Stuart, Fla.,--If you've never had an iced, hard, mocha then you are missing out. Bartender Patrick Trischitli at Crush Wine Bar in Stuart, Florida, makes a delicious iced, hard mocha.
"I do old style cocktails with a new style twist," said Trischitl. It took five different tries to get the recipe right for this cocktail. "I make everything from scratch," added Trischitli with a smile.
This past January, I got to try one, while attending a joint event between Castronovo Chocolate Factory and Crush Wine Bar that featured the single origin chocolates paired with wine.
The mocha came at the end of the wine & chocolate tasting event. It included local mint, strawberries and Castronovo chocolate, along with Borghetti Caffe Espresso Liqueur and Bittermens-Xocolatl Mole Bitters.
Crush Wine Bar is closed Sunday and Monday. Tuesday to Saturday they are open from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
They serve wine, beer, cocktails and some food. And they have very club feel later into the evening hours.
They are located at 100 South Dixie Highway, Stuart, FL 34994
Phone (772) 600-5836
Lake Worth, Fla.—Soursop (Guanabana) fruit grows in south Florida and tastes delicious. This tropical fruit, with origins in northern South America and the West Indies, tastes like a sweet and sour fruit salad. And Excalibur Fruit Trees in Lake Worth sells Florida grown soursop from their tree.
This past June, I visited Excalibur for a tour and came across a bin of fresh soursop selling for $5/pound. Earlier in the year, I saw and imported version of this fruit selling for $9/pound at Robert Is Here Inc.'s fruit stand in Homestead, Fla.
It is a highly sought after fruit for both culinary and medicinal reasons.
I have eaten frozen, preserved, and lightly pasteurized styles of soursop but never fresh. I thought it was tasty but I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.
So, I bought a slightly soft, green, prickly skinned, two-pound fruit to take home. The flesh inside was pure white in color, dense in texture and juicy. There were also a few hard, black, shiny inedible seeds.
And then came the taste…wow. My taste buds screamed in delight as the floral tart flavor was followed by an almost honey like sweetness.
It was the most balanced sweet and sour fruit I had ever tasted. In that moment I realized why my friends from the islands would go to any length to get fresh soursop.
I went back to the stand and bought more for my friends and myself.
Unfortunately, the 2015 season is now over so I'll have to wait until next June to get more soursop at Excalibur’s.
Excalibur Fruit Trees nursery has a fruit stand that is open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. They sell fruit picked from their trees, mostly by the pound. They do not accept credit cards for payment so bring lots of cash or a check.
You can also purchase a soursop tree from Excalibur to grow your own fruit.
But beware, this is a tropical fruit tree and very sensitive to the cold. Excalibur's staff is very helpful and knowledgeable and will help you with growing instructions.
They are located at 5200 Fearnley, Rd., Lake Worth, FL 33467, Phone (561) 969-6988
Plant City, Fla.—Blueberry wines are delicious and healthy. Florida farmer Joe Keel, founder and owner of Keel & Curley Winery, has been making blueberry wine since 2003. His first 10-gallon experiment came out OK and so he kept trying until he got it right, according to the company webpage.
In May, of this year I travelled to their Plant City winery and 25-acre u-pick farm for a taste of their blueberry wine.
Inside Keel & Curley Winery’s massive tasting room and gift shop there were plenty of people to keep me company.
I bought a glass of their semi-dry blueberry wine. It had a dark ruby red color. The description, on their website, said the wine was a full-bodied merlot style wine. But I found it to be more of a lightweight wine.
It was more akin to a light California sipping wine rather than a full bodied European style, meal-accompanying wine. But this was the perfect wine for an end of a hot and steamy Florida day.
The company makes over 20,000 cases of wine a year of wine, and has expanded to include Florida blackberry wine along with grape & fruit blended wines.
They are located at: 5210 Thonotosassa Rd., Plant City, FL 33565
Phone: (813) 752-9100
They are open 7-days a week at varying time so check the website for more info: www.keelandcurleywinery.com
St. Augustine, Fla.—St. Augustine Distillery makes small batch gin with Florida ingredients. They put 26 botanical ingredients in their small batch gin. The Florida grown ingredients are sugar cane molasses and orange peel.
They also put in juniper, coriander, Cassia bark, lemon & lime peels, angelica, and other proprietary ingredients. The end result is a slightly sweet, floral gin that’s almost good enough to drink straight.
To try their gin for free, make your way to their distillery located at 112 Riberia Street, just a few steps away from San Sebastian Winery, and take a walking tour. At the end of the tour you’ll be served drinks made with whatever they are currently bottling (the alcohols change every few months or so).
If you’re lucky you’ll get tour guide Benjamin Tier, a former stand-up comedian and St. Augustine historic city walking tour guide. He makes the touring and tasting funny.
Tours run between 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday to Saturday, every half hour at the beginning and middle of the hour. The only difference on Sunday is that the first tour is at 11:30 a.m. Call (904) 825-4963 for more information.
St. Augustine Distillery staff advise arriving 10-15 minutes before the time you want to tour because they do not take reservations.
Davidson, NC—Rowland’s Row Farm has delicious pastured poultry eggs. These eggs have a delicate buttery flavor with no sulfur aroma. Rowland’s Row Farm, an 18-acre property, started in 2010 with the help of wife/co-farmer Dani Rowland, grows USDA certified organic vegetables.
I met farmer Joe Rowland back in March of this year at the Saturday morning Davidson Farmers’ Market in Davidson, North Carolina.
Rowland said he had 300 hens that he moved to fresh pasture every two to three weeks. He also said his hens were not certified organic but they were antibiotic-free.
I bought one dozen eggs and some sweet potatoes. Both were delicious.
The farm also raises pastured meat birds that are available fresh from now until November.
If you want to learn more about Rowland ‘s Row Farm’s produce and where you can buy their products then go to their website www.rrfarmnc.com
You can also contact Joe at (704) 575-4915 or email@example.com
Davidson, N.C.--Farmer Brad Hinkley grows wheat in North Carolina. He grows many other things at Coldwater Creek Farms but for the past few years he's been growing hard red winter wheat using organic practices. I interviewed him at the Davidson's Farmers Market in April.
He used to be a certified organic farm so he knows what he is doing. He has 18-acres of wheat that up until recently he had ground at a local restaurant.
"I bought a mill to grind our wheat," he said with a broad smile that lit up his bearded face. He also grind grits.
If you want to try his products you can either go to the Saturday morning Farmers Market in Davidson, find a restaurant in Charlotte using his products or contact Hinkley at (828)406-0849.
