Posts Tagged ‘Robert Barnum’

Miami Herald food writer Nancy Ancrum has fallen in love with Robert Barnum’s lavender vichyssoise. (Those of you who attended the Potato Pandemonium last year may remember its pale purple color and delicate taste.) She has written about it — and gives an advance preview of the Earth Dinner on Saturday night.

Spuds star

By Nancy Ancrum

Potatoes aren’t the first crop that comes to mind when you think of the Redland. They probably don’t even come in second or third — or ninth or tenth.But Robert Barnum, a South Miami-Dade farmer and entrepreneur, gathers a bumper crop of spuds each season from a plot of ground up the road from his 40-acre property. And they will play a delicious role on Saturday when he opens his home to 45 diners who have made reservations for his multi-course — and belated — Earth Day dinner.“The state of Maine, every year, grows about 200 different varieties of potatoes that they have available for seed,” Barnum says.“They have to grow them to determine there’s no virus in the seed – they call it ‘virus indexing.’ And when they finish growing the crop out back of me in the glade, about a quarter mile away, they plow them under.”

Barnum has permission to pick them back out. “I get a terrific variety of colors, shapes, sizes, flavors, textures, chemistry.”

Saturday’s locally focused menu will include boar from the Lake Okeechobee area, grass-fed beef from Destin and sea salt from the Keys.

Barnum will use purple and blue potatoes, among others, to make lavender vichyssoise, which he will serve with multicolored potato chips.

Read the rest of the article here.

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Earth Dinner Celebration
A Possum Trot Experience

Featuring local seasonal organic produce from Redland farms

Saturday, April 30th, 6 p.m.
at Possum Trot Tropical Fruit Nursery

Guests will be treated to a brief farm tour followed by a 7-course farm dinner prepared by Possum Trot owner, the “Cantankerous Chef” Robert Barnum, using ingredients exclusively* grown or produced within the South Florida Greater Everglades Foodshed (Lake Okeechobee south to Key West).
*except flour & olive oil


Okeechobee wild boar, Florida grass-fed beef, wild-caught local fish
Redland grown seasonal vegetables and fruit
Local tropical fruit wines
Goat cheese

Producers: Bee Heaven Farm, Hani’s Mediterranean Organics, Possum Trot Tropical Fruit Nursery, Three Sisters Farm, Miguel Bode Honey, Florida Keys Sea Salt, Schnebly Redland’s Winery

Wild-caught fish and boar donated by Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink and Trigger Seafood

Part of a series of Earth Dinners sponsored by The Chefs Collaborative and Organic Valley

Get Tickets Now! $130 per person.
Attendance limited. Advance reservations required by April 25th.

Possum Trot Tropical Fruit Nursery is located in the Redland farming area south of Miami, next door to the Monkey Jungle.

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Happy Thankgiving to all my readers out there! When you sit down to your holiday feast, don’t forget to give thanks for all the farmers who worked hard to bring you those fresh, local organic green beans, maybe the heritage turkey, and the other delicious things on your table.

Thanks to Margie Pikarsky of Bee Heaven Farm, and her family and helpers for providing me with some of the freshest and healthiest food I’ve eaten, and for extending their friendship, kindness and generosity. Thanks also (in no particular order) to Chris and Eva Worden, Robert Barnum, Dan Howard, Hani and Mary Lee Khouri, Cliff Middleton, Gabrielle Marewski, Steven Green, Muriel Olivares, Miguel Bode and Mario Yanez.

This blog wouldn’t exist without their cooperation. Their farms wouldn’t exist without your support. Eat local!

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Robert just loves some jakfruit.

Last week was the start of a new CSA season, and to kick things off, The Cantankerous Chef AKA Robert Barnum invited Farmer Margie and her crew of interns, apprentices and volunteers to come over for dinner at his Possum Trot Tropical Fruit Nursery. Every CSA season, Margie has a different group of people picking and packing all the goodies you get in your share box. This year’s helpers are Jane, Liberty, Helene, Tomas, Eric and Lauren. They have come from as near as Florida and as far as Michigan and Europe to work at Bee Heaven for the season.

