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Posts Tagged ‘Jon Gambino’

(part 2 of 2)

There was plenty at GrowFest! to feed your body, mind and soul. Maybe the best part was all the delicious locavore treats. You could seriously nibble your way from one end of the festival to the other and leave with a full belly.

Front and center, right when you entered the park, was the Urban Oasis Project’s tent where Melissa Contreras, Art Friedrich and Carl Templar set up a mini farmer’s market. Tables were piled with all kinds of fresh local produce in season — starfruit, dragon fruit, longans, jackfruit, okra, eggplant, avocados, tomatoes, baby arugula, seminole pumpkin, plus oyster mushrooms, raw honey, organic rice and heirloom tomato seedlings. If you were hungry, you could dig into an addictive bag of Shawnee’s Greenthumb spirulina popcorn. And, if you’re hungry for knowledge, Melissa’s book “Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in South Florida” is a useful resource geared for South Florida gardener. (You can find it at the Upper Eastside and Southwest farmers markets, or get it on Amazon.)

Art Friedrich answers questions about tropical fruit.

Art Friedrich answers questions about tropical fruit.

This year, GrowFest! donated over $1000 to Urban Oasis, and Melissa was thrilled by the gift. “We will use those funds for food and nutrition education at the Verde market,” she said. Her non-profit was recently given a contract to manage the market and farm at Verde Gardens, a low-income housing community in Homestead. Urban Oasis operates several farmers markets in underserved neighborhoods. Event organizer Margie Pikarsky said, “This year I chose Urban Oasis Project for their efforts to bring affordable food to underserved communities. I decided that each year the event will benefit a nonprofit organization which supports/promotes/educates about local food and local agriculture.”

Chef Jon Gambino makes pizza the way the old Italian guys taught him.

Chef Jon Gambino makes pizza the way the old Italian guys taught him.

Delicious aromas of wood fired pizza — yes, pizza! — wafted through the festival. Chef Jon Gabino of Three Sisters Farm brought his pizza oven, pizza dough, and carefully stacked wood next to his work table. Jon’s hands danced with circles of dough, and finished pizzas flew out of the oven as fast as he could make them. Rachael Middleton offered roselle and lemongrass teas and jaboticaba sorbet to complete the meal. Pizza is one of many vegetarian dishes that Three Sisters Farm offers on their Saturday night Farm Meal. Nearly everything on the menu is super local, sourced from the farm or growers nearby. Make your reservations online here.

Jon Gambino and Rachael Middleton serve up pizza while it's hot.

Jon Gambino and Rachael Middleton serve up pizza while it’s hot.

Beekeeper Rigo Delaportilla tells it like it is.

Beekeeper Rigo Delaportilla tells it like it is.

At the demo tent,  there was lots of information to feed your mind. Workshops were scheduled through both days on many gardening topics. Urban beekeeper Rigo De La Portilla spoke on backyard beekeeping. He is one of several local beekeepers who captures swarms and home infestations without killing bees.  Other popular talks were on plant propagation, growing mangoes, vermicomposting (using red wiggler worms to make compost), raising chickens, and setting up a rain barrel.

Robert Morgan Jazz Combo

Robert Morgan Jazz Combo

No festival is complete with without music. This year, music students from Robert Morgan Educational Center’s string quartet performed on Saturday. They had so much fun last year they came back again, and brought the jazz combo with them. On Sunday, members of the South Florida Bluegrass Society livened things up with their old timey tunes.

Cliff and Friends from the South Florida Bluegrass Association

Cliff and Friends from the South Florida Bluegrass Association

Eliza Delaportilla

Eliza Delaportilla with local raw honey, beeswax candles, and some tools of the trade.

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

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

Congressman Joe Garcia makes friends with 4-H members.

Congressman Joe Garcia takes a picture with 4-H members.

The celebrity sighting, as it were, came on Sunday afternoon. As I was hanging out by the Extension tent, Congressman Joe Garcia, accompanied by Kevin Chambliss, sauntered into the park and started greeted people. Everybody ran to take a picture with the congressman. You know that your event is on the map when local politicians come to visit!

