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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.

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Rachel Pikarsky is an up-and-coming printmaker based in Redland. She grew up on Bee Heaven Farm, and has drawn inspiration from the natural and human environment around her.

In her own words:

44594_10151787540143255_103182159_nWhether it be figuring out who someone is to me and where they fit in my world, playing around with silly, slightly cynical ideas, or dissecting my own psyche, my artwork is my way of decoding the world around me. I tend to try to portray the essence of an individual, object, or experience by placing it in an unusual situation and seeing how it responds. In that way my work has a sort of life of its own.

I began playing with the idea of birds for exactly that reason. They are often viewed as diminutive mindless creatures, but to me they are so much more. They possess the amazing ability to remove themselves from any situation they feel uncomfortable in. Therefore, anything I draw them doing, they must have inherently chosen to be in that state. This ended up creating an interesting meaning for me because so often I, like everyone I would imagine, feel trapped doing things I don’t wish to be doing and have little control over how I am reacting.

62486_10151368320283255_566166295_nMy subject matter and even the medium became a sort of therapy for me regarding these sorts of situations. I make prints of different sorts—lithographs, etchings, woodcuts, silkscreens, etc… There is one thing that all of these have in common: they are incredibly tedious and time consuming. I began spending countless hours perfecting a wing or drawing tangled nests and it made me feel completely and utterly, if for just a moment, in control.

I draw inspiration from the people and places around me, which almost always has its roots in nature and the tropics. I try not to shy away from the nitty-gritty of mother nature and instead embrace it and turn it around into a bit of tongue in cheek banter and much of my work has a ridiculous or sarcastic side to it. My work as a whole ends up being a black and white intricacy splattered with bright colors and an expressive drawing style incorporating memorable farmers from the area, fruits with personality, and anxious alcoholic birds!

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GrowFest! vendors

Vendors and exhibitors participating at GrowFest! this year.

Casey’s Corner Nursery – Native foliage for sun or shade, short or tall.
http://www.plantrealflorida.org/professionals/detail/16

Community Arts Cool Ties – Under the sun, we’re all one.
http://www.communityartcoolties.com/

Dade County Farm Bureau – The voice of Dade County agriculture.
http://www.dade-agriculture.org/

Edible South Florida – Exploring our foods, our stories, our community by season.
http://ediblesouthflorida.com/

Envy Botanicals – Carnivorous plants. https://twitter.com/envybotanicals

Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Division of Plant Industry – Works to detect, intercept and control plant and honey bee pests that threaten Florida’s native and commercially grown plants and agricultural resources.
http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Plant-Industry

Florida Organic Growers – Supports and promotes sustainable organic agriculture and provides solutions to the issues facing farmers, families, and everyone in between. http://www.foginfo.org/

Gaby’s Farm – Gourmet tropical fruit ice cream and sorbet.
http://gabysfarm.com/

Going Bananas – Family owned and operated nursery/grove is exclusively devoted to growing many varieties of banana plants and tropical lychee trees.
http://www.going-bananas.com/

Hani’s Mediterranean Organics – Goat milk, goat cheese, goat milk ice cream, Mediterranean cuisine http://www.localharvest.org/hanis-mediterranean-organics-M29177

Homestead Hospital 
http://baptisthealth.net/en/facilities/homestead-hospital/pages/default.aspx

JackPot – Fabric growing containers.
http://www.betterroots.com/

Mango House – Miami’s Mango Mama, Jen Karetnick, displays all things mango: cook book, art, clothing, artifacts.
http://upf.com/book.asp?id=KARET001

Margarita’s Fruit Trees – Tropical fruit trees

The Miami G.R.O.W. Project – Growing, teaching, feeding our community.
http://www.miamigrowproject.org/

Micro Hill Farms – Organically grown microgreens, sunflower shoots, pea tendrils and wheatgrass. http://www.localharvest.org/micro-hill-farms-M62483

Miguel Bode Honey – Local raw honey, pollen, beeswax

Native Conch – Delicious conch fritters

Paradise Farms Organic  – Home of Dinner in Paradise
http://paradisefarms.net/

Redland Organic Herb Farm – Specializing in organic potted herb and vegetable plants.  http://www.redlandorganicherbfarm.com/

Rochelois Jams – Exotic fruit  jams, jellies and chutneys made from local tropical fruits.
http://www.rocheloisjams.com/

Slow Food Miami  – Supporting good, clean and fair food.
http://www.slowfoodmiami.org/home.htm

