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Farm Day! our annual open house – everyone’s invited


FARM DAY at Bee Heaven Farm

Sunday, December 19th

11:30 am-3:30 pm

Come to the country! Fun for the whole family!
* Activities *     * Hay Rides *
* Farm Market * 

Featuring locally-grown seasonal organic produce, dried fruit,  raw farm honey,  heirloom tomato plants, veggie & flower plants for sale 

* Live Music *   with local singer/songwriter Grant Livingston 

*Food*   with Sakaya Kitchen’s Dim Ssäm à Gogo Food Truck.

 Chef Richard Hales will be preparing dishes using local ingredients – bring $$ for this amazing food!

Your $5 donation helps support our farm internship program, and includes a chance to win a Smith & Hawken BioStack Composter- a $129 value

Directions: from southbound on US1, turn west (right) on Bauer Drive (SW 264th St), & go approx 5 miles. The farm is about 1/3 miles past Redland Road (SW 187th Ave).  Look for the farm sign & flags.

Come see us at the market…

Farmers market season is in full swing now. Here’s our market schedule:

Sundays 9-2 at the Pinecrest Gardens Farmers Market, corner of Killian Dr & SW Red Road. Dec 5 & 12, then skip 19th (Farm Day!), skip 26th, return Jan 2 every Sunday for the rest of the season

Mondays 2-6 at Homestead Farmers Market, Losner Park, Main Street, Homestead

Wednesdays 1-4 at Overtown Roots in the City Market, corner of NW 2nd Avenue & 10th Street

December 19 is Farm Day! at Bee Heaven Farm 11:30-3:30. This is a day of fun on the farm, with live music, hay rides, a farm market, & great food (Can you say, FOOD TRUCK!?). Full details to follow. Plan on coming and bring $$.

Amble to the RAMBLE!

Visit our booth at Fairchild’s 70th annual Ramble. We’ll have our full farmers market display BHF's market boothwith plenty of goodies, such as dandelion, callaloo, arugula, and assorted other greens, salad mix, first harvest local green beans!, head lettuces, squash & zucs & cukes, turnips, bok choy, cherry tomatoes, fennel and assorted herbs, betel leaf and hoja santa, avocados, carambolas, jakfruit, passionfruit, sugarcane and persimmons. Everything is certified organic or pesticide-free, AND locally-grown!

We’ll also have our awesome Antidema Butter, Guava Shells, our Fruits of Summer dried tropical fruit mix, and assorted other goodies.

So, come on out – we won’t be at Pinecrest on Sunday, only at RAMBLE!

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

We’ll be at the 70th Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Ramble festival this weekend! Come enjoy arts, music, food, shopping, amazing scenery, cooking demos, kids activities, and shop for your organic goodies all in one place.

Fill up on fresh, local, organic veggies, herbs and fruits, our own guava shells (yum), (dried)Fruits of Summer, and, doing a test run, brine pickles & ferments. Pick up some starter plants too (some tomatoes, some veggies, some flowers)-all certified organic! And we’ll have items you’ll see used in some of the demos – allspice and roselle (Jamaican sorrel)

We’ll hold your purchases for you until you’re ready to go home. And, we’re proud to announce that we now take credit & debit (MC,Visa,Discover), and EBT/SNAP benefits! Of course, we do love cash!

Look for our booth in the GreenMarket area. See you there!

PS: If you’re not a Fairchild member, you may think admission is too expensive. It’s worth springing for it, since, once you’re a member, you get in free to ALL their events for an entire year (except for the moonlight tours)

To Market! To Market!

      It’s the start of market season! 

Come see us Sunday Nov 7, 
at  Pinecrest Gardens Farmers Market,

Killian Drive (SW 112th St) and Red Road (SW 57th Ave)
from 9am-2pm

 Here’s a partial list of what we’ll have this weekend:

 From our own Redland farms: Choquette Avocados, persimmons!, Carambola (sweet and tart), curryleaf, garlic chives, Thai basil, lemongrass, jakfruit, mamey sapote, passionfruit, Rangpur limes. We’ll also have our local Wildflower and Tropical Fruit Honey, fresh pollen!