The group arrived at Possum Trot just as the sun was starting to set. Robert offered an abbreviated tour of his 40-acre grove before dinner. We strolled down a grassy path and paused from time to time as he pointed out various trees. (This is by no means a complete list of what grows at Possum Trot.) He has: osceola tangerine, macadamia (squirrels pillage the nuts), grumichama (which has a cherry-like fruit), jaboticaba, pithacyillobium (its sawdust will stain your skin blue, really!), a giant brassus palm killed by last winter’s freeze and still standing, mamoncillo, Central American walnut, several jakfruit loaded with fruit, sugar palm, oil palm, and Orinoco banana. Over in the lychee section, golden orb weaver spiders had spun their webs overhead, and appeared to float against the darkening sky. As we walked and listened to Robert’s spiel about his trees, the twilight grew deeper and an almost-full moon rose over the tree tops. It was getting too dark to see, so we headed back to the farm house where we were greeted by the mouthwatering aroma of bread baking.

The Crunchy Bunch: Liberty, Helene, Robert, David, Eric, Lauren, Jane, Tomas. Not seen: Margie, Marian.

The menu was curried pork with local organic green beans (which were still crisp and crunchy), white rice, avocado salad, a mixed organic greens salad made by Margie’s crew, and bread still warm from the oven. We had a lively discussion on how we liked our beans cooked. It was determined that that there are two kinds of people when it comes to beans — those who like them crunchy, and those who prefer them soft. Everyone at the table agreed that they preferred crunchy green beans, then somebody suggested that we were the Crunchy Bunch…

Mamey-pineapple-banana ice cream, with a dab of cas guava ice cream at the bottom.

I didn’t realize how hungry I was until I started eating, and forgot to photograph my plate before it was devoured. I guess that means it was good! Robert scooped up homemade mamey-pineapple-banana ice cream, which was outrageously smooth and creamy. Banana mellowed mamey, but pineapple was a bit shy.

After dinner, we broke out the wine. Robert’s friend David Weingast, who had joined us for dinner, brought a California organic petite sirah. (David’s Organic Company ships Robert’s fruit.) Robert produced two bottles of his home brewed bignay wine. One tasted much like a merlot, and the other was a sweet dessert wine made with champagne yeast. The Crunchy Bunch sipped and sampled and picked their favorites. The dessert bignay got a lot of votes. It was a pleasant end to a delicious meal, and the Bunch enjoyed their last easy night before the frenzy of the CSA season began.

For lunch or dinner reservations, trees, fruit and/or a tour of Possum Trot, contact Robert Barnum at 305-235-1768 or possumplentious@yahoo.com.

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Robert Barnum AKA the Cantankerous Chef sent me an email about a recent event at his place, Possum Trot Tropical Fruit Nursery. Text and photos by Robert.

Possum Trot hosted 16 Brazilian farmers for lunch and a tour on October 28th. They were on a South Florida farm tour after attending the PMA (Produce Marketing Association) meeting in Orlando. The farmers first visited Burr’s Berry Farm, and owner Charles Burr and his wife accompanied them for lunch here. Stuffed jackfruit pouches and boiled jackfruit seeds, with pumpkin sauerkraut soup, and wood oven fired bread sticks started out the meal. Wood oven roasted betel potato and carrots, and carambola glazed wood roasted chicken followed as the main course. Carambola pie with cas guava ice cream finished the meal. Homemade jaboticaba and bignay tropical fruit wines accompanied the meal. A tour of the plantings finished my portion of their farm tour day of South Florida.

The Cantankerous Chef would be delighted to host your next event. Lunch or dinner includes a tour of his 40 acre grove of tropical fruit trees. For information and reservations, call Robert Barnum at 305-235-1768 or email possumplentious(at)yahoo.com.

Tropical table setting of cas guava, star fruit, longans and rangpur limes, all grown at Possum Trot. Carafes contain jaboticaba and bignay fruit wines. Only the pumpkin isn't local!

Brazilian framers and the Burrs seated at the rustic table in Robert Barnum's home.

Bread that had been baked in the outdoors wood oven.

Wood oven roasted chicken, and betel-seasoned potatos and carrots.

Brazilian farmers with Robert Barnum (back row, third from right).

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