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Posts Tagged ‘Whole Foods’

GrowFest! flyers

Dejah, a customer service cashier, did her part to set out flyers at each cash register at the South Beach store.

Dejah, a customer service cashier, did her part to set out flyers at each cash register at the South Beach store.

Want to have the GrowFest! schedule of events handy?

Grab a GrowFest! flyer at any Whole Foods Market in South Florida, from Palm Beach stores south to Pinecrest. They’ve been in stores all week. (There might be some left…)

Whole Foods is a festival sponsor for three years running. Thanks to all at the company who helped support GrowFest!

Grab a flyer at a checkout lane.

Grab a flyer at a checkout lane.

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Seen at Whole Foods stores recently….

The store in South Beach is proud to support local growers.

The Aventura market had local, organic avocados from Homestead Organic Farms.

(Homestead Organic Farms is also the area’s largest organic green bean grower, and you will get their green beans in your CSA share come November.)

Local avocados from Homestead Organic Farms, next to grape tomatoes from Lady Moon Farms (which are not local, not this time of year).

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The GrowFest flyers are ready! Farmer Margie worked hard on designing them, and I picked them up at the printer Thursday afternoon.

Ten boxes holding 10,000 copies — yes, TEN THOUSAND copies — crammed into the trunk of my car.

Spent Friday afternoon dropping off boxes of flyers at Whole Foods at South Beach and at Aventura. The store is one of the event sponsors. Farm assistant Victor Hernandez ran around all day dropping off more boxes at eight other Whole Foods stores.

Grab a flyer and drop it in your bag. Then come out and see us!

When you go shopping this weekend, look for the flyers right by the bags as you check out … and take one! If you don’t see them, ask!

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A two foot long jakfruit split open.

Last Saturday I shopped at two markets, one small and friendly, and one big and corporate. First, I stopped by to see what was new at the Upper Eastside Market, and it was loaded with good things to eat. Who says it’s too hot to grow anything here in the summer? Over at the Nature Boyz juice stand, Clive had a couple of good sized jakfruit available. They are starting to mature this time of year. Further down the row of tents, I found locally grown okra, collards, calabaza, lemongrass, fresh akee and annona fruit. You could get callaloo and plantains from Three Sisters Farm in Redland, sweet potatoes grown on a small farm in Kendall, and loads of starfruit from a garden just down the street in Miami Shores. The eggs were from hens kept somewhere in North Miami, shhhhh! They even had bags of white and brown organic rice grown and milled in Belle Glade. Almost everything at this market is local — sourced either from Miami-Dade County or somewhere in Florida.

Local avocados grown for Uncle Matt’s.

My next stop was Whole Foods in Aventura. I’d heard there was local fruit in the stores, and wanted to see for myself. I easily spotted a nice heap of shiny and fresh green avocados carrying the Uncle Matt’s brand, and grown locally by Murray Bass. Nearby were medium sized mamey from Health and Happiness Farm, but their pints of longans had sold out.

The fruits looked pretty good, but specialty items were another story. Packets of allspice leaves and berries from Bee Heaven Farm were starting to look a little brown. Bunches of wilting garlic chives, also from Bee Heaven, were piled in a shallow basket in an open cooler. They were starting to wilt, and looked in desperate need of a mister. One shelf up were boxes of extremely perishable edible flowers from Paradise Farms that looked flat, dried up and inedible.

Overall, I have to give Whole Foods credit for making a good effort to support local growers. They are doing an OK job of sourcing local fruits this summer. But, by the looks of things, their produce people could use training on how to handle delicate specialty items. And of course, there’s just no comparison to shopping at the neighborhood farmer’s market, which has plenty of extremely fresh, locally sourced items!

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In front of the store in Winter Park.

Last week I was up in Sanford visiting with friends Kattia, Chris and Holden. Kattia knows I’m a big fan of Whole Foods, and took me to visit the store at Winter Park.

Hardees in front and Donnies on the left.

The first thing I saw when I walked in through the front door was a heap of Florida avocados. They looked suspiciously familiar. I peered closer and saw the sign: Bee Heaven Farm, Homestead FL. “Kattia, look! Margie’s avocados!” I shouted, astonished by the presence of Redland raised Hardee and Donnie avocados. (One Hardee was starting to ripen and showed dark red streaks. It will turn burgundy red when it is completely ripe.)

Hardee avocados from Bee Heaven Farm.

The fruits were right under a spotlight and their green skins glowed in the light. They made the California Haas avocados stacked behind them look dark, drab and unremarkable by comparison. I pulled out my camera to take a picture. Kattia and her son Holden made theselves scarce over by the bulk bins, and the employee stacking produce looked at me with curiosity.

Massive mamey from Health and Happiness Farm.