He'll sell and ship them to you if you pay for them and shipping.
I think these grits could easily compete with Anson Mills Grits.
St. Augustine, Fla.--If you like local sourcing cocktails then Ice Plant Bar is for you. They use as much local ingredients as possible in their drinks. They also make ice with purified water that is free of air bubbles and impurities. This allows their drinks to be colder and cleaner.
I got to taste their Pulp Fiction cocktail ($9) made with Florida kumquats, purple basil, lime, orange flower water and Novo Fogo cachaça.
It had a wonderful new rain earthy quality to it and tasted like an aromatic herb garden in a glass.
Ice Plant Bar hours are Tues.-Sat. 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sun & Mon 11:30 a.m. to Midnight
They serve lunch Monday to Friday and dinner seven days a week.
They are located at 110 Riberia Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Phone: (904) 829-6553
Palm City, Fla.--Are you looking for Florida, local, organic methods grown produce? Then the Saturday Market at Shadowood Farm is for you. The farm, owned by Bob and Sarah Fenton, began in 1984, and 26 years later started the Organic Food Garden. The Saturday Market runs from November 1st, 2014 to May 9th, 2015.
This small, weekly market, is held on the farm property from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. But even though it is small there are still several delicious vendors.
They sell vegetables, herbs, raw honey, organic herbal teas, skin care products, baked goods and more. Bring cash and a cooler.
All the items grown in the community style Organic Food Garden are available for purchase at the Saturday market.
The Saturday Market is located at 6220 SW Martin Highway, Palm City, FL 34990
To find out more about Shadowood Farm, their rentable garden spaces, and their Organic Food Garden membership you can go to their website http://shadowoodfarm.com
Loxahatchee, Fla.—Kenari Groves has been growing jackfruit for over a decade. Owner, Rose Khin grows several different types that ripen throughout the year. Jackfruit is the flavor behind juicy fruit gum and it can grow as large as 100 pounds. Khin’s biggest was 82 pounds in 2008.
You don’t have to buy such a big fruit because they grow in all sizes starting at just one pound.
"I pick it right from the tree for you. Only when people come, I cut," she said, with a smile, during a recent visit.
Kenari Grove does not ship fruit or deliver so if you want one of these tasty jackfruit you'll have to book an appointment and travel to their grove in Loxahatchee, Fla.
Khin will help you learn ways to store the fruit. If you are not satisfied she will replace it.
There is a silver lining to this style of sourcing. The price per pound will be lower that at markets and the fruit will be a lot fresher.
Khin grows many other types of tropical and sub-tropical fruit but you'll need to call to find out what fruit is in season and what’s the price.
Her phone number is (561) 313-7202
You can also find out more about them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/KenariGroves
Stuart, Fla. – Have you ever been to a wine and chocolate tasting? This past November, Crush Wine Bar, and single-origin small-batch bean-to-bar chocolate factory Castronovo Chocolate, joined forces in Stuart, Florida, for a night of wine and chocolate tasting.
“Denise & Jim will go around and pass the chocolate,” said Mario Babino, co-owner of Crush Wine Bar.
“We spent three days prepping. Our tastes may not be your taste. You might not like it but don’t tell us,” said Babino pausing for affect.
The thirsty foodie audience laughed.
“No, really, enjoy,” Babino said, with a smile.
Jim Castronovo, co-owner of Castronovo Chocolate, walked to the center of the room and said, “We have huge variations in our chocolate. Denise is the chocolate maker,” he said, pointing to his bubbly blond wife.
“We are trying to bring American craft chocolate up to the standard of European chocolate,” he added.
The featured chocolate of the night was made with rare cacao, heirloom, wild harvested, Sierra Nevada beans.
The trees were abandoned long ago, according to Jim Castronovo. They grow between three and six thousand feet in altitude, in the mountains of Columbia. Dry trade winds keep fungus away from the trees.
Castronovo Chocolate pays indigenous people to travel by mule to harvest the cacao pods.
“I asked, ‘How long does it take?’” said Denise. “’They said, “One to two tobaccos,’” continued Denise, adding tobacco meant cigars. The audience laughed with delight.
The cacao bean had a natural sweet caramel taste that comes through both in a dark and dark-milk 63 percent chocolate style. The dark milk chocolate version was deliciously served with Evodia Grenach wine from Spain.
Crush Wine Bar is located at 100 S. Dixie Hwy., Stuart, FL 34994
Phone (772) 600-5836
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.--Mom's Pops uses ingredients native to Florida. Pam Hardy, owner of Mom's Pops, a local South Florida ice pops company, loves the idea of using native ingredients. This past October she decided to make some seasonal pops using coastal growing sea grapes.
"Getting people to try them was difficult," said Hardy, "but now keeping enough made is difficult."
Also pictured are her mandarin carambola pops made with Florida grown carambola (a.k.a. Starfruit).
She is constantly coming up with new Florida sourced pops.
You can find Mom's Pops at the Saturday Morning West Palm Beach Green Market or the Sunday morning Palm Beach Gardens Green Market. And if you can't wait for the weekend you can go to her website at www.Momspops.com
Orlando, Fla.—This was the first year of the Florida Local Food Summit. It was held last month, on the upper floor of the East End Market in Orlando. The summit brought together people from all over Florida, the United States and even Canada. It was designed to educate, energize, and promote change in the local food movement.
There were 150 people in attendance from farms, grocery stores, local governments and the public. Keynote speakers like Canadian farmer Jean-Martin Fortier and chef/farmer Matthew Raidford, of Georgia, spoke about local food systems.
The summit was hosted by Earth Learning, East End Market, Local Roots Distribution and the Florida Organic Growers. The first day was all about education and was broken into three categories: organic farming, entrepreneurship, and permaculture.
The second day was about building communities through several breakout session workshops.
This two-day event allowed conventional farmers to meet organic, sustainable and permaculture farmers. It was a huge success.
To find out about future events contact East End Market , 3201 Corrine Dr., Orlando, FL 32803 (321) 236-3316
Autumn is here and it's pear season again. It means, if you’re lucky, that you might find some old timey Florida varieties called Sand pears. They are the descendants of a Chinese hybrid pear that was bred in the 1880s.
You’ll find them growing in some backyards and some farms around Ocala and Central Florida. But you won’t find many because of their fruit characteristics that don’t make them very good for raw eating. They are small, hard, pear with tough skin and grainy flesh. But despite these drawbacks they are very delicious when cooked.
