Posts Tagged ‘Little River Market Garden’

artisanal fair

Saturday, September 28, 2013
12 noon to 4:00 pm
Free admission

The Wolfsonian Museum is teaming up with local farms and makers of food products for this all-about-the-local-food-you eat event.

Artisanal Fair @ The Wolf and CSA Sign-Up is a fantastic opportunity to meet your local farmers. Come find out more about local food grown by Margie Pikarsky of Bee Heaven Farm and sign up for one of her Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm shares.

Teena Borek from Teena’s Pride CSA and Muriel Olivares from Little River Market Garden CSA (sold out for this season!) will also be there. Buying from a CSA a great way to support a local farmer, and get fresh produce every week during our harvest season.

Participating local food vendors include: Cao Chocolates, The Cheesecake Gallery, Dauphin Kaffee artisanal coffees, Freakin’ Flamingo jams and jellies, Pop Nature popsicles and paletas, Proper Sausages, and Simply Sharon’s “treats that heal.”

At 2:00 pm, take a special guided tour of the current Modern Meals exhibit. It will be led by museum staff and Teena Borek.

This event is co-presented by The Village Stand gourmet shop and Slow Food Miami.

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Hot chilis, the heart of kimchee.

I first met Muriel Olivares last year at Bee Heaven Farm, where she was farm manager for the season. Not only did she help things run smoothly, but she was always making interesting things with the veggies that were in the barn that week. One Friday I discovered that she had brine pickled a gigantic jar of French breakfast radishes, and I blogged about it here. Another Friday it was a big batch of kimchee — garlicky, peppery, a bit pungent, and totally amazing.

I’d learned how to make vinegary quick pickles from Hiromi, another farm intern from a few years ago, but fermentation was new to me. So when I got Muriel’s email that she was going to hold a kimchee making workshop at her Little River Market Garden, I jumped at the chance. Finally I would learn her secrets!

Urban farmer Muriel Olivares at her outdoor kitchen.

About two dozen people were thinking the same way and showed up too. Located in a leafy, secluded corner of northeast Miami, Muriel’s city-lot-sized garden had been transformed from a grassy vacant yard with a few fruit trees to a flourishing mini-farm, complete with wood fired pizza oven and outdoor kitchen. It was there that Muriel was set up with all the necessary tools and ingredients, including a restaurant-sized tub of chopped and brined Napa cabbage.

Getting a sniff of chili paste. This is what preserves the cabbage and other vegetables.

The recipe is posted on three different blogs — Little River Market Garden, My Edible Yard, and mango&lime — so I won’t repeat the exact details. Suffice to say that the ratio is 2 parts cabbage (about one head of Napa or bok choy) to one part radish/daikon/turnip and 2 cups of chili paste. (Carrots, half as much as daikon, can be used to sweeten it a bit.) The heart of the matter is the freshly-made chili paste. Muriel made it with several onions, a prodigious amount of garlic, half as much of ginger, and plenty of fresh and dried hot peppers, which were moistened with cider vinegar, a bit of honey and a bit of olive oil. (OK, so the oil isn’t truly authentic, but Argentineans use olive oil for everything.) She blended it together and soon the thick aroma of peppers and garlic wafted over us sitting in the nearby chairs. “Chili paste is what preserves kimchee,” Muriel said, explaining that garlic and peppers have antibacterial qualities. “Salt is not what’s keeping it sterile.”

Olivia and Muriel mixing all the ingredients. Don’t forget gloves if you mix a big batch by hand. The peppers will burn!

An assistant was drafted and the yellow gloves came on to mix the tub full of copped vegetables and chili paste. It smelled great and everybody crowded around to smell the spicy aroma, take pictures and fill their empty jars to take home.

But now the real fun begins. Kimchee is fermented food, and there wasn’t enough vinegar to pickle it, so preservation has to come from other means. Muriel advised to leave the open jar out on the counter for as long as three days. At home, I took the lid off the jar, weighed down the contents with a plastic bag of water, and covered it with a coffee filter held down with a rubber band. No refrigeration allows natural fermentation to begin. Muriel had cautioned to set the jar in a shallow bowl or dish, because liquid would come out. Sure enough, it did for several days, along with a strong odor. “Liquid comes out as the bacteria metabolize, which releases gas bubbles, which makes water rise over the top, ” Muriel explained in an email.

Ara, who writes My Edible Yard blog, shoots it out with me. Say kimchee!

My jar stayed out for five days, just to see what would happen next, and liquid stopped seeping out on the fourth or fifth day. Took the filter and bag off, leaving about an inch of space, and put the lid back on. The jar of kimchee is now sitting in the refrigerator. “Putting a lid on it and putting it in the fridge dramatically slows down fermentation (bacteria metabolism) so liquid will stop coming out.  A little pressure may form in the jar so it’s good to leave a small space (meaning not full to the top),” Muriel added in her email.