I then noticed mamey stacked nearby, and looked more closely. The sign said Health and Happiness Farm, Homestead FL. “Kattia, look! Sal’s mamey is here too!” Next to the mamey were sapodillas from Kopali Organics, also from Homestead. I looked around and didn’t see my friends. Gee, you just can’t take me anywhere… But Redland fruit travels everywhere!

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Check out this article in the Miami Herald today about Teena’s Pride CSA pickups at area Whole Foods stores. Farmer Margie Pikarsky is also quoted.

Farm fresh: Shoppers can now order straight from growers

Whole Foods offers help to Community Supported Agriculture programs. Consumers can now pick up their pre-ordered produce from local farms at stores.

By ELAINE WALKER
ewalker@MiamiHerald.com

Geane Brito has to wait until her two kids get out of school before going to Whole Foods in Miami Beach to pick up their box of vegetables for the week from Teena’s Pride in the Redland.

Magnus and Isadora Kron, ages 8 and 10, dash immediately into the store, eager to take inventory of the seasonal vegetables just picked from a local farm: broccoli leaves, heirloom tomatoes, poblano peppers and carrots with the tops still attached.

Brito’s family is part of a growing group in South Florida and around the country embracing Community Supported Agriculture. For $20 to $40 a week, they buy ultra-fresh food straight from the farm at prices similar to the grocery store. And their contribution helps small farmers remain in business.

“I want my children to have the experience of knowing that fresh vegetables don’t grow at the supermarket,” said Brito, who lives on South Beach.

While the CSA concept historically has cut the grocery store out of the equation, Whole Foods stores in Florida are aiming to change that. The chain is kicking off a program to offer local farms free use of Whole Foods stores throughout the state as drop-off and pick-up points for the weekly deliveries.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/02/07/2055665/farm-fresh-shoppers-can-now-order.html

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Avocado bliss

Seen at the the Pinecrest Whole Foods on Friday.

The time has come to pick avocados. Last week Farmer Margie mustered her crew of mostly volunteers and they went through the grove to gather the first of the season. Thirty bushels of certified organic Donnie avocados went straight to the area Whole Foods warehouse, and I’m told that the fruit just flew out of the stores. This week Margie’s crew picked again, and she took 30 more bushels to the WF warehouse on Thursday. I found her Donnie avocados at the Pinecrest Market on Friday afternoon. They are selling for $3.49 each, ouch! But even at that price, there may not be many left today.

But all is not lost. I’ve learned about Number Two fruit. Those are avocados that have scuff marks on their skins, superficial blemishes that that are bigger than a certain allowed size.  The fruit rubbed against a branch while it was maturing and it made for a dark mark. Stores don’t like blemished fruit, but they are just as good.

Last week I bought a half bushel of Number Twos to re-sell to friends and co-workers for $2.50 each. Like their pristine brethren that went to WF, these avocados sold very fast. This week I sprang for a full bushel of Twos. People wanted more, or saw they missed out and were calling me with orders.

This dramatic scuff mark is cosmetic, doesn't affect the flesh inside. Whole Foods doesn't want this fruit, but I do!

Local fruit makes people happy! Case in point, I took a half bushel of avocados to my doctor’s office. She is a holistic practitioner, and she and her hard working staff and patients know that avocados are good for you. I staggered in with the heavy box of fruit, set it on the floor, and everybody pounced. My doctor did the most interesting thing — she cradled a large green avocado to herself, stroked it with her hand, and giggled with delight. Other staffers were smiling as they sorted through the box. One woman picked out a fruit, then another, then went off with three avocados clutched to her chest. Altogether a dozen avocados found new homes so quickly I felt almost giddy.

I saw that grin, heard that giggle, and watched people pet and stroke the smooth, green shiny skinned avocados over and over on Thursday and Friday as I made my deliveries. And once you’ve actually eaten a Donnie from Bee Heaven, that’s it, you’re hooked on the creamy, nutty flavor. Last week a friend got one avocado, then ask me for four more this week. “Are you sure,” I asked. “Oh yes,” was her answer, said with a smile and sigh of bliss. “I want them. They’re buttery.”

Another thing I heard often is, “I’m going to eat the whole avocado for lunch.” Easy to say now, when the fruit is only about a pound and a half in size. Wait a few weeks when they have increased to three pounds — or more. Last summer a friend claimed that he could eat a whole three pound avocado by himself in one sitting. “That’s a pretty big avocado. I can only eat half or less at one time,” I cautioned. My friend boasted, “I’m a big guy, and I have a big stomach. I can eat it.” He took the avocado home and that was the last I heard of it. It’s quite possible that a three pound avocado defeated a 200 pound man.

So, I get a little crazed this time of year, phoning people — “Hey, I got some green crack*, let me know how many you want” — and driving around town with a bushel of avocados in my car. I do it because Margie’s fruit makes people happy, and I’m glad I can bring them a bit of joy. That’s the power of local food. Once you’ve tasted it, you know.

*That’s a Margie joke.

Nutrition facts and analysis for Florida avocados

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