The first time I encountered them was in 2009 at a farm-to-table dinner held at the Seminole Inn in Indiantown, Fla. The pears had been grown and were harvested in Ocala. The chef poached the pears in some Florida wine and they were delicious albeit a bit gritty.
Recently, I came across them again, this time in Orlando, at Local Roots Distribution store in the East End Market. They were selling for $4 a pound. I bought seven pears.
When I got home I poached them in wine and water for 60 minutes. The results produced a delicious, flavorful dessert.
If you want to buy some sand pears you can contact Local Roots Distribution or find someone in Ocala that might sell you the fruit from their old timey tree.
Homestead, Fla.--Dragon Fruit is a colorful addition to any meal. This Mexican native cacti fruit is also known as Pitaya. It is very juicy and has a mouth feel similar to kiwi fruit because of tiny black seeds. But the flavor varies from bland to tart to slightly sweet. South Florida grown Pitaya have white or hot pink to red colored flesh surrounded by pink, leathery skin.
It is high in phosphorous, Vitamin C and antioxidants. It is easily peeled and can be eaten raw or put in smoothies or other drinks.
Many stores sell Dragon Fruit (Pitaya) but its always tastiest when bought directly from a farm. And right now it's Pitaya season in South Florida and will be until the end of October.
Recently, I visited Homestead and bought several pounds of delicious hot pink colored and white colored Dragon Fruit from Khemara Farms. I also bought some smaller burgundy-red colored fruit from the Krome Farmers Market.
The Krome location was next to a seven-acre Pitaya farm that grew only the red variety of the fruit.
The Krome Farmers Market is located at 25300 SW Krome (177th) Ave, Homestead FL 33031.
Phone: (305) 245-8868
Muscadine grapes are in season again. They are a native grape variety to Florida and have a unique flavor that is very different than other grapes. Muscadines are used to make jam and wine and can be eaten raw. They have a very thick skin and might make your lips tingle when eaten raw. But their sweet, spicy, pungent flavor and juiciness are well worth the risk.
Muscadines also have the highest level of antioxidants of any edible grape variety.
You can find fresh muscadine grapes at most grocery stores from August through the end of September. But if you are looking for fresher fruit then contact a Florida vineyard in your area and see if they allow u-pick.
The closest vineyard to South Florida that allows people to pick their own grapes is Henscratch Farms in Lake Placid.
They are open Tues. to Sat. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sun. 12 noon to 4 p.m. You can reach them by calling (863) 699 - 2060 for more details.
Baobab, the new Super Fruit, tastes like tart lemon sherbet. It is packed with vitamins, calcium, protein and antioxidants. The fruit, contained in a velvety skinned, hard-shelled, seedpod, has the texture of dried marshmallow with tiny seeds. But you don't have to travel to tropical Africa or Australia to get a taste because it is growing in South Florida.
This past weekend I joined the Palm Beach Chapter of the Rare Fruit Council International on a tour of The Kampong, an 11-acre National Tropical Botanical Garden (former home of Dr. David Fairchild) in Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida.
Our tour guide, David Jones, said Fairchild (a plant collector and co-founder of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden) planted the baobab tree in 1928. On the day we toured, the ground, at the base of the tree, was covered with cylindrical brown seedpods.
Jones said the tree normally grows in dry climates and is able to store huge quantities of water so it can continue to grow through dry periods.
When the tree gets older than 1000 years the trunk starts to hollow out and many people use it as shelter. In Modjadjiskloof, Limpopo Province, South Africa, there is a pub called Big Baobab Bar that is located inside a 6000-year old living tree.
The Kampong, Fla., tree is only 88-years old so it's going to be awhile before anyone can live inside of its trunk.
If you are interested in sampling the baobab fruit and either don't live in South Florida or don't have the time to set up a private tour of The Kampong don't be sad because you can buy the fruit online as a powder.
Some words of caution—the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers baobab fruit a powerful laxative because it has very high levels of soluble fiber. For every 100 grams of fruit you get 5 grams of fiber.
Slow Food USA had a Speakeasy Ark Of Taste Cocktail Competition this year. In April, participants from all over the country submitted cocktail recipes. Asian American, Irene Jade, of Delray Beach, was one of the winners with a mango cocktail.
The competition was open to 21-year old or over amateur and professional mixologists, and had one main requirement—that all the drinks include at least product from the Ark of Taste.
Jade, an avid gardener, Locavore, cheese maker, and co-chair of the Slow Food Glades To Coast, used a Shrub in her Mango By The Sea cocktail.
The type of Shrub was not one you’d find in a garden but instead it is an old timey, before refrigeration, method of preserving fruit in syrup made with sugar and vinegar.
Pascale’s, Delray Beach Jam Company, created Jade’s Shrub from ginger and Florida mango.
“The mango is from her backyard. And the mango nectar was saved from her hot sauce,” said Jade about Pascale.
The Florida Distillery in Central Florida made the cane vodka.
“Cane Vodka really embodies Slow Food. It is made in small batches with South Florida grown cane and bottles that are made in the USA,” said Jade.
Mother nature made the ginger and Florida Key Lime juice.
“I really wanted to use ingredients local to the South Florida area,” said Jade with a smile that could light up a room.
Her passion for sourcing local came early from her mother who grew most of what her family ate and made everything from scratch.
“I want people to support local Florida agriculture,” said Jade.
Mango By The Sea Cocktail recipe
1 oz. Florida Premium Cane Vodka
2.5 Tbsp. Pascale’s Mango Ginger Shrub
3 Tbsp. fresh Florida mango nectar
1.5 oz. fresh Florida Key Lime juice
0.25 oz. fresh finely grated ginger
Combine all ingredients, stir and add ice. Or put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, add ice, shake and pour into a glass. Garnish with fresh Florida Key Lime zest.
Homestead, Fla.--Paradise Farms' flowers were more than pretty, they were also yummy. Earlier this year this organic farm held an edible flower dinner that started with a flower infused cocktail hour followed by an edible tour of the property accompanied by unique libations. It was the first dinner of its kind at Paradise Farms, under the ownership of Gabriele Marewski.
At each talking point on the tour there was either a wine or a Kombucha (fermented tea) made with farm grown ingredients like oyster mushrooms and ginger flowers. Guests were encouraged to help themselves to as many edible flowers as they wanted to eat during the farm tour.
The most surprising flower stop was at the begonia beds. These succulent pink petalled flowers tasted like lemon juice. The Begonia wine that accompanied this stop had hints of eucalyptus and citrus.