Kimchee can stay out longer, I was told by Farmer Margie, and then keep in the frig for months (if it doesn’t get all eaten). It would only be fitting to bring the jar to Bee Heaven’s barn, where my discoveries in fermentation began, and try it out on this season’s interns and apprentices. Stay tuned!

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Sunday, October 17th Rain or Shine
From 10am-3pm
at the Little River Market Garden
8290 NE 4th Ave.
Street parking all along our block


Heirloom tomato seedling ready for transplanting into your garden. Photo by Muriel Olivares.


We’ve prepared a really nice selection of our favorite varieties, mostly heirloom, grown in 65% homemade compost and 35% sphagnum peat moss. NO chemicals, NO pesticides.

All plants are in 4″ re-used plastic pots.

$4.00 each, every 5 get one free!

All seed packets are $3.00 each.


Bring boxes, carts or bags to carry your seedlings home.


CHERRY TOMATOES: Sungold, Black Cherry, Amish Red, Ghost Cherry
SAUCE TOMATOES: Amish Paste, Federele
SLICING TOMATOES: Cherokee Purple, Gold Medal, Lime Green Salad, Florida Pink, Black Prince, Green Zebra
PEPPERS: Golden Hot, Early Jalapeno, Biscayne Cubanelle, Antohi Romanian
EGGPLANTS: Orient Charm, Black Coral, Long Italian Purple, Raveena
BASIL: Genovese Basil

*Luffa Gourd, *Mustard, *Gandules a.k.a Pigeon Peas, Sunhemp, Buckwheat, Cow Peas

*There will also be a small selection of seeds for sale.  These are plants that grow very well in our climate and most of them make good cover crops.

For more information:

web site: Little River Market Garden
phone: 786-991-4329

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Cover crops growing at Little River Market Garden.

Tucked away in an obscure corner of northeast Miami, a new vegetable garden is starting to take shape in what was an empty city lot. Long straight rows of cover crops — Sunn hemp, cow peas and velvet bean — raise their young leaves to the late afternoon sun. In between rows of cover crop, peanuts are just starting to show pretty little yellow flowers. Loofa vines race to the top of the chain link fence at the front of the property, and a row of cassava flourishes alongside a stepping stone path. Over on one side is a trellis for a muscadine grapevine already forming a miniature cluster of fruit, and sweet potatoes grow beneath. Sage and other herbs are planted in a well-mulched S-shaped bed edged by palm tree logs. In the shade of an ancient mango tree loaded with fruit, a teepee shaped chicken coop holds several brown hens.

Welcome to the Little River Market Garden. This is the handiwork of Muriel Olivares, last year’s farm manager at Bee Heaven Farm. She created this garden from scratch a mere six weeks ago, planting on land leased from friends. Only grass and several trees were growing in what was once part of a citrus grove many decades ago. Now, weathered cardboard peeks out from the edges of some vegetable rows, and Muriel explained that it was set down right over the grass, with compost piled on top. The cardboard is already breaking down, and vegetable roots will easily push through it. In between planted rows, mulch neatly covers grass. The cover crops will get cut down and as they decompose, will add more nutrients to the compost.

This technique of piling on compost and mulch is called no-till because the soil is not tilled or disturbed by a tractor. Tilth builds up naturally without getting disrupted by tilling, and weeds are less likely to grow because they are smothered by compost and mulch. “No-till improves the soil by building soil structure and adding nutrients with compost,” Muriel explained. “It’s a very old technique. No matter the scale of farming, the concept is the same — never disturb the soil and always keep it covered.”

Muriel Olivares

The Garden will provide food for 11 people who have already signed up for CSA shares and flower shares. She says she might be able to squeeze in a couple more members, so if you’re interested, let her know. Her season runs for 21 weeks from November to April. Muriel wants to sell extra veggies and cut flowers at farmers markets, and is already inquiring about getting in to a few in the area. Check out her blog, Little River Market Garden, for news about the garden and updates about markets (once the season starts).

Muriel is confident that her crops and market garden will flourish. She took what she learned working as an intern for a season at a no-till organic farm in upstate New York, and combined that with skills learned at Bee Heaven helping run the CSA and selling at farmers market. Now she is is gambling that she can make a living as a market gardener. “This is my full time job, eight hours a day.” She doesn’t have a “day job” to tide her over. This is it!

So why do this crazy, risky thing? “I really like to be outdoors,” Muriel explained, “and to do what I want to do.” She paused and thought for a moment. “It sounds really weird but I have this connection to plants. I’m absorbed by them. I’m interested in them. Working with plants gives me mental energy.” She chose the urban location because she likes the city and found Redland too isolated. “This is a nice, happy medium. It’s very peaceful, but you’re in the city.” Here she is close to home, her friends, and her customers. When market season starts in winter, look for Little River and say hi to Muriel, the new generation of urban farmer.

Little River Market Garden
8290 NE 4th Ave.
Miami, FL 33138


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