GrowFest! will be back at the Fruit and Spice Park next year, bigger and better. See you there!

Cuckita “Cookie” Bellande and her daughter of Rochelois Jams

Cuckita “Cookie” Bellande and her daughter of Rochelois Jams

Tom of Florida Keys Sea Salt offers a sampling of salt on an apple slice.

Tom from Florida Keys Sea Salt offers a sampling of salt on an apple slice.

Master Gardeners were on hand to solve problems.

Master Gardeners were on hand to solve problems.

Hani Khouri builds a hot, fresh falafel for hungry customers. His special hot sauce made from ghost and Thai peppers was amazing!

Hani Khouri builds a hot, fresh falafel for hungry customers. His special hot sauce made from ghost and Thai peppers was amazing!

Miguel Bode brought his wide assortment of honey.

Miguel Bode brought his wide assortment of honey.

King Moringa: The world's most nutritious tree

King Moringa: The world’s most nutritious tree

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This weekend, come meet farmer Rachael Middleton and chef Jon Gambino of Three Sisters Farm, which is located, quite conveniently, across the street from the Fruit and Spice Park. Rachael and Jon are bringing plants and tastes of their farm to GrowFest!

The farmer and chef couple will have an assortment of edible plants for sale, whatever they are able to haul across the street for the weekend. “We have some interesting different fruit trees, and cool tropical roots, like malanga. We have a good variety of heirloom tomato seedlings and some different peppers,” Rachael told me. Besides vegetable seedlings, they’re also offering larger plants as well.

“We have a lot of big stuff that we can’t bring across the street, but we will have a plant list and give a sampling of what our nursery has right now. Since we are an active farm year round, we are always producing root stocks and pups, and have suckers in abundance at the farm. People are welcome to contact us if they are interested in getting plants anytime throughout the growing season,” Rachael said.

Tastes will come mostly from whatever is in season at their organic and biodynamic farm. “We will offer a variety of drinks, including a sorrel drink (it really tastes like Hawaiian Punch). We’ll also have jaboticaba sorbet (and a limited quantity of fresh jaboticaba fruit!).”

Chef Jon recently acquired a wood fire oven, which he has been using to bake fresh bread for his Farm Meals. “The oven is one of our favorite new things this season,” Rachael said. “It’s amazing, and we have been doing a lot of baking at the farm lately because of it. We are going to bring the oven over to the park and bake fresh bread and make pizzas.” Come find out what kind of tropical toppings will grace goodies hot out of the oven at GrowFest!

Three Sisters Farm

If you would love to visit and dine at Three Sisters Farm, chef Jon Gambino offers a Farm Meal every Saturday by reservation only. “The meal begins with a private tour where you get to see everything we are growing on our active, working, natural farm,” Rachael said.  “At the end of the tour, you are seated on our beautiful tropical tiki deck, where if you time your reservation right, you will be able to catch a beautiful view of the sunset.

“The farm meal uses all of our own ingredients (sometimes supplementing with some of the best of what our neighbors have to offer) to create a multi-course gourmet tasting feast. Our ingredients are a wide variety including tropical fruits, veggies you know and love and some you may not know you love yet, tropical roots, and spices.  What Jon does with all those amazing ingredients is equally varied and exciting. He also makes delicious handmade pastas, fantastic breads and pizzas (baked in our wood fire oven, which you can see from the tiki deck).

“The Farm Meal is $85 a person and we sometimes offer a fish option for an additional $15. Don’t worry about not being full, it’s a multi-course (at least 5) feast. Do dress comfortably for walking around on the farm and outdoor dining.  It’s BYOB, no cork fee.”

The next Farm Meal is scheduled for Oct. 26th. This Saturday, Oct. 19th, there is no Farm Meal because of the festival. “We are pretty much a two man (sometimes three) show,” Rachael explained.

For reservations and more information:
Three Sisters Farm
18401 SW 248th St.
Homestead, FL 33031
305-209-8335

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