Saturday, March 31, 2012

Golden Crabs at Tequesta Green Market, Fla, UPDATED

Recently, I found out about Florida Golden Crabs. They were being sold at the Tequesta Green Market by Bruce Hartwig of the Offshore Crab Co. Inc.

He had a live one, in a bowl, at his stall. He said, the Golden Crab had been fished in Florida waters for nine years yet very few restaurants carried it. "They are the wrong color," he said, "most Florida chefs expect crab to be red."

He also told me the crabs could be a bit tricky to cook, if done wrong, the shell turns black. So he has a secrete way of cooking them that involves vinegar.

Most of his contracts are out-of state in Las Vegas and China, "The Chinese prefer their's alive, so that's how we send them."

I bought a bag of cooked legs and took them home for dinner. The meat was very sweet and reminded me a bit of fresh Maine lobster.

He sells live crabs and cooked ones at the Tequesta green market. But you better hurry, this Sunday is the last green market for Tequesta in this season.

If you miss him at the market, you can still reach him at (754) 246-0578 or
He doesn't have a website because he says he is too busy.

Updated April 2015: Fisherman Hartwig no longer fishes or sells Golden Crab in Florida.

Friday, March 30, 2012

2012 AgriTunity Farm Tour: Cattle Video

I took this after lunch at J and G Ranch in Brooksville, Florida on January 27th.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Seeds Of Hope Community Garden, Lake Park, Fla

Seeds Of Hope Community Garden, located in the heart of Lake Park, Florida, proves you can grow anything, anywhere.

Seeds Of Hope Community Garden sign, Lake Park, Fla.

The soil is sandy and full of rocks and concrete from the abandoned apartment complex that used to occupy the space. There is a thick black mesh material laying on top of the sand to suppress what weeds might survive.

Volunteer shows off black ground-cover tarp, Seeds of Hope
Community Garden, Lake Park, Fla.

Each plot costs only $20 a month to rent but this does not include the initial cost of set-up. You need soil to grow vegetables. At Seeds Of Hope all the soil has to be brought in, then set up in raised-bed style rows, on top of the black ground cover. You also have to pay for irrigation hoses to water your crop.

Boy Scout Troop plots at Seeds Of Hope Community
Garden, Lake Park, Fla.

Despite all these complications, vegetables grow in abundance and often produce more than the renters can consume. The excess goes into a communal fund that is either sold at farmers markets (to fund future gardening projects) or is given out to the community of Lake Park (often for free).

Sunflower at Seeds Of Hope Community Garden, Lake
Park, Fla.

To find out more you can call (561) 252-7179 or visit their booth at the Lake Park Green Market held on Sundays in Kelsey Park, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Thai Fruit Carving Tent, 22nd Asian Cultural Fest, Homestead, Fla.

Thai carved fruits and vegetables are beautiful. The art form goes back to the 700 years. I got to see some carved right before my eyes at the 22nd Annual Asian Cultural Festival.

Below is an example of a green papaya transformed into a work of art.

Below is a watermelon that looks like a bouquet of roses.

And here a watermelon and ripe papaya compete for beauty in the picture below.

Finally a cantaloupe is given a three-dimensional floral face-lift.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Red Bell Pepper: Bedner's Florida U-Pick Style

Not all bell peppers taste the same. I've bought them from stores and farm stands but the best come from u-pick-it farms. There I get to use my mother's advice. She always told me to pick fruits and vegetables with the deepest color because they have the best flavor and most nutrients.

Bedner's Farm sign as seen from u-pick strawberry field,
Boynton Beach, Florida

So, whenever I get a chance I go to u-pick farms like the one in Boynton Beach called Bedner's. They had tomatoes, peppers, and strawberries to pick when I went this past Tuesday.

Back in January, I went to Bedner's to pick peppers and tomatoes, and so knew it was going to be a short walk to the rows. I was wrong.

The plants were gone and I had to walk an extra 1/2 mile. It was hot, I was in jeans, and by the time I got to the second field I was one pant size smaller. But it was worth it.

Tomato plants at Bedner's Farm u-pick,
Boynton Beach, Florida, Copyright 2012 by Helen A Lockey

I was there to pick bells but the fully loaded tomato plants called to me as I passed. So, I put a few into my basket. Then I looked for peppers but found few that were ready on the row.

Row of bell peppers at Bedner's Farm u-pick,
Boynton Beach, Florida
Copyright 2012 by Helen A Lockey

I switched to another row. This time they were too ripe and many were rotting on the plants. Frustrated, I grabbed some more tomatoes and shoved them into my basket. I continued doing this until out of the corner of my eye I saw a bell pepper that might be ok.

Hidden red bell pepper at Bedner's Farm u-pick,
Boynton Beach, Florida
Copyright 2012 by Helen A Lockey

Reaching down through the thick green foliage, I grasped the pepper and ran my fingers over its surface to check for soft spots. There were none. I twisted it off the stalk and pulled it towards me. It had a gorgeous deep red color. Then I saw another one, and another, and another. I stopped at seven remembering the sign at the entrance to the field that said something like, "only pick what you are willing to pay for."

