Friday, September 16, 2011

Drumstick Pods: A South Indian Favorite Grown in South Florida

Drumsticks pods, a popular south Indian curry ingredient, have a limited season in south Florida. They are ususally only grown for private use. I bought my Drumsticks at Maria's Produce, 4361 Hypoluxo Road, Lantana (near Military Trail).
Green Drumstick Pods next to banana
They had such a hard shell I wasn't sure where to begin. So, I asked a fellow shopper, an Indian woman, how to prepare the pods. She said to hold a pod at one end and smack the other end on a hard surface to crack the shell. Then take a spoon and scoop out the seeds before boiling.

When I got home, I realized I needed more info, and went online for recipes. Most recommended boiling, one-inch pieces, for 15 minutes. I followed the Indian woman's suggestions and the online recipes. Fifteen minutes did nothing to soften the outer shell but it left the inner flesh translucent and edible (otherwise it is too bitter to eat).

I picked up a piece, placed it between my teeth, and pulled. It was just like eating artichoke leaves, and it tasted a bit like artichoke mixed with asparagus. Next time though, I'll leave the cooking to Taste Of India Restaurant on Okeechobee Blvd, in West Palm Beach.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bedner's Farm, Florida: Embraces Agritourism

At the end of last growing season I was invited to tour Bedner's Farm in Boynton Beach, Florida. I was joined by a small group of local city officials, Palm Beach Soil & Water Conservation District employees, and several members of the Palm Beach & West Palm Beach County Farm Bureau chapters.
Bedner's Farm tour

We were treated to a very enjoyable and informative tour of Bedner's Farm, in a modern covered wagon pulled by a large green tractor. Our tour guide, David Legg, entertained both our minds and pallets, passing out samples of fresh farm grown vegetables and fruit. 
David Legg
Legg also took us on a walking tour of the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge, located just west of the farm.

Returning to the main pavillion we ate roasted meat from Porky and Beth's BBQ, the onsite restaurant. Then it was down to business with lectures by Palm Beach Soil & Water Conservation District, the Farm Bureau, and Bedner family members.

The purpose of these lectures was to increase public awareness on the importance of local farms to local economies. And to encourage agricultural tourism (agritourism) through hay rides, farmers' markets, cooking workshops, guided tours, field gleaning, and educational workshops for the next generation to learn about the source of their food.

The Palm Beach and West Palm Beach County Farm Bureaus sponsored the day on Bedner's Farm. This was the first in a series of events Roland Yee, the President of the the Palm Beach Farm Bureau, hopes to have in the future, to educate people about the lives of local Palm Beach County farmers.