Posts Tagged ‘Redland Raised’

DATES: October 15 and 16, 2016, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Fruit & Spice Park, 24801 SW 187 Avenue, Redland, FL
ADMISSION:  $10 cash per person at the gate.
Advance tickets $8 online until Oct. 12 at Brown Paper Tickets .
Children under 12 get in free.
Military families can get free tickets at www.VetTix.org .

A celebration of all local things edible, green, and growing

Redland GrowFest! returns for the fifth year to the Fruit & Spice Park October 15 & 16, 2016. This annual event celebrates all local things edible, green, and growing. Growers offer a bonanza of seedlings, starter plants and native and tropical fruit trees for home or school gardens and food forest projects. Food and artisan vendors feature products made with Redland-Raised ingredients, like the festival’s signature jackfruit curry.

Bee Aware! is this year’s festival theme, highlighting our pollinators, so essential for many crops. The Tropical Beekeepers Association, this year’s event beneficiary, will be on hand to share information about beekeeping from the hobby to the professional level and their educational projects. The club meets the second Tuesday of each month at the Redlands Community Church.

Organic grower and festival organizer Margie Pikarsky, owner of Bee Heaven Farm, believes it’s important for folks in the South Florida area to be aware of our diverse local agricultural resources, and learn how to take advantage of the unique possibilities our tropical climate offers.

The Chefs’ Local Cookoff Challenge on Sunday, joined this year by a similar Students’ Local Cookoff Challenge on Saturday, asks renowned local chefs and students to get creative with a Mystery Box full of Redland-Raised seasonal crops. Awesome deliciousness results from their inspired dishes!

Lectures and demos throughout the weekend by UF/IFAS/Miami-Dade County Extension agents, 4-H, Master Gardeners, and other local experts will inform growers at all levels – from balcony to backyard growers, urban, small and large farmers.

Event sponsors include Dade County Farm Bureau, Edible South Florida, District 8 Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, UF/IFAS Miami-Dade County Extension, Homestead Hospital, FIU Agroecology Program, Slow Food Miami, Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, Fresh From Florida/Redland Raised, Bee Heaven Farm and the Fruit & Spice Park.

For more information and schedule of activities, visit the Redland GrowFest! web site.

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Margie Pikarsky and Charles LaPradd with the new Local Flavors cookbook.

Margie Pikarsky and Charles LaPradd with the new Local Flavors cookbook.

Recently, Charles LaPradd, the county agriculture manager, stopped by Bee Heaven Farm with a special delivery. He unloaded several boxes of Redland’s latest crop — “Local Flavor: Recipes Raised in the Florida Redland” — a very special cookbook two and a half years in the making.

It’s filled with recipes for local produce gathered from growers and cooks. The list of contributors is a who’s who of area growers and cooks. Farmer Margie Pikarsky has three of her own recipes: Avocado Salad (or Chunky Guacamole), Calabaza & Watercress Salad, and Strawberry Black Satin Pudding. “Veronique,” a Sea Grape Martini, was originally concocted with Margie’s sea grapes for a Slow Food Miami event.

If it grows in Redland, there’s a mouthwatering recipe for it, and almost all look quick and easy to make. Carambola is coming into season now, and Star Fruit Chicken Salad caught my eye. A useful chart in the back lists what’s growing when. This is a great book for CSA members to have in their kitchen.

Bios of various farmers were originally included in the  cookbook, but unfortunately didn't make the cut for the final version.

Bios of various farmers were originally included in the cookbook, but unfortunately didn’t make the cut for the final version.

The book is beautifully produced, with luscious pictures of produce and and lovely countryside. Yes, that’s what Miami-Dade County’s back yard looks like! If there is one disappointment, there are no pictures of the finished dishes. The book is thoughtfully designed to be used in a kitchen, with glossy, heavy pages to stand up to drips and spills, and a spiral binding that lets pages lay flat. There’s plenty of white space to scribble comments.

