Posts Tagged ‘Redland Organics’

The Pinecrest Gardens Green Market opened for the season two Sundays ago, and you couldn’t ask for a better day, sunny and cool, and not too humid. It was a great day to take the kids and dogs outside and stroll among the tents, shop for farm fresh produce and grab a bite to eat.

Farm intern helping shoppers with their purchases.

The big Redland Organics tent dominated the west entrance of the market, and its tables were loaded with a variety of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. It’s one of many sellers returning this year, and plenty more new ones were added to the mix. There are 50 vendors this year, according to Alana Perez, the Director of Pinecrest Gardens. I caught her prowling the market snapping pictures with her iPhone. She was delighted about the turnout on the first morning of the season. “This has really taken off, it’s huge!” she exclaimed. “The market has community support and it has a loyal following.” And the hungry community was there shopping up a storm. They lined up eight and ten deep to pay at the Redland Organics tent. By noon, Farmer Margie had sold out of grape tomatoes, all greens, and most fruit and vegetables. Only a few green peppers, zucchini, thai basil and some mamey remained.

Eggplants with schnozzles, proboscis, protruberances, and curlicues.

This year the market setup was a bit different. The tents were moved back to a row of banyan trees behind the main parking lot for the Gardens. It was hard to see tents from the road when I drove up. Then I spotted two small signs pointing me to the parking lot. Some vendors would have preferred to be visible from the street, like last year. But Alana Perez explained the move freed up more parking spaces. And Farmer Margie pointed out that the trees provide shade that helps keep produce from wilting in the heat.

Of the 50 vendors, there were more selling non-food items, like stoneware and solar systems. One produce seller groused, “It becomes more like bargaintown.” Bud and Linda, two shoppers who stopped to chat with me, love the market but had mixed feelings about its new incarnation. Bud told me, “I don’t want it to be like a flea market. There shouldn’t be anything that’s not edible.” Linda liked the old location by the street, and found the narrow aisles a bit claustrophobic. Both shop at the market to support local growers. “The people who are local are proud to be local,” Bud pointed out. “As for people who are not, it should be compulsory to say where the food came from.” (If they don’t have a sign, peek under the table at the produce boxes to discover where things came from.)

Farmer Nick offers a taste of local honey.

Most produce was local, and customers who want something that’s not ready for harvest right now will just have to wait a little longer. Overheard at the Redland Organics tent:

Customer: I want kale. Why don’t you have kale?
Farmer: Because it’s not ready yet. It’s not in season.
Customer: How come Whole Foods has kale?
Farmer: Because they get it from California!

Farmers markets are about eating in season, celebrating local food, and enjoying freshness you won’t find in any supermarket. Support your local farmers and you’ll support local families too.

Local food bloggers Laura Lafata of La Diva Cucina, Trina Sargalski of Miami Dish, and Paula Nino of Mango & Lime.

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The 70th annual Fairchild Ramble is this weekend. If you haven’t been, it’s a huge, amazing event, with plant sales, food vendors, a calliope — and my favorite, the Farmer’s Greenmarket.

Redland Organics will be there, of course. If you missed out on getting tomato starts at the Edible Garden Festival not too long ago, or you want to get more, you’re in luck. Farmer Margie will have smaller assortment of tomato plants, along with arugula and collard starts, flowers including tithonia (Mexican sunflower), and a varied assortment of organic fruits, vegetables and herbs.

IMPORTANT — Redland Organics will NOT be at the Pinecrest Gardens Green Market this Sunday! But, Farmer Margie will be back the following weekend.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
10901 Old Cutler Road
Coral Gables, FL 33156
Phone: 305-667-1651

Members may enter at 9:00 a.m.; Non-members may enter at 9:30 a.m.

Admission: Free to Fairchild members and children 5 and under. Non-members: $25 for adults, $18 for seniors 65 and up and $12 for children 6-17.
Eco-discount: If you ride your bike, walk or use public transportation, receive $5 off for adults and $2 off for children.
For driving directions, click here.

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You can buy heirloom tomato starts raised at Bee Heaven Farm this weekend at the Edible Garden Festival held at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

Here’s a list of what kinds of starts will be available this weekend.

