Sunday, April 30, 2017

Florida Edible Mahoe Tree

If you live in Florida you often get to see variegated Mahoe trees. You might know them as an ornamental tree used to bring color to a yard. But I bet you didn’t know these colorful Mahoe trees have edible parts. Well according to Green Deane of Eat The Weeds they are.

Multicolored Mahoe tree, Florida
Copyright 2017 by Helen A Lockey
He is a Florida forager who takes people on walks through Florida wilderness to teach them about which wild plants and fruit are edible. 

Mahoe flower, edible hibiscus, Florida
Copyright 2017 by Helen A Lockey
Mahoe trees are in the edible hibiscus tree family. The yellow flowers can be eaten raw but the leaves have to be cooked according to Deane.

The flowers are slightly slimy in texture and have lettuce like flavor mixed with just a touch of sweetness.

According to Deane the flowers only last one day and are yellow in the morning and red in the evening before they die.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Get Your Dry Florida-Grown Stover Wine Before It’s Gone

St. Augustine, Fla.—Stover Reserve wine, from San Sebastian Winery, is ending. It will no longer be available for sale after the last case is sold this year. It is a dry white wine made from Florida-grown vinifera bunch grapes called Stover. San Sebastian winery and their sister company Lakeridge Winery are the only vineyards in the state of Florida still growing this grape varietal.

Limited supply Stover Reserve dry Florida-grown wine, San Sebastian Winery,
St. Augustine, Fla., Copyright 2017 by Helen A Lockey

In 2016 the Stover grape vines suffered a devastating blight. This drove the wine growers and producers to decide to pull up the vines and not replant. If they did replant it would take another five years before the vines produced enough fruit to make wine.

Stover Reserve is a delicious white wine that starts of slightly sweet and finishes dry. It has clean notes of citrus, juicy green apple and aromatic spice. It goes wonderfully with fish and chicken dishes. It is a multi-award winning wine.

If you want to buy a bottle or case you’ll have to go directly to San Sebastian or Lakeridge wineries because there are no longer enough cases for them to put on their internet order page. Nor are there enough bottles to include in their complimentary wine tasting.

I talked to a wine shop representative today (March 31, 2017), and she said they only had 16 cases left.

They sell for $12.99 a bottle and are worth every cent.

And if you like this wine, I mean really like this wine and the idea that dry white wine grapes are growing in Florida, then contact Seavin Incorporated, the parent company of San Sebastian & Lakeridge, and tell them to replant the Stover grape vines. Then pledge that you will buy and tell all your friends to buy this wonderful Florida-grown wine in five years time.

157 King Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084
Phone: 904-826-1594

19239 US-27, Clermont FL 34715
Phone: 1-800-768-9463

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Florida Farm Bureau Womens Leadership Conference

Florida--Women farmers are gathering again for a leadership conference. The event, started just five years ago, brings together female farmers, ranchers, media and individuals interested in farming from around the state of Florida for a two and a half day educational and fellowship conference.

Florida Farm Bureau Womens Leadership Conference farm tour 2016,
Belle Glade, Fla. Copyright 2017 By Helen A Lockey

They come together to figure out how to tell their stories through social media, educational book readings to school children and on-farm events. Many if not most are multigenerational farmers and they want to include people in their farming journey.

They want people to know how they came to farm in Florida, what they farm, how they take care of the land they farm, and why they want to continue to farm.

They want people to see that they care about what is going to happen now and in the future of farming. This conference helps them translate their passion into beautiful, supportive  and educational messages.

But there is so much more to this conference like tours of local farms, bonding exercises and inspirational speakers.

I have attended two of these conferences and have learned a lot about female farmers and farms in general here in the state of Florida.  I found the farm tours to be one of the most interesting parts of the conferences. I also felt very welcomed by the women ranchers and farmers each time I attended.

Amy Roloff speaking at the Florida Farm Bureau Womens
Leadership Conference in 2016, Boca Raton, Fla.
Copyright 2017 by Helen A Lockey
Highlights of the 2016 conference held in Boca Raton, Florida, were the Palm Beach County farm tour and first-generation farmer speaker Amy Roloff from the television reality show, "Little People, Big World."

Roloff summed up the sentiment of the whole leadership conference.

"I'm just here to share my insights on being on a farm," Roloff said, adding, "We're big on sharing our farm with other people. It's about building community and making the change about agriculture."

This year's conference is being held in St. Augustine at World Golf Village Renaissance St. Augustine Resort (500 South Legacy Trail, St. Augustine, Fla.) from March 2-4th, 2017.

There are still spots available according to Jason Davison (in a phone call Feb 28, 2017). "We love to have people new to the farming community attend."

You can register online or at the door with a check or cash ($100 made out to Florida Farm Bureau Federation), just be aware that food might not be available with your purchase. But according to Davison they will try and make sure your needs are met.

Unfortunately the hotel is already booked but there is another hotel nearby at exit 323 off Interstate 95, and other hotels at exit 318.

It is worth the time and costs to attend this event especially if you are interested in women farmers and ranchers in the state of Florida and how you might be able to help them get their message out.