From our Punta Gorda partner Worden Farm and other area farms: Cukes (picklers, Asian, slicers), squash (patty pan and zucchinis), radishes, turnips, dandelions, bok choy, fennel, eggplant, Lettuce!, Savoy Spinach!, bok choy, arugula, salad mix, grape tomatoes, and more… 

Come early for the best selection!

NEWS FLASH: We now accept credit, debit, and SNAP/EBT cards!
(Visa, MasterCard, and Discover)

Farmer Margie Arrested! Driving Incognito Farm Truck

Late this morning, I was tooling along Killian Drive in our farm truck, enjoying the pretty scenery and gorgeous weather, accompanied by BHF intern Liberty. We were headed to Fairchild Tropical Garden to pick up the leftovers from our wildly successful Edible Garden Day weekend.

 Along came Pinecrest Police officer Blineau, who took one look at the truck and pulled us over. Officer B proceeded to inform me that I was committing an arrestable misdemeanor offense, by

 ‘not displaying the required commercial markings in violation of Miami Dade County Ordinance which requires that all commercial vehicles have identification signs on both sides of the vehicle with the name, address, telephone number and occupational license of the owner in letters and numbers larger than 3″ in height’.

Very confused, since we are not a business (like a handyman or plumber) with an occupational license, I explained that we are a farm, and told him where we were headed and what we were doing. He said we were on the road, transporting product, and therefore in violation.

He then took my ID and registration, requested I show him the back of the truck (empty except for a pallet jack), and asked me things like my social security number, how much I weighed, and whether my teeth were ‘normal’ (I kid you not!). Thinking he was writing me a ticket, I asked him what that had to do with anything. He informed me that he was filling out the arrest form, and I would be arrested on the spot, written up, and released, provided I promised to appear in court.

Liberty and I waited in the truck for over an hour, while he filled out the paperwork and, I guess, looked up my (non-existent) extensive criminal and traffic records. Then he waited for the sergeant to arrive to sign the paperwork. Finally, he asked me to get out of the truck,  fingerprinted me (after reminding me yet again that this was an arrestable offense) and asked me to sign (wait, no!  actually, he told me I had no choice but to sign, or he would cart me off to jail). Then he gave me my copy of the “Complaint/Arrest Affidavit”, and advised me to get the signs put on the truck before I received the summons for the court date, since that “might help me out”. I told Officer B he would have been of more help had he simply informed me and issued me a warning, whereupon he repeated (for about the fifth time), that he could bring me in to jail, but instead he was just arresting me right there and releasing me on the spot. I thanked him for destroying my day. He thought nothing of it – after all, arresting citizens is a routine part of his job.

Congratulations, Pinecrest PD! Officer B should be rewarded for keeping the Village safe from dangerous criminals like myself! Gee, I might be running an illegal nanny delivery service to those upscale Pinecrest homes – or maybe I’m carrying contraband construction materials to the very same homes. No, wait! maybe…those organic heirloom tomato starts are really drug plants in disguise…

Get your Heirloom Tomato plants this weekend!

…at Fairchild’s Edible Garden Festival. Look for our booth – we’ll be surrounded by a sea of baby tomato plants waiting for you to take them home. We have 66 varieties of all shapes, colors and sizes-over 2500 plants!   $3 each; buy 5, get another one free; buy 15, get 5 more free.

Requiem for a rooster

George Washington died yesterday. He was a free soul, easygoing but solicitous of his female companions. My daughter named him a few years ago – don’t really know how he earned his name, but it was his very own.

We’ve had trouble with predators in the past, and our hens are therefore housed in chicken tractors (moveable, bottomless pens), to help protect them. However, we have a few ‘wild’ chickens, mostly roosters, who live free on the farm. In order to survive, they have to have a bit of that wildness more commonly found in the smaller breeds. Survivors tend to be quick on their feet (and nearly impossible to catch!). Their little birdbrains have to maintain honed isntincts to keep them from being caught and eaten. If they’ve managed to survive to adulthood, they usually live for a few years.