Full basket of fresh picked tomatoes and red bell peppers,
at Bedner's Farm u-pick, Boynton Beach, Florida
Copyright 2012 by Helen A Lockey

In the end, I bought over $5 of tomatoes and over $7 of red bell peppers, they cost $0.99/lb. When I got home, I was further delighted by the bell peppers. They were the sweetest bells I had ever tasted.

I will probably be back at Bedner's this weekend for more but this time I'm wearing shorts.

Bedner's Farm U-pick and Market is located at 10066 Lee Rd, Boynton Beach, FL  33473
(Just off 441 between Atlantic Avenue and Boynton Beach Boulevard)

They are open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Monday, March 19, 2012

22nd Annual Asian Cultural Festival: Floridian Thai Culture

Fruit and Spice Park in Homestead, Florida, was the center of all things Asian on March 3rd and 4th. I went for the food, hoping to find some authentic Thai desserts, and was not disappointed.

Woman cooking Kanom Krok, a traditional Thai dessert, 22nd Annual
Asian Cultural Festival at Fruit and Spice Park, Homestead, Fla.

This woman was cooking Kanom Krok (coconut-rice pancake) with a recipe straight out of the streets of Bangkok. Seeing her, I was transported to my earliest childhood memory when I lived in Thailand. Each day, a woman carrying Kanom Krok cooking pans, would visit my preschool and sell her fresh cooked cakes.

There was a long line of people in front of the booth some had been waiting 20 minutes or more. One woman said she lines up every year just to get bite of these traditional delicacies. You won't find these in any South Florida restaurant.

Kanom Krok or Thai coconut-rice pancake, pouring into
special charcoal heated pans, 22nd Annual Asian Cultural
Festival at Fruit and Spice Park,
Homestead, Fla.

Kanom Kroks are traditionally made with coconut milk, shredded coconut, rice flour, tapioca flour, a touch of sugar, and salt. Then they are cooked in a special greased pan over charcoal, until just barely brown.

Kanom krok or Thai coconut-rice pancake getting scooped out of
special charcoal heated pan, 22nd Annual Asian Cultural Festival
at Fruit and Spice Park, Homestead, Fla.

Usually a dollop of coconut cream is added before serving. Then the cakes can be topped with either cilantro, green onions, or corn kernels. The woman at Fruit and Spice Park Asian Cultural Festival just scooped out her pancakes plain. Then she placed one on top of another before putting them in a container. 

I bought two containers. The pancakes had a delicate coconut flavor and a strong smoky finish.

The Asian Cultural Festival is held every year at Fruit and Spice Park in Homestead, Florida. This year it cost $10 to get in the gate and food was extra. For more details you can go to their website at

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's Egg-Fruit Season In South Florida

Egg-fruit, a Central American delicacy, is a bright yellow, heart shaped fruit with a single seed. It has a slight vanilla flavor and custard like texture. Sounds wonderful doesn't it. The ripening process however is anything but wonderful.

Egg-Fruit in South Florida

I bought my first egg-fruit while touring Fruit And Spice Park in Homestead (south of Miami), Florida. The seller said I had to let the fruit get very mushy before eating it. I packed it along with several other fruit into the trunk of my car.

Two days later, I noticed a foul smell coming from my car. I searched and searched but could not find anything. I drove with all my windows down and the smell went away.

The next day, the smell was worse, similar to poopy diaper stink. Again I searched the car and found nothing, until I noticed something yellow wedged down one side of the trunk. It was the egg-fruit. I sniffed it but there was very little scent.

My neighbor grows many types of tropical fruit including egg-fruit. So I went to him for advice and asked if he thought it was possible the smell was coming from the egg-fruit. He said, "yes."

He said his wife did not let him ripen egg-fruit near the house because of the terrible smell. And added that neither of them liked the flavor, so they were always looking for people to give the fruit to. He asked if I liked egg-fruit and offered to give me some.

"I still need to try it," I said, and promised to return for some fruit if I did.

Custard like texture tasting slightly of vanilla

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the flavor did not match the smell. The golden colored flesh was very creamy with just a hint of vanilla.

Neighbor picking egg-fruit from his tree
I went back to my neighbor for more. He took me round back and plucked five large fruit from his tree. He said several of his friends blended the fruit into shakes.

All the egg-fruit ripened within four days of picking and this time the smell was a lot milder. I haven't made any shakes with the fruit because I like their flavor just as is.

Egg-fruit is related to Mamey Sapote and Lacuma.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Locally Sourced Egg Dish: Florida Style

My Florida locally sourced dish list continues. In keeping with the local theme, I did not season the dish or use oil. I bought the majority of the ingredients on the East coast of Florida and one on the West coast.

I went to the Palm Beach Gardens Green Market to get eggs came from Farriss Farm (Palm Beach Gardens), tomatoes from Kai Kai Farm (Indiantown), Beet greens from the Boy Scout