The tour ended with a glorious sit down dinner in an open air gazebo. Chefs from all around Miami and even one from Washington, D.C. cooked delicious dishes with Paradise Farms grown edible organic flowers.
The culinary celebrity line up consisted of Chef Harold Ortiz (Banquet Chef, Intercontinental Hotel Miami), Chef Alex Feher (Intercontinental Hotel Miami), Chef Eric Do (Toro Toro Miami restaurant), Chef Jose Luis Flores (Richard Sandoval Restaurants) and the culinary students of Johnson & Wales University.
Four courses later, the dessert crafted by pastry Chef Flores, arrived with many ingredients from the farm like bananas, rose petals, roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) sauce, and edible viola flowers.
Then it was time to thank all the chefs, their servers, the sponsors, and Gabriele for her wonderful event. And then the night was over.
This dinner cost $165.50 per person before tax.
Click here to find out more about Paradise Farms future events.
Hawthorne, Fla.—Island Grove Wine Company’s tasting room is hard to find but worth it. Owned by Ken Patterson, this 350-acre farm grows blueberries and makes fruit wines. Located at the southern most tip of Hawthorne, Florida, and opened just four years ago this company is producing complex wines like Kinda Dry blueberry wine with hints of oak and cherry.
Recently I went on a mini tour of their winery located in the middle of the blueberry farm. My guide, whose name I did not get, showed me the fermenting room. It was filled with giant metal tanks.
“The blueberries are fermented on the skin and then we make the wine so it has higher antioxidants,” said my tour guide. Oak wood chips are soaked in the Kinda Dry blueberry wine to give it a smoky taste.
"We have been in business for four year and making wine for three," said Janette Taylor the wine tasting room attendant. She said there is going to be a company store on Highway 301 in the fall of this year so guests won't have to drive the four miles of dirt road to the tasting room.
In the future there are plans to make drier wines with Florida grown blueberries and blackberries. Island Grove Wine Company also plans to make a blueberry ice wine and a mango wine.
The tasting room is located at 24703 SE 193rd Avenue, Hawthorne, FL 32640; and is open Mon. to Fri. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
You can find Island Grove wines at many Total Wine & More stores throughout the state of Florida.
To find out more about their other fruit wines or the berries they sell or to get directions to their tasting room you can go www.islandgrovewinecompany.com
Davie, Fla.— Finding delicious Florida grown coconuts can be hard. But Brooklyn born farmer Larry Siegel's 40-acre coconut plantation in western Davie has made it easy. He grows tasty Malayan coconuts without pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. Instead he has herds of free-range ducks, turkeys and chickens that take care of all these concerns.
"I've been here in Florida since 1976 and I have had this property since 1997," said Siegel during a recent interview at his plantation.
He started out with the idea of having a food forest, "I had ten of everything...ten types bananas, ten types of orange, ten types of coconuts. You name it and I had ten types of it." But Hurricane Irene destroyed everything.
Then Siegel started producing mulch but came across problems with waste management. This pushed him to diversify again and settle on the idea of growing coconuts starting in 2006.
But the harsh freezes of 2008 and 2009 slowed down this idea and killed half of his plants. So he started a plant nursery business to pay for the reconstruction of his coconut plantation.
Today he has 4000 trees in different stages of maturity, "In two-years time we should be at full production," said Siegel.
He supplies many South Florida restaurants with young and mature coconuts. He also sells to the public through a mail order system.
"I ship all over the country," said Siegel with a smile.
He also sells Hawaiian Hua Moa plantains, Asian bananas, and palm trees along with other tropical plants.
To find out more about Florida Coconuts, you can go to www.florida-coconuts.com
Or call him at (954) 297-6677
Marianna, Fla.—Farmer Mack J. Glass’s satsuma citrus feeds school children. His fruit are full of nutrients because they are tree ripened and are only three days old when they get into North Florida School District lunches.
They are ideal for children because they peel easily, have no seeds and come in half-cup portion sizes. He supplies many Farm-to-School programs in North Florida.
You won’t see satsuma (also known as satsuma mandarin) growing in South Florida anytime soon, “They need a cold snap. It shuts the tree down so the fruit can ripen,” said Glass. The season is very short from November to December.
There are only three farms including his growing satsuma citrus in North Florida, “We’d like to see more satsuma farmers so the growing season could be longer.”
Back in the early 1900s there were more Satsuma farmers according to Glass. There were even Satsuma Festivals in 1928, 1929 that attracted over 34,000 visitors. But a freeze in 1935 wiped out 3000 acres of fruit and destroyed the industry.
Glass would like to see the festivals return to the Panhandle.
Glass started his seven-acre Cherokee Satsumas farm back in 2001. He decided satsumas were a better crop to grow than the traditional ones for the area of peanuts, soybeans or corn. At the time a new federal farm program had lowered the price of these crops a lot.
Today, he sometimes finds satsuma farming does not pay enough but he persists, “I do it because I love it. I wake up every morning and see the challenge of it,” said Glass.
Along with supplying fruit to schoolchildren Cherokee Satsumas farm also supplies fruit to Winn Dixie stores around Florida.
To find out more about Cherokee Satsumas farm call (850) 579-4641. But be aware the farm is on Central Time.
West Palm Beach, Fla.—Are you looking for Florida fresh raw goat milk pet food? Then Goodness Gracious Acres near Loxhatchee is your place. Owner and self proclaimed resident milk-maid Jojo Milano shepherds a flock of 41 goats, 15 of which she milks, on her one and half acre property.
She started her business in 2003. On her website she is quoted at saying, “I love the challenge of dairying and goats in general.”
In February, the Gold & Treasure Coast Slow Food chapter organized a self-driven multiple county farm tour. I and a dozen or so people descended on Goodness Gracious Acres to pet goats, to take pictures of goats, and to watch goats get milked.
Several kids, both human and goat, played jump the plastic bin, in the closed off front pen. There were numerous free-range chickens, ducks, and geese. She sells the eggs at the Ft. Pierce market under the “For Pet Consumption Only,” label.
As Milano led a Nubian doe (female) goat, by the collar, to be milked she explained how goats were foragers and not grazers like sheep. To make sure the goat stood still while milking she fed it healthy treats.
Milano sells the raw unpasteurized milk under the Florida Department Of Agriculture label— “Pet Food Supplement— not for human consumption.” And she definitely does not want to know that her customers, instead of their pets, are drinking her milk. If someone does tell her this then Milano can’t sell them any raw milk products.
