Posts Tagged 'heirloom tomatoes'

Tomato Madness – peak of the season

Heirloom tomatoes at season's peak

Heirloom tomatoes at season’s peak

With names like Podland Pink, Gold Medal, Black Cherry, Opalka, Green Grape, Zelta Gaelis, Matt’s Wild Cherry, Lime Green Salad, Cherokee Purple, Homestead 24, Chocolate Stripes….my mouth waters when I gaze upon these beauties. It’s peak of season for these old-fashioned heirloom tomatoes. We have over 60 varieties planted out on the farm – many of our tried and true favorites, and always a few new ones to explore.

Come to our booth at the Pinecrest Gardens Farmers market tomorrow (9-3). Buy yourself an assortment. Enjoy the amazing variety of colors, sizes, shapes and flavors. Take note of which ones you’d like to grow for yourself next fall. We’ll be selling the starts in October at our second annual GrowFest! event at the Redland Fruit & Spice Park.

In the meantime, munch upon these yummy jewels now, because pretty soon they’ll be done for the season.

See you at the market!

Missed GrowFest! 2012? Here’s a second chance to get your seedlings…

seedlings

What: Heirloom tomato (and other) seedlings for sale, and a few other goodies plus Rachel’s eggs, smoked eggs, Fruits of Summer dried fruit mix, honey, the new book Field to Feast, feed for your plants…

When:  THIS Saturday, November 3rd

Hours: 10am-2pm

Where: at the farm  (note the farm is not normally open to the public, so if you miss out, please don’t come another day-your next chance will be Dec 2nd when we return to Pinecrest Gardens market)

Directions to the farm: go West on Bauer Drive (SW 264th St) to Redland Road (187th Ave). CONTINUE on Bauer Drive across the intersection, for 1/3 mile.  Look for the flags and signs. Watch for a 7′ coral rock pyramid on your left (driver’s) side. You’re here! You’ll see our farm sign hanging on the fence. Park along the swale, and enter by the West gate, on the gravel driveway. Proceed all the way to the big metal building at the rear. (don’t bother asking for the address-you won’t get here with it-trust me-just follow the directions above. For you GPS addicts, look for zip code 33031-1787, and FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ABOVE!

See you there!

Redland Organics at The Ramble

Margie mentioned in a previous post that we just had an insane weekend due to too many things happening at once and too many things breaking down at the same time. This post is about the upside of this weekend. After all the hassle and stress of organizing and packing tons of produce for both the CSA and The Ramble at Fairchild we had a really good time and great weather at the event. The turnout was awesome as usual and we were flattered to be busy answering questions and making sales the whole time. We didn’t sell as many heirloom starts as we had hoped and we believe it’s because most local gardeners came to the Kitchen Garden event at Fairchild last month, where we sold out of almost everything the first day. The Ramble was less about gardening and more about fun, learning and eating. All day at our booth people where asking questions (“What is Roselle?’, “What is a smoked egg?”, “Which tomato do you recommend for South Florida?”) and every time I took a walk and stopped in at a different booth I could hear people asking questions about the bread, the hot sauce, the honey, the falafel, the herbs, the flowers, etc.

We had about 40 varieties of Heirloom tomato starts; everything from cherry to paste to beefsteak. My favorite cherry is Sungold which has a small, orange, super sweet fruit. My favorite medium tomato is Cherokee Purple which has dark outside and deep watermelon pink inside. My favorite paste tomato is Blue Beech which I grew in New York this summer and I’m curious to see how it will do here this winter.

We had a beautiful assortment of tropical fruit! This is one subject that distinguishes markets in South Florida from the rest of the country. The variety of tropical fruit we have here is a true luxury and most of us either take it for granted or live our lives oblivious to it, shopping for pears and apples week after week. I was one of those people a few years ago until I got involved with the local food system. I remember what it was like to not know that just a few miles away there were dozens of delicious fruit ripening on trees and shrubs and vines.

At Ramble, one of the more popular items was the sugar cane. We also had Black Sapote, Canistel, Carambola, Passionfruit, Papaya, Charichuela, Cas Guava and Sour Orange.

Another very popular item was our smoked eggs. Everyone that noticed them at least asked about them if not tried them, and if they tried them they came back for more. I think these eggs are so beautiful, they remind me of the Japanese style of raku ceramics. The smoking process creates chocolate brown swirls on the perfectly smooth surface of the eggs. The taste is a whole other thing; eating one of these eggs is a good old smoky experience, with the reminiscence of bacon, wood and salt.

