goats safely contained in their pen.

Enough tables and chairs to accommodate 100 guests will be set up in the front yard, in a grove of oak trees with a view of the goat pen. Guests will be able to interact with the goats, and feed them roasted peanuts. (Goats are browsers, not grazers, and eat all kinds of things. Peanuts are one of their favorites.) “My farm is unique,” Hani said. “Where else will you find goats? And I’m the only cheesemaker, too.”

Hani will provide a variety of cheeses, and help source other local ingredients. Chef Alex from Sustain restaurant in Midtown Miami is creating the menu using fresh and local ingredients. “Sustain has been buying cheese from me for a long time,” Hani said. “I delivered extra cheese for them, 18 pounds of different kinds, mostly hallumi, on an emergency basis during Art Basel.” Chef Alex is also the one coordinating the event with Outstanding in the Field.

Outstanding in the Field is committed to honoring local farmers and food artisans. “Wherever the location, the consistent theme of each dinner is to honor the people whose good work brings nourishment to the table.” Several organic farmers — Margie Pikarsky at Bee Heaven Farm, Gabriele Marewski at Paradise Farms, and Robert Barnum at Possum Trot Tropical Fruit Nursery — have been hosting popular farm dinners and similar events (whether elegant affairs or humble events) for a number of years. Hopefully through this event, the local growers and Redland historic farming district will get a much-needed boost in agritourism.

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Hani’s cute kids


The baby goats and their mothers nibble on a royal palm frond. Goats are browsers and will eat all kinds of vegetation.

Hani Khouri makes ice cream and several varieties of cheese using milk from his own herd of Nubian goats. He keeps them on his farm in Redland. It’s always fun to visit and take pictures of cute and friendly goats. They, in turn, like to nibble on my shirt and fingers if I’m not paying attention.

The new kids on the farm hanging out underneath the milking stand. The white one still has his umbilical cord. They are about a week old in this picture.

Back in March, Hani’s herd grew to 17 with the arrival of two new kids. They’re both male, which is a problem, because two grown bucks are already in the herd. Hani prefers to keep only one buck with his female goats.

Marylee Khouri holds one of the new kids.

When I went to see the kids, they were only a few weeks old and in that awwww how cuuuute stage. Now they are four months old, bigger but still cute, and Hani is looking to sell them — but only to the right buyer. “Not to eat, and no santeria!” he said. He’d like to see them go to a herd where they can grow up and live out their lives.

If you are interested please contact Hani at www.hanisorganics.com If you are located in Miami-Dade or Broward counties and are interested in purchasing goat cheese, goat milk ice cream, or Mediterranean food, you may do so through his web site.

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