She also takes and stores all the names, addresses and phone numbers of the people she sells to in case the State ever investigates her. She has many more pre-sale requirements listed on her website.
Along with raw-milk she also sells goats-milk soap, handmade art, raw honey, kefir and occasionally fresh raw-milk goat cheese under the “For Pet Food Consumption Only,” label.
To find out how you can buy her her raw-milk products, soaps or artwork you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or or call her at (561) 422 -9906.
West Palm Beach, Fla.—Pine Jog Elementary School’s Strawberry Festival is a fundraiser event. It is held in February, and raises money for its garden and school. There are 1500 hydroponically-grown strawberry plants growing in the 4000-plant school garden located at the back of the property.
Soil Sisters—Mrs. Laurie Mecca (garden founder) and Mrs. Linda Petuch (science resource and lab teacher) run a booth selling strawberry smoothies, chocolate dipped strawberries, and strawberry topped brownies. All the berries used come from the garden.
“We teach the children how our produce is better than any other from California,” said Mecca. “It’s fresh off the vine. We sell it in the office & put the money back into the garden.”
The garden, started in 2008 and located at the back of the elementary school, is taken care of by all the classes through an after school gardening club called, Our World LEEDers team (OWL).
Pine Jog Elementary School has been shaping young people to become better stewards of the environment for many years.
“I was aware of the environment before coming here. But this school sparked a passion for the environment in me,” said Tiffany Canate, who was part of the first farm team back in 2008.
In middle school, Canate started a recycling program with the Junior National Honor Society.
She is now in tenth grade in a science and engineering program with ambitions to become a forensic anthropologist or surgeon. “No matter what I become I will always be aware of the environment and do something with it.”
To find out more about Pine Jog Elementary go to http://www.edline.net/pages/pine_jog_elementary_school
Gardening and sunlight go together in a different way with Juice Plus+. They sell aeroponic Tower Gardens. Plants grow vertically instead of horizontally like for hydroponic systems. "I like this one especially for South Florida because the roots are not underwater," said Juice Plus+ distributor Joe Daugirdas.
"I have a prototype solar powered growing tower," said Daugirdas during an interview at the Sunday morning Royal Palm Green Market. It will harness the energy of the sun directly to power the Growing Tower 's 15-watt water pump.
He also has a solar conversion box style that converts the tower's Alternating Current (AC) needs to Direct Current (DC) so it can be plugged into a solar panel.
At the Royal Palm Beach Green Market he had three 15-watt solar panels set up with an 80-watt inverter. "It is a bit over engineered. The three panels can run a Tower Garden, a cell phone charger, a fan, and two lights," Daugirdas said.
Gel-cell batteries are best for solar systems according to Daugirdas, "This battery can run for two days of tower needs even in cloudy conditions," added Daugirdas.
The Tower Garden is great for growing plants fast because it oxygenates the roots with water and air, "This is five weeks of growth," said Daugirdas pointing to the residential use Tower Garden, "We've been eating off of it all week."
You can buy a residential Tower Garden for $525 or pay $45 month with interest free financing. To find out more about the Tower Garden by Juice Plus+, call Christine Daugirdas at 561-719-1394 or email her at email@example.com
You can also find out more about the Tower Garden by going to
Wellington, Fla.--Turmeric is a spice you don't expect to be growing in Palm Beach County. But at NK Lago Farms LLC that's exactly what they grew this year. It took 10 months to grow. Farmer Nick Larsen was selling it for $5 a pound at the Wellington Green Market this past weekend. "It sells for $10 a pound at Whole Foods," he said.
His farm in Pahokee, just 30-miles from the market, grows mainly bananas and plantains. But this year he decided to add turmeric. "It didn't have any disease problems or insect problems. I didn't have to fertilize it because of the muck soils. I just had to weed it a bit."
I asked him if he planned to grow it again, "If it sells well. Yeah," he said.
Turmeric is in the same family as ginger but it is not as spicy. It has many health benefits because it is high in antioxidants. The internet is full of articles about its ability to fight infections and reduce inflammation.
It also makes a wonderful earthy tasting, slightly bitter, ingredient in many dishes, especially Asian ones. It can be used fresh or dried.
Larsen planted a 75-foot row of turmeric that yielded just 16 pounds and he sold every bit of it at the Saturday morning market.
To learn more about NK Lago Farms or encourage Larsen to grow more Turmeric go to here.
Stuart, Fla.—Dark chocolate is good for you. At Castronovo Chocolate they make dark chocolate from ethically sourced cocoa beans in Direct and Fair Trade purchases from Central and South American farmers. Owned by Jim and Denise Castronovo, this is the only South Florida artisanal bean-to-bar chocolate factory. “The best time to visit is on Mondays when we roast our beans,” said Jim during a recent tour.
All their ingredients are organic like the naturally fermented heritage cocoa beans, evaporated cane juice, and cocoa butter.
Along with low temperature roasting, Denise, the chocolate maker, also cracks the beans to get to the nibs. These are then winnowed and ground into a paste. Next comes the melanger machine that conchs the paste with movement and warmth to remove bitter acids from the chocolate.
“This is my favorite part,” Denise said, with a huge smile, about the conching process, “I love tasting the chocolate when it is in this machine.” She grabbed a handful of clean spoons and giggled as she dipped each into the moving, warm chocolate.
Handing them out to the audience of Foodies on the tour, she said, “It is low in sugar. We put it in a few hours ago and it will continue overnight without stopping.”
It was a delicious full flavored spoon of heavenly chocolate. And the low sugar content actually helped the flavors shine. “Our chocolate is like wine, no two batches taste the same,” said Denise.
Tempering and molding are the final stages of the week-long bean-to-bar process.
Everything is made by hand with techniques pulled from the early 19th Century. Jim and Denise even wrap each 4 oz. bar of single-origin chocolate by hand. Oh and they also make truffles and chocolate chip cookies.
To find out more about Castronovo Chocolate you can visit their factory/shop Mon. to Fri. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., and Sat. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. They are located at 555 S Colorado Ave., Stuart, FL 34994, Phone (561) 512-7236
You have to be a local to know where Uncle Ernie's Bayfront Grill & Brew House is. This Florida Panhandle restaurant embraces ocean-to-table practices and passionately supports local fishermen. I found them by accident in October when I went in for lunch and some brews. Uncle Ernie's passion for local seafood meant they would not sell me oysters because there were no local varieties available at the time.
So, I ordered a Fresh Catch Of The Day sandwich made with Florida Gulf caught grouper. It came on a croissant style roll with sautéed mushrooms, fresh tomato, lettuce and pickles.