Heirloom tomato starts: Mexico, Speckled Roman, Zapotec Pleated, Homestead 24, Taxi, Tigerella, Black Prince, Amish Gold (an awesome cross between Sun Gold and Amish Paste), Black Cherry, Brown Berry, Black Plum, Black Zebra, Cream Sausage, Green Zebra, Red Zebra, Black Zebra,  Large Red, Lime Green Salad, Italian Heirloom, Federle, Opalka, Orange Banana, Super Snow White Cherry, Pink Ping Pong, Striped German, Tiny Tim, Koralik, Dr. Carolyn, Tommy Toe, Sun Gold, Creole, Healani, Tropic, Jaune Flamme, Matt’s Wild Cherry, Peacevine, Podland Pink, Podland Pink, Yellow Pear and many more!

Several varieties of tomato starts are registered in the Slow Food Ark of Taste. They are: Cherokee Purple, Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter, Sudduth’s Brandywine, Amish Paste, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, German Pink, Valencia and Red Fig. For a food to be listed in the Ark of Taste, “it has to have something exceptionally good, like flavor, or be in danger of disappearing because not enough people are growing it anymore,” Margie explained.

Veggie & Herb Starts: Arugula, Listada de Gandia Eggplant, Florida Highbush Eggplant, Garlic Chives, and more.

First harvests from Redland Organics growers:

From Redland farms: Certified organic Avocados, Carambola, curryleaf, fresh dried allspice berries, Thai basil, jakfruit, Rachel’s Eggs, local Wildflower Farm Honey and Tropical Fruit Honey.

From Punta Gorda partner Worden Farm: Cukes, squash, radishes, turnips, dandelions, bok choy, scallions, collards, dill & basil.

Prices for any combination of starts are $3 each, buy 5 get an extra one free (6 for $15). Buy 15 get 5 more free (20 for $45). All new this season, Redland Organics will have a credit card terminal and a SNAP terminal to make your shopping easier.

Also at the Festival, Margie is scheduled to give a talk about growing tomatoes called Beefsteaks are BORING! “Get away from beefsteaks, they take too long to grow. Be more adventurous!” she said. “Cherry tomato varieties do so much better down here.”

Several Redland Organics growers, members and others connected to R. O. will be giving presentations. Here’s the select lineup:

Saturday Oct. 23

1:30 p.m. Green Garden Enchiladas cooking demo by Adri Garcia, Greenrocks Foods, LLC.  Mise en Place, LLC., Cooking Tent
2:00 p.m.
Cheese making demonstration with Hani Khouri, Corbin A

Sunday Oct. 24

10:30 a.m. Drip Irrigation workshop, Muriel Olivares, next to Butterfly Garden
11:30 a.m. Tomato time! Beefsteaks are BORING!  Margie Pikarsky, Garden House
12:00 p.m. Urban Food Forests, Marion Yanez, Corbin A
12:30 p.m. How to Make a Raised Bed Garden, Urban Oasis Project, next to Butterfly Garden
2:30 p.m. Your Edible Organic Garden, Ben Thacker, Garden House

Edible Garden Festival
Saturday October 23 and Sunday October 24, 2010
9:30 am to 4:30 pm
Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden
10901 Old Cutler Road Coral Gables, FL 33156
Phone: 305-667-1651

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Earthfest 2010

In honor of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, Miami-Dade Parks, Earth Learning, and Expand the Love present the annual Earthfest 2010, an annual festival promoting all things ecologically sustainable, on Sunday, April 18, noon – 6 p.m., at Crandon Park Visitor and Nature Center, located at the north beach entrance of Crandon Park, 6767 Crandon Blvd., in Key Biscayne.

The free, day-long annual event will feature the very best vegetarian and vegan foods, live performances, workshops, “green” vendors offering earth-friendly products, an electronics recycling center, and environmental educational organizations. Redland Organics will be there selling fresh herbs, heirloom tomatoes, carrots, dried fruit, honey and other late-season goodies. The Miami-Dade Parks EcoAdventures™ staff of naturalists will provide Eco Tram tours of the Bear Cut preserve and guided nature walks through the coastal hardwood hammocks of Crandon Park.

