Posts Tagged 'beans'

…aaaand, we’re BACK!

After a dormancy approaching 2 years (really? really!! time flies!), I realized it’s time to crank up this blog again – just in time for the new season.  We didn’t REALLY fall off the face of the earth. We’ve continued to send out emails, and have been active on Facebook, with some Tweeting thrown in from time to time, but I know that a number of our fans don’t “do” Facebook, not everyone is on our email list, and many don’t appreciate being bombarded with constant emails. So, I’m brushing off the rust, oiling the gears…ready to blog it!

Lots of things have happened in the intervening months. It’s the cycle of  life on a farm – preparing, planting crops, weeding, harvesting, selling, delivering, removing, recharging, then starting all over again. And in between each one, there’s weeding, dealing with unexpected stuff – sometimes good, sometimes not – more weeding, and in the summer, mowing and mowing and mowing – oh, and weeding! Then somewhere in the mix, throw in a crop of baby chicks to replenish the flock, after decimation by coyote and feral dogs… yep, life on the farm is NEVER boring.

Bee Heaven Farm collage

Last year on the farm

We saw new markets start, and others die out. The Homestead Market at Losner Park and the Overtown Market on 10th Street did not return in 2011-2012, and were sorely missed. But the slightly less hectic pace let us concentrate on the Pinecrest Gardens Green Market, where we had a great season. We’ll be back in Pinecrest in December.

Last year we started using Farmigo’s  CSA software system. We’ve fully automated our CSA enrollment process and are now able to offer more flexibility with share options and payment plans. In the summertime, when the CSA isn’t running and we don’t sell at the farmers market, we’ve always had a prepaid system (open to anyone) to order seasonal summer items – mainly tropical fruit. We implemented Farmigo’s webstore functions for this, and expanded our summer pickup locations to include the Upper Eastside Market, where our more northerly customers could pick up their orders without having to schlep down to Joanna’s Marketplace in the Dadeland area or to the farm in Redland. That’s worked out really well!

Our CSA options expanded last year, with the discovery of locally-grown Sem-Chi certified organic rice right in the Clewiston area barely 100 miles from the farm, and the debut of local salt farmers Midge & Tom with their Florida Keys Sea Salt. As more local organic (or pesticide-free) producers come online, we continue to develop additional stability and more variety in the shares.  We’re always looking for new crops, too. We have an amazing opportunity in South Florida to explore tropical food crops not available in the rest of mainland USA, and we’re all about that! Of course, Mother Nature always has the last word.

…see you around!

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)

After the freezess

We took the row covers off today.  What the bitter wind didn’t burn, the freeze did. We had frost on Monday morning and again, briefly but unexpected,  on Wednesday morning.

Many of the bean plants are fried.

beans, after the freeze

bean rows after the freeze

There are a few beans hanging on, and some flowers, but we’ve lost so much leaf cover that what remains may not recover. We’ll water sparingly to avoid more stress, and see what happens.

Even under cover, the tops of most of the tomato plants froze.
frozen tomato plants

tomato plants after the freeze

We were already harvesting some cherry tomatoes, and most of those fell off the plants. We collected them today, and will bring them to market- time to make Green Tomato Jam! The larger tomatoes are still on the plants, in various stages of sizing up. We’ll see what happens with them.

The brassicas as a whole, as well as the chard and carrots, fared much better. They’re bright and perky, as you can see here. But look closely to the right and the left and you’ll see burnt banana leaves and bronzed guava leaves. The greener trees in the background are avocados, which seem for the most part OK- a little bronzing on some top leaves.

happy carrots after the freeze

Thanksgiving in the barn

The year we started the CSA, we also began a new trandition – Thanksgiving dinner in the barn. Family, friends, WWOOFers and interns join us at a very long table running the length of the barn. Everyone pitches in with a dish. My father-in-law, a retired pastry chef, always prepares a number of awesome pies: key lime, pecan, pumpkin, and my new favorite – pecan/pumpkin. Of course, he brings fresh whipped cream in the special baker’s cloth dispenser with the fancy tips, and we all take turns putting some in our coffee after he tops the pies. Other dishes include Homestead Organic Farms’ new green bean harvest simply-prepared with a bit of oil or butter and some herbs. The inevitable sweet potatoes show up in various guises, and I always make an awesome tart cranberry/carambola/orange sauce, or some variation thereof, depending on what fruit we happen to have around. We always try to have a smoked turkey, and this year, Robert from Possum Trot  is joining our group for the first time, and smoking one of our grass-fed organic turkeys (unfortunately, not local).

Today it rained all day – over 4″ of rain – and the crew spent most of the day cleaning up the barn and organizing thing so everything is clean and sparkly for Thanksgiving dinner. Tomorrow I will be roasting the other turkey, preparing the cranberry sauce and the stuffing (a seat-of-the-pants creation which always involves bread or cornbread, nuts, celery, and fresh cranberries, among other things). We’ll probably serve some of our own antidesma wine along with the organic Bonterra wines Marian will be bringing.

It promises to be a great evening, as always, and we will express our gratitude for the wonderful bounty our planet provides in return for simple caring. Happy Thanksgiving!


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