I wanted to try a flight of beer after my server told me they had some home brew selections. She also told me the Grill was outsourcing their brews to Sweet Water Brewing Company in Georgia but the recipes were all Uncle Ernie's. I thought their beer flight (sampler) was a bit expensive at $12.99 but decided to order it regardless. Normally beer flights are four to five dollars for four 3oz. glasses of beer.
My server said it would take a bit of time to get the beer to me. This was no problem, the day was pleasant and I was sitting outside on the porch looking out over the water.
Some 10 minutes later my server returned with a tray of 12 small glasses of beer. Uncle Ernie's flight was actually a selection of every beer on tap including three of their own. People at nearby tables stared as she set the glasses on the table in a three by four grid pattern.
The Uncle Ernie's brews were: Innes Pale Ale, Miss Jessie's Lite Blue Brew and Amber Ale.
Innes Pale Ale had a strong flavor of hops, Uncle Ernie's Amber Ale was very smooth and full bodied, and Miss Jessie's Lite Blue Brew, with blueberries, was similar to a pilsner with a very floral smell.
To find out more about Uncle Ernie's Bayfront Grill & Brew House you can visit them at 1151 Bayview Avenue, Panama City, FL 32401 or call (850) 763-8427 or go to their website http://uncleerniesbayfrontgrill.com
Mt.Pleasant, Fla.--Bradley Farms makes muscadine vinegar the old fashioned way. According to owners Brad Sells and Melanie Niehus, they leave the grapes on the vine as long as they can to increase the sugar content. This makes a better vinegar Sells said.
The first time they made vinegar it sold out quicker than they expected. Unfortunately this year, when I visited their farm during the New Leaf Cooperative self-driven Farm Tour weekend, there was no vinegar for sale. They did not have time this year but said next year they would. They did have muscadine jellies and jam for sale.
Bradley Farms is a 28-acre homestead in the Pan Handle area of Florida where sheep are raised for their wool, chickens for their eggs, bees for their honey and worms for their composting ability. The farm practices sustainable methods like organic composting, pasture management and permaculture.
They also grown vegetables organically which they sell at area farmers markets along with home made soap and in-house milled flour breads.
To find out more about them you can go to www.bradleyfarms.org or call 850-345-1464
The Front Porch serves some food made with locally grown ingredients. It is a 300 seat restaurant located just north of downtown Tallahassee. This one year old restaurant is already on its second Executive Chef. And the menu has changed from Mediterranean seafood themed to Southern comfort food.
I went in for dinner on a wet October day and chose to sit outside on the covered porch. The menu had many dishes but one with truffle oil caught my attention because this is an ingredient I normally associate with Miami-Dade restaurants.
I asked my server if the chef was from Miami and told her why. She was not sure of his origins but said she would find out adding Truffle oil was also popular in Tallahassee restaurants.
When she got back she said he was from Shula's restaurant. Ah, I thought, a Miami based restaurant.
I ordered a salad with crab, avocado, and a mango salsa. The salad greens came from a local source within walking distance of the restaurant-- Ten-Speed Greens Urban Farm.
|Salad with crab & avocado dressing, The Front Porch,
While I was waiting, house made corn bread was served with a side of butter.
The crab was surprisingly salty to me as was the unseasonal mango salsa but the greens and avocado dressing balanced out the saline experience.
After I paid for my meal I talked to a manager about where the restaurant sourced its ingredients. He said, "The grits come from Anson Mills (SC), cheese from Sweet Grass Dairy (GA), organic produce from Orchard Pond Organics (Fla.), salad greens from Ten-Speed Greens Urban Farm (Fla.), Oysters from Apalachiacola (Fla.) and the mushrooms come from Lake Seminole Farms (Fla.)."
To find out more about The Front Porch Restaurant go to www.frontporchtally.com or visit them at 1215 Thomasville Rd., Tallahassee, FL 32303
The Girls' strawberry season hasn't started. But this doesn't mean they don't have fruit to pick.
I went there yesterday and picked Starfruit ($0.99 each), Pomegranate ($0.99 each) and avocados ($1.29 each, medium sized).
Their vegetable crop will be available for picking next week according to shop staff. Their 2013 strawberry season will start later this year.
To find out more about The Girls Strawberry U-Pick you can go to their website www.thegirlsstrawberryupick.com or call (561) 496-0188 or visit their store (where they sell strawberry milkshakes) at 14466 S.Military Trail, Suite 3, Delray Beach, FL
Who says onions are only good for eating. According to Melissa Polk, owner of Wild Faerie Caps, they are also good for dying fiber and wool, or at least the dried skin of onions are good for this. She uses both yellow and red onions.
I met her at a booth on Golden Acres Ranch, one of the farms participating in the 6th Annual New Leaf Market Cooperative self-driven Farm Tour.
"Dye something with onion skins then go over it with indigo to get dark green," says Polk. She adds that carrot tops work well dying fiber to a light yellow shade.
"If you want something blue. Take a blue flower and pound it on paper. Then you can use it, in any quantity," she says. Her table is covered with twisted bundles of fiber, wool and pieces of knit clothing.
She also uses bark to dye her textiles. "I've used oak bark. You have to use a lot. Simmer it in water and put the fiber in it," Polk says. The down side of using natural dyes is that one dye does not work on all types of materials. What works for wool does not work for cotton or bamboo. And natural dyes fade except for black walnut.
"Black walnuts will dye everything. If you need anything brown, use this natural dye, it's permanent." Polk says picking up a bundle of wool that is a light brown color.
"Someday I will have a dye garden," she says.
She sells her fibers and yarn even though it is not profitable. She says spinners appreciate the time it takes to make the fiber. "Mostly I spin to knit with and not sell. I sell online to feed my addition so I can spin more," she says with a big smile.
To find and purchase Wild Faerie Caps online go to http://www.etsy.com/shop/WildFaerieCaps
The best tasting butter starts with cream from grass-fed cows. Ocheesee Creamery LLC, in Grand Ridge, Florida, has grass-fed cows and excellent low-pasteurization cream. They also don't put anything in their cream so it can easily be made into butter.
|Ocheesee Creamery LLC fresh Florida sweet cream in glass bottle|
The cream needs to be at room temperature between 50-60 F. If it is colder than this the cream will be too thick to be turned into butter.
|Fresh Florida sweet cream in churning container,
Ocheesee Creamery, Fla.