Our vegetables were pretty amazing too. Most of them were harvested at Worden Farm in Punta Gorda; they are one of the partner farms in Redland Organics which provides produce for our CSA as well as our farmer’s market in Pinecrest. By the way, if you hadn’t heard, the Pinecrest market is moving location this year for the first time. It will not be in the parking lot of Gardner’s market anymore; instead it will be in the parking lot of Pinecrest Gardens, where the old Parrot Jungle used to be.

I’d like to finish this post with a THANK YOU to everyone that came to see us because without you we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. We love to see the familiar faces that come every time to participate in the local food system which is growing stronger by the day.

P.S.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Slow Food Miami makes it possible…

For the past several years, the local Slow Food chapter has sponsored our booth at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s annual RAMBLE event. This is FTG’s largest event of the year and a big fundraiser for them. We have brought locally-grown, organic and pesticide-free produce from our Redland Organic farm partners to RAMBLE since 2005. Our first couple of seasons were sponsored by Les Dames d’Escoffier; since then, Slow Food Miami has sponsored a large tent for farmers’ participation and an accompanying tent where presentations and chef demonstrations have highlighted locally-grown foods from our farms.

The reality of farming here is that there are very few farmers interested or willing to come to events like this or interact with the public. The really big farms wholesale everything, and the really little farms don’t have the time or resources to devote to manning a booth. So we at Bee Heaven Farm made it our mission to involve as many of our partner farms as possible – if not by their actual presence, then by bringing their produce to the table. And this we have done.

This year we represented the following farms (in alphabetical order): Bee Heaven Farm, Guara Ki, Health & Happiness Farm, Homestead Organic Farms, Little Cypress (C&B Farms),  Possum Trot, Sawmill Farm, Three Sisters Farm, Worden Farm, and Wyndham Organics (if I omitted anyone, I apologize-it’s been a bit hectic getting ready for this and the CSA startup). Paradise Farms joined us there with their crew, for the formal debut of their own Oyster Mushrooms!

For several years now, we’ve been bringing many different varieties of heirloom tomato starts to RAMBLE. This year, in appreciation of Slow Food’s sponsorship, we searched out and grew as many Slow Food Ark of Taste heirloom tomato varieties as we could find, and featured them along with many other varieties selected specially for our climate.

Thank you, Slow Food Miami!

Heirloom Starts – Part One

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

This weekend (Oct 24 & 25) we’ll be at the Fairchild Edible Garden Festival with the first of our CERTIFIED ORGANIC heirloom tomato and veggie starts! These baby plants are ready for transplanting in to your own garden plot.  We’ll have lots more varieties ready for RAMBLE on November 20-22.

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

Heirloom tomato Starts:   Amish Gold (an awesome cross between Sun Gold and Amish Paste), Black Cherry, Black Plum, Black Zebra, Cream Sausage, Green Zebra, Large Red, Lime Green Salad, Orange Banana, Pink Lemon, Super Snow White Cherry, Power’s Heirloom, Pink Ping Pong, San Marzano, Czech’s Excellent Yellow, Podland Pink, Yellow Pear.

Veggie & Herb Starts:  Arugula, Chard (Orange Fantasia and Fordhook), Genovese Basil, Lettuce Leaf Basil, Russian Red Kale, Lacinato (aka Dino) Kale, Spigariello Liscia (leaf broccoli), Garlic Chives, Lemongrass.

We’ll also have some of the first local harvests- all certified organic, too! 

From our own Redland farms: Certified organic Avocados, Carambola, Rachel’s Eggs, Smoked Eggs (yum!). We’ll allso have our local Wildflower Farm Honey and Tropical Fruit Honey, and perhaps some last-minute add-ons.

From our Devil’s Garden (Clewiston) partners: Mountains of Organic Yellow Corn (yay!), Zucchini and Yellow Squash.

Come see us early Saturday for the best selection, but if you can’t make it then, we’ll see you Sunday!

Blast from the Past

A beautiful variety of dark heirloom tomatoes grown at Bee Heaven Farm last season.

dark tomatoessmall

A new season begins

Returning Farm Intern Muriel arrived two weeks ago (already?!) , along with increased responsibilities and a great attitude! She immediately got to work cleaning up the summer’s accumulation of spiderwebs, dust and debris in the barn, taking inventory of planting supplies, starting germination tests for our heirloom tomato seeds, posting CSA enrollments,  and a host of other startup chores.

In the meantime, I, Farmer Margie, was waiting to till under the cover crop… and waiting…and waiting…and waiting… Why? It was raining every single day, and not just a little. The soil has been soggy for weeks. You can’t work the soil when it’s so wet – you’ll destroy its tilth, and that’s something you want to avoid – even if it set you back a few weeks.

So what the heck is ’tilth’ anyway? Read more


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