I’m not quite sure how old George Washington was, but he was at least 3 or 4. He was beautiful white with black specks scattered here and there in his feathers, and he was on the short side. He carried himself beautifully. I enjoyed watching him strut around, checking on his ‘girls’, going from one chicken tractor to another one. I thought I had a picture of him somewhere, but couldn’t find it…

George would show up at the cat food bowl on the kitchen steps, several times a day, looking for tidbits. I think cat food is one of the roosters’ favorite treats. He would jockey with the cats and the other roosters, Crazy Chicken 1, Crazy Chicken 2, and Rover, for position at the bowl. 

I’m guessing a pack of dogs, or perhaps a fox, came in the night, flushed him out of his sleeping perch, and attacked. I saw piles of feathers here and there, and much later in the day, our farm interns found what was left of him off in a corner, near the road.

We’ve lost a personality. George Washington will be missed.


Summer’s muggy heat is easing up. Fall is here. You can feel a certain coolness in the evenings now. We’re definitely transitioning from summer in to fall, the start of our winter growing season.

It’s time to dig! …well, figuratively speaking, that is, if you’re in the “Krome Gravelly Soils”, as the USGS euphemistically classifies our solid limestone rock base, with its light dusting of soil on top.

Large commercial farms, and some small farms, hire the services of a ‘rock plow’  to break up the rock and release the soil trapped in the many pores characteristic of limestone. The rock plow is a big yellow bulldozer, specially equipped with a big solid steel ‘plow tip’. It’s mounted on the front of the machine. The plow is run repeatedly back and forth across a field, each time ‘slicing’ and breaking up a thin layer of rock and loosing the soil to a depth of about 6 or 8 inches. This becomes the planting media for the year’s crops. Many growers repeat this process every year or two. The rock plow was patented in 1943 by two local growers – check out the patent record here.

Unlike organic growers, chemical growers treat the land not as living soil, but as a substrate to hold plant roots, expecting to add everything the plant needs for survival. This is because limestone is alkaline (has a high pH), and plant nutrients are more tightly bound in the soil and not as readily available to plants. This is where organic matter, microorganisms, and the soil chemistry immediately around the plant’s root hairs comes into play.

One of the basic tenets of an organic farm is nurturing the life of the soil. So organic farmers use techniques such as composting and cover crops to help build organic matter and provide a good environment for soil microorganisms to flourish. In a healthy soil, the ‘bad’ bugs and fungi are kept under control by ‘good’ bugs and fungi, in a natural balance. This also helps maintain more acidic conditions in the immediate area around the plant’s root hairs, where all the nutrient absortion action takes place.

A good compost pile goes a long way toward recycling nutrients, reducing the size of our landfill, and buildingup soil health. This process can go on year-round. Cover crops are used with several goals – reducing weeds during the off-season, building up organic matter, and, depending or the cover crop used, reducing some pests and diseases.

Here in South Florida, we don’t grow many vegetable crops in the summer. Heck, we don’t even want to be outdoors much in the summer (except maybe at the beach). It gets pretty grueling out there in mid-summer. Although some things grow well in summertime, like okra, cowpeas and their relatives, and bitter melon, to name a few, most of the common food crops we like to eat will not. Cover crops are the perfect solution, and at Bee Heaven Farm we take full advantage of them.

So, having sowed our SudeX sorghum-sudangrass hybrid cover crop seed back in June, we sat back (not really – we were busy with our avocado crop, catching up on paperwork and other sundy tasks). After a false start & reseeding due to a period of no rain, it grew to about 6 feet tall. Then it was time to mow it down and till it in.

But wait! The rains were in full summer monsoon mode. The soils were completely saturated. You can’t work the soil when it’s in that condition, or you will kill the soil life and destroy its structure (tilth – see last year’s post). So we waited, increasingly anxoiusly, until we had 3 days with no rain. Luckily, these same limestone soils drain very well, and finally, this past weekend, we were able to mow the cover crop down. We finished tilling yesterday. Now we wait for a week or so, to allow weed seeds to germinate. Then we’ll till one more time, form up the beds, put in the irrigation, and plant them seeds!

In the meantime, we’re preparing the plant starts, for transplanting and for our annual heirloom tomato starts sale at FTG’s Edible Garden Festival October 23-24. See you there!

Cornucopia Institute posts Miami Herald article- Bee Heaven owner: Organic farming is good for the foodie — and the land


via Bee Heaven Owner: Organic farming is good for the foodie — and the land.


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January 2021

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