Teena’s Pride CSA – Ultra fresh vegetables grown on a multi-generation family farm.
http://www.teenaspridecsa.com/

Tropical Fruit & Vegetable Society (Fruit & Spice Park fruit display) – Selling vanilla ice cream with toppings made from park fruits.
http://www.fruitandspicepark.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=16&Itemid=84

UF/IFAS Extension Office  – Solutions for your life.
http://miami-dade.ifas.ufl.edu/index.shtml

The Urban Farmer – Hydroponic farming, organic and naturally grown.
http://theurbanfarmerflorida.com/

Urban Oasis Project – Making fresh, healthy, local food accessible to ALL!
http://www.urbanoasisproject.org/

USDA-NRCS Natural Resources Conservation Service – Agriculture conservation, Farm Bill 2014
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/national/home/

Verde Community Farm and Market – A 22 acre organic farm and market, teaching formerly homeless families how to run a farm.
http://www.verdefarmandmarket.com/

Whole Foods Market 
http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/

 

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GrowFest-logo-2

 

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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GrowFest-logo-2

 

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! schedule

GrowFest-logo-2

Demos, Workshops and Presentations

Saturday, October 19

10:30 am    Plant propagation
10:30 am    Food Safety Modernization Act: It affects me??
11:30 am    Backyard beekeeping
11:30 am    Cottage Food Law: For home-based artisans

12 noon    Vermicomposting
1:00 pm    Florida Organic Growers: Programs of use to you
1:30 am    Backyard beekeeping
2:00 pm    Backyard vegetable growing
2:00 pm    Chef Adri: Quick, healthy, kid-friendly foods
3:00 pm    Raising backyard chickens    and the law
3:00 pm    Rain barrel workshop (pre-registration required)

All day    Master Gardener plant clinic
All day    Children’s activities / Ag in the Classroom
All day    Light bulb and shower head exchange (must bring old one)

Sunday, October 20

10:30 am    Plant propagation
10:30 am    Tropical fruit for South Florida
11:30 am    Backyard beekeeping
11:30 am    Growing mangoes

12 noon    Vermicomposting
1:00 pm    Urban Oasis Project and the Verde Gardens vision
1:30 am    Backyard beekeeping
2:00 pm    Backyard vegetable growing
3:00 pm    Fermentation: food culture!
3:00 pm    DIY: Build an open-air food composter

All day    Master Gardener plant clinic
All day    Children’s activities / Ag in the Classroom
All day    Light bulb and shower head exchange (must bring old one)

Schedule is subject to change

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Start your gardens!

GrowFest-logo-2

Saturday October 19 and Sunday October 20, 2013 
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

GrowFest! 2013 is right around the corner, and it’s a tremendous opportunity to get your seedlings, companion plants and fruit trees for your fall garden. Farmer Margie Pikarsky and her staff have been hard at work growing heirloom tomato starts and other baby plants for the event.

Bee Heaven Farm will offer over 80 varieties of heirloom tomato seedlings, several varieties of eggplant, hot peppers, basil, arugula, chard, kale, Asian greens and perennial herbs like garlic chives, curryleaf, and lemongrass. Other vendors will have 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 Urban Oasis Project/Wholesome Wave Foundation’s double-value program, to get those gardens growing!

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)

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 their presentations and demos. There will be special emphasis on organic and environmentally friendly practices, and establishing building blocks for healthy eating.

Want to learn how to prepare healthy food and kid-friendly snacks? See local chefs use fresh local ingredients to create fun and tasty dishes, school lunches, and snacks. Pick up copies of three awesome books all about local foods — Local Flavor: Recipes Raised in the Florida Redland — Field to Feast: Recipes Celebrating Florida Farmers, Chefs and Artisans — Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida.

Melissa Contreras, author of Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening.

Melissa Contreras, author of Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening.

Enjoy fresh, great food!  Tired of that same old fair food? We’ll have a great selection of healthy foods showcasing locally-grown Fresh From Florida and Redland Raised ingredients. Local cottage food and artisanal producers will share their stories and sell their goods.

Explore the park!  The only tropical botanical garden and public park of its kind in the U.S., the Redland Fruit & 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.

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Margie at GrowFest@beeheavenfarm.com

Want to be a vendor or exhibitor?
Click here for GrowFest! 2013 vendor application.

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

Admission:
$8 advance purchase 
$10 at the gate 
children under 12 free
Includes raffle tickets for a chance at some great door prizes!

The heart of the matter was found at the Bee Heaven Farm tents.

The heart of the matter was found at the Bee Heaven Farm tents. (GrowFest! 2012)

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