Charles delivered 100 copies, which Margie is selling on her summer web store for $16 each (including tax). You can also buy it from the Dade County Farm Bureau. The book will also be available at the Homestead Book Fair on October 5th. Three thousand copies have been printed. “There’s no room to move in my office,” LaPradd said, laughing. Help him free up some floor space and buy a book!

redland-raised-logo-smallThe cookbook was published so that people can learn about the area, and how to use its products, LaPradd explained. Proceeds from its sales will go toward raising money to pay for colorful produce stickers with the Redland Raised logo.

Starting this October, those stickers plus in-store displays should be in Publix stores so shoppers can clearly identify what’s locally grown. Some of the local produce to look for (as it comes into season) is green beans, yellow squash, zucchini, boniato, okra and avocados. And if you don’t find those displays, or if they’re on produce that clearly isn’t from here, complain to the store’s produce manager. This is information that LaPradd’s office provides free to stores.

If Redland Raised sounds vaguely familiar, the brand was launched with great hope and promise on October 29, 2009. Various dignitaries including LaPradd, county mayor Carlos Alvarez, several commissioners, a bunch of Redland growers, and store execs gathered in the produce department of a Publix near Tropical Park for the kickoff. But a cold winter freeze that damaged a lot of crops caused a setback, and both local veggies and signage disappeared from stores. Now the program is rallying a comeback, and hopefully sales of the new “eat local” cookbook will revive interest from both cooks and retailers.

The Redland Raised brand was LaPradd’s brainchild, and it was designed to be used in conjunction with the state ag department’s Fresh From Florida brand. Only Redland growers who are members of the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign (FAPC) can use the Redland Raised logo to promote their produce as grown in Redland.

Surrounded by a bounty of local, Redland produce, Charles LaPradd speaks at the launch in 2009.

Surrounded by a bounty of local, Redland produce, Charles LaPradd speaks at the launch in 2009.

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Redland Raised, Fresh From FloridaRedland Raised launch event:
Thursday Oct. 29th, 10- 11 am
Publix at Tropicaire Shopping Center
7805 SW 40th Street, Miami

Starting this week, you won’t have to go too far to find locally grown produce. Redland Raised branded green beans, yellow squash, zucchini, boniato, okra and avocados will be available at all 1000 Publix stores in the state, during the local growing season which runs from November through April.

Miami-Dade County, Publix and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Fresh From Florida program teamed up to promote a “buy local” program throughout the county and state.

Charles LaPradd, Miami-Dade’s agriculture manager, was quoted as saying, “We were looking for a way to just make our local produce down here known a little bit better,” LaPradd said. “When you go local, you go green.”

Needless to say, larger local growers are delighted with this huge new market for their produce. Publix says the Redland Raised will help them keep transportation costs down, which should result in lower prices for customers, and a smaller carbon footprint.

Miami-Dade County’s agriculture industry is number two in the state (after Palm Beach County) and 18th in the country, generating an estimated $2.7 billion for the local economy.

On the Miami-Dade County web site, on the Office of the County Mayor’s page:

Buy Local, Redland Raised available at Publix

For South Floridians who want to buy local… the shopping experience is about to get even better. Thanks to a partnership with Publix Super Markets, more than 1,000 Publix stores will soon feature locally-grown fresh produce. The produce will be dubbed Redland Raised.

Along with ”organic”, ”buy-one-get-one-free”, and ”on sale” – Redland Raised can be the new buzz word in grocery store shopping. While Publix has always supported our local agriculture industry – shoppers who walk the produce aisle can now look for special labeling and displays that show when green beans, zucchini, avocados and more come from our very own backyard.

Redland Raised is a way to educate and encourage our residents to invest in local produce and in turn, stimulate our local economy. Miami-Dade County’s agriculture industry is number 2 in the state and number 18 in the country, generating an estimated $2.7 billion for our local economy.

I would like to thank Publix Super Markets for making it possible to promote our local brand, and for their continued investment in our community.

Enjoy Redland Raised!

Mayor Carlos Alvarez

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