Workshops will be going on from noon to 5 p.m. on various topics including:

  • Raised bed organic gardening
  • Raw foods preparation
  • Introduction to permaculture design
  • Retrofitting your home for greater efficiency
  • Growing a food forest in your backyard
  • Qigong and Yoga
  • Every child outside
  • World Café
  • Deep ecology, and more

Earthfest will also feature musical and artistic performances by groups including Heavy Pets, Teri Catlin, Sosos, PHIsonica with Kavayah Amn and Xavier Hawk, Soulflower, Jai (formerly Soul Temple), Jude Papaloko, and Lucho performing an Earth healing ceremony hosted by Val Silidker. Performances are presented by Expand the Love.

There will also be a community drum circle and patrons are encouraged to bring a drum or other percussion instruments to participate.

Admission to Earthfest 2010 is free.  There is a $6 per car parking fee.  (There is a $1.50 toll on the Rickenbacker Causeway.)  Sorry, no pets! For more information on Earthfest 2010, please visit the website at www.earthfest.us, or call the Crandon Park Visitor and Nature Center at 305-361-6767, ext. 112.

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Roots in the City Farmers Market in Overtown

Just west of new luxury high rises on Biscayne, a row of white tents sprang up on the corner of NW 2nd Ave. and 10 St., smack dab against a patch of young collard greens. Underneath the tents, farm fresh fruits and vegetables were arranged on tables. The newest farmers market was launched on Wednesday in Historic Overtown, one of the oldest and underserved neighborhoods in Miami. If people couldn’t come to market to get much needed produce, well, the market was going to come to them. There hasn’t been an actual farmers market in downtown for decades.

Locals checking out and buying from Redland Organics.

Two local growers were at the Roots in the City Farmers Market. Farmer Margie from Redland Organics put out a colorful display of radishes and white Asian salad turnips, carrots and celery, Asian greens, loquats, canistel and black sapote. Under the next tent, farmers Teena Borek and her son Michael from Teena’s Pride Farm brought tomatoes, red bell peppers, white eggplant that looked like bowling pins, and bunches of greens.

John Lealand Laundry likes celery.

The market was open from 1 to 4, and there was a fairly steady trickle of curious neighbors wandering over. A lot of looking, a bit of curious sniffing and tasting, but mostly people were excited that a farmers market suddenly appeared on their street. People bought a few things, choosing carefully. One resident told me that there are several groceries in the neighborhood, including a Winn Dixie on the other side of I-95, but produce is very expensive.

Market tokens

Some neighbors paid with cash and some were happy to find out they could use food stamps. That was the best part, the most amazing thing. The Roots market is set up to accept food stamps (also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP). Even better, the Roots market has implemented a Double Value Coupon Program that would double the value of a person’s food stamp purchases. For example, if somebody bought five dollars worth of veggies, they would get that equal amount in tokens they can then use to buy more food at the market.

This bit of shopping ingenuity and the Roots market came about from the collaboration of many entities. The Wholesome Wave Foundation has set up similar “Nourishing Neighborhoods” programs at over 80 farmers markets around the country, and provided leadership, training and seed money. Health Services Coalition handled the actual SNAP transactions, acting as a go-between the farmers and the buyers, and is putting the word out in the community. Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink enlisted Margie and Teena, the first two local family farmers to participate, and helped with fundraising and promotions. And the Roots in the City community garden (which is raising nearby collards, and has two acres of garden in the immediate area) offered space for the market, and added its produce to sell.

People from HSC on hand to handle SNAP sales and manage tokens.

The Roots market will have a dedication ceremony in two weeks, on Wednesday April 7. Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado has been invited, and there will most likely be other dignitaries attending. The market will run for four weeks, with maybe an extension for four more, and is scheduled to resume in fall.

Listen to Low-cost produce comes to Miami’s Overtown, the WLRN report by Joshua Johnson, here. The Genuine Kitchen has posted the press release (with lots of good information) here. And Mango & Lime posted her report on the market opening here.

Miss Sarah tells it like it is to the media.

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