Once it reaches the right temperature pour it into a container that has a lid. Then shake the liquid until it starts to separate into buttermilk and butter. My cream started to separate within seconds of shaking.
|First stage of churning fresh Florida sweet cream butter|
But it didn't look much like butter. So I continued shaking for another five or so minutes until I no longer heard liquid sloshing inside. I opened the container, poured off the buttermilk and continued shaking and banging it on the counter for another five minutes.
|Fresh churned Florida sweet cream butter in processing container|
The final reveal showed me the style I was used to seeing with thick swirls of yellow butter. It was ready for storing and eating.
|Fresh churned Florida sweet cream butter on parchment paper|
The butter had a deliciously flavor of the fresh grass smell I experienced at the Ocheesee Creamery last month while I was on a self-driven farm tour organized by New Leaf Market Cooperative, Tallahassee, Fla.
The only drawback of fresh sweet cream butter is that it doesn't stay fresh very long. The best way to preserve butter is to put it in the freezer. It can stay tasty for up to six months.
So I put some on parchment paper, popped it in the freezer and hardened it up before transferring it to a long term storage container.
Now you see how easy it is to make butter you'll probably never buy from a store again.
Ivan Rus's Honey, Indiantown, Florida
Ivan Rus's Indiantown honey is worth waiting for. It is sold just once a year. It is a sweet and sour honey with a perfume of South Florida wild flowers.
I met up with Rus's wife Diane Stabler at the Sunday morning Royal Palm Beach Green Market and Bazaar. She offered me a taste of their Vermont honey but I found it too sweet for my palette.
So I bought two one pound bottles of Florida wild flower honey for $12 each. There were both larger and smaller sizes available.
To find out more about the honey, you can visit them at the Royal Palm Beach Green Market & Bazaar, at Royal Palm Beach Commons Park, 11600 Poinciana Blvd. on Sundays from 9am to 1pm. Or call them at 561-267-5376.
Peruvian Chef Giacomo Bocchio Interview, Miami, Fla.
Chef Giacomo Bocchio, 29, passionately promotes Peru and its ingredients. He uses Peruvian ingredients in Manifiesto, his Lima, Peru, based restaurant. I met him at last year’s Taste of Peru at the Miami Convention Center, Florida.
“I believe it is a mistake, to try to show the dishes, to talk about Peru’s one dish. It’s like Sushi to Japan but Japan has a lot of types of food. OK, so with Peru, we do have ceviche. That’s OK but we should start exporting produce not plates,” said Bocchio.
Born in Tacna, in the south of Peru, Chef Bocchio started cooking at an early age during hunting trips with his Italian family. Then one summer, at age 15, he took a cooking class and realized he cook make a living at it.
It took him several years of studying at Le Cordon Bleu Peru culinary school and working at several Michelin start restaurants in Europe, Brazil and the United States before he opened his own fine dining restaurant.
Chef Bocchio said farm-to-table style sourcing is normal in Lima.
“I use a salt in Lima called Macnames, it is from a small town in Cusco, it was the salt the Incas used because they didn’t want to go all the way to the beach for salt. And this salt, it’s a pink salt, and I don’t know why but it doesn’t affect the pressure, like high blood pressure.”
Bocchio uses several southern Peruvian ingredients, on his menu, like lamb. “Italians brought this type of lamb and they show Peruvians how to raise the lamb. In Tacna they eat that lamb where other places they eat nothing.”
One of his lamb dishes won best dinner in Condé Nast Traveler magazine. “I have a plate only of goat cheese from a little city in Lima—Pachacamac, and it is really nice. Four types of cheese and it is really a contrast in taste.
“It’s maybe 45 minutes from Lima. There was a guy at the restaurant. He gave me a taste of all the cheeses, they were incredible. So I start using them and other chefs start using them because they were impressed too.
“If we offer produce, there are a lot of creative cooks around the world that are going to grab the produce and do something with this produce. And that’s going to make us sell a lot more produce and classic Peruvian restaurants will have those products everywhere to cook classic Peruvian food.”
To find out more about Manifiesto and Chef Bocchio you can go to http://manifiesto.pe/
NK Lago Farms, Pahokee, Fla: Plantains & More
Pahokee, Fla--NK Lago Farms grows plantains and bananas near Lake Okeechobee, Florida. Co-owner Nick Larsen, started the part-time plantation in 2009. "I started growing bananas because I thought it would be easy but it isn't." It takes a lot of work to grow bananas and plantains Larsen's style--with little to no herbicides and no pesticides.
Larsen has 600 plants on two pieces of property. He grows 31 varieties of plantains and bananas, some are experimental and grown at his quarter acre plant nursery, "If it does good here it goes up to the other farm in quantity."
He has inventive pest management system, "The reason I bag fruit is the black spots," he says, pointing to a Hua Moa plantain with tiny black spots created by thrips, "It still tastes good but it's easier to sell fruit that looks pretty."
To control white fly he uses soapy water and to control weeds he mainly uses his hands.
The Hua Moa plantain is a Hawaiian variety that can grow up to one and a half pounds in weight per fruit. It tastes like a Cuban Manzano plantain, according to Larsen. It can be eaten green as a vegetable or ripened to yellow and eaten as a fruit.
Larsen also grows a delicious disease resistant hybrid-banana called Fundación Hondureña de Investigación Agrícola (FHIA-17). It is the variety that will eventually replace the favorite grocery store Cavendish banana. "It tastes like what bananas used to taste like," says Larsen.
NK Lago Farms sells fruit directly from the farm, through a CSA program and at the Wellington Green Market in season (Nov to May). To find out more you can call them at (561) 727-9553 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wild Foraged Foods of Maine 2013
It can be hard to figure out what's edible in the Maine wilderness. But with the help of guides, some foraging books and some cautious sampling you can figure out what's for dinner or breakfast or lunch. I used information passed down from my mother who knew Euell Gibbons, and two books: "Green Islands Green Sea," by Philip W Conkling, and "The Everything Guide To Foraging," by Vickie Shufer.
Is not actually a moss but a type of seaweed that grows below the low-tide line. It does not taste very good in the raw form but its a great thickening agent for stews or puddings. It contains carrageenan a key ingredient in ice cream, salad dressing, and pie fillings.
It is a sweet, salty, crunchy succulent plant that lives in the salt marsh zone meaning it can survive in and out of the salt water. It's great added to salad.
Goosetongue, Goose Greens or Seaside Plantain
It a succulent plant with waxy leaves that can be hard to eat. It grows in rocks above the high tide mark. The foraging manuals suggested trying many leaves from many plants to find one that tastes good. I tried leaves from seven plants and all were extremely bitter.
It looks like seaweed but isn't. It grows above the high tide line between granite rocks. It is a member of the mustard family but has a flavor closer to horseradish. The younger and smaller the leaves have a milder taste.
It is a tall grass with grain heads. It grows between rocks or on beaches. In the fall the grain heads ripen and can be harvested. After a lot of work the processing the grain it can be used to made bread items. I found the above grass a bit early in the season so I was not able to process the grains.
These are the fruit of wild roses. They grow along the coastline of Maine and have a tangy, earthy flavor. They are packed with vitamin C. They make delicious jams, and tea when dried.
This berry has a delicious sweet flavor but very long, sharp thorns. It grows in many places but seems to prefer bright sunlight areas.
Thistles are in the same family as artichokes so many parts can be eaten if you can get past the thorns. They grow everywhere but seem to prefer slightly shaded areas in fields.
I cut a bunch of leaves off a thistle thinking they were the edible part. But when I got back to my cabin I discovered the main stem and flower were the edible parts.
So you see, with a bit of research and cautious tasting you can add new food items to your diet.
Crazy Hart Ranch, Fellsmere, Fla: Pastured Poultry & More
Fellsmere, Fla.—Crazy Hart Ranch raises happy poultry for their eggs and meat. The birds have access to sunshine, grass, and edible bugs along with their hormone-free, antibiotic-free food. The 5-acre ranch raises chickens, turkeys and ducks. I met owner Linda Hart recently during the Viva 500 Farm Tour event organized by the Slow Food Gold & Treasure Coastchapter.
Hart said her ranch was the first in Florida to get a license to raise and sell pastured poultry. A dozen or so people were on the tour of her ranch.
The turkey pen, at the back of the ranch, was full of lively birds. “Those two are wild animals. They joined the flock two years ago,” Hart said, pointing at two brown colored hens. She said she didn’t mind because they kept the gene pool diverse.
There was a field of ducks further back on the ranch. All the birds were free range animals with all their flight feathers yet none had ever flown away according to Hart. They laid their eggs in the early morning making collection easier than the eggs from chickens that lay two to three times a day.
She said homeopathic doctors say farm chicken eggs are low in cholesterol and are high in vitamins. Hart added that people who are allergic to chicken eggs can usually eat duck eggs without problems.
Her pastured chickens were on 10-acre piece of property, a few miles from the ranch, where they got plenty of access to sunshine, grass and juicy bugs. “We go to a feed mill in Samsula and have our feed ground fresh and custom mixed to our specs with no antibiotics, hormones, roxarsone, or animal byproducts,” said Hart.
Crazy Hart Ranch sells eggs under the “For Pet Consumption Only” label, and some meat Turkeys, at area markets in the Ft. Pierce and Vero Beach area. To find out more you can go to her website at http://www.crazyhartranch.com/ or call her at 772-913-0036
Seaweed Soup With Wild & Domesticated Ingredients
Sea vegetable soup tastes better when it's made from scratch. Several types of sea vegetables can be used. But my favorite is kelp which can be found growing below the low tide mark in Northern Maine.
Before you go throwing seaweed and vegetables into a pot of water thinking that this is how to make soup, STOP. First you have to make a stock and then use it as the base for your soup.
I made my stock out of ingredients grown at Sparkplug Farm, Vinalhaven Island, a nearby island, and from a grocery store in Rockland, Maine. The farm vegetables were un-cured garlic, whole carrots including the green tops, young kale, fresh marjoram, fresh parsley, and cabbage.
The wild vegetables were beach pea leaves, heirloom bay leaves, and dandelion greens.
I threw whole vegetables and greens into a pot of water with enough liquid to cover them by about three inches (approximately 10 cm). I brought the mixture to a boil and then lowered the temperature to a high simmer for an hour or two or until the vegetables fell apart easily when cut.
Straining out the solid ingredients I set aside the liquid to start my soup.
I put in more carrots, but this time using only the orange root part, added more garlic, and some wild harvested Laminaria kelp. I also added some Florida grown rye grain berries.
It was a delicious soup enjoyed by all members of my family including the meat eaters.
Green, Sustainable, Bed & Breakfast Inns, Southeastern United States
A great way to support the environment is to stay at green bed & breakfast inns. More and more places are embracing green practices like recycling, using LED lighting, and conserving water through low-flow plumbing systems. But some go above and beyond these practices like the ones listed below.
Carnegie Guest House, Davidson, N.C.
Located within the grounds of the green practicing sustainable Davidson College, this guest house sources breakfast ingredients from Davidson College farm and campus, local North Carolina farmers and companies. They also use glass water pitchers and cups instead of plastic bottles. And they compost all their kitchen and food waste.
To find out more you can go to their web page: carnegie-guest-house
Cedar House Inn and Yurts, Dahlonega, GA.
Cedar House Inn & Yurts goes many, many steps beyond most green inns with practices like capturing rain on their roof to water their vegetable garden and 300 some fruit trees, and bushes. They source eggs, cheese, meats, and other ingredients from local farmers and companies.
They use cloth napkins at breakfast, have recycle bins in every room, and even make sculptures out of used glass bottles. They use 100 percent recycled toilet paper and paper towels. They have storm windows and ceiling fans in each room to keep the temperatures controlled and reduce heating and cooling needs.
They put cooked food waste in a solar food composter and vegetable waste in a garden composter. Their yurts have composting toilets. And their property is a certified wildlife preserve.
But these are just a fraction of what Cedar House Inn & Yurts does to save the environment. To find out more you can go to their web page
Seminole Pumpkin : Florida Native Heirloom Variety
It’s time to buy your heirloom Seminole Pumpkin. It is a Florida native variety pumpkin that was cultivated and eaten by Seminole Indians before Florida was a state. It is an adaptive gourd that grows equally well in heat, wet or drought conditions.
Commercial growing of it went out of fashion for awhile. Renewed interest from Slow Food groups and farmers has brought it back into popularity.
The pumpkins vary in color from dull orange to yellow to green, and vary in size from one pound to 12. They have a thick outer skin that helps them store well at room temperature for months, and a shape that resembles winter varieties. They are slightly hallow inside. And have many seeds and a dense, slightly sweet, orange colored flesh. They go well any dish and make really good pie.
Unfortunate there are only a few farms in South Florida that grow this tasty gourd. Kai KaiFarm grows and sell the pumpkins at the Sunday morning Gardens Summer GreenMarket, at the Store, just north of PGA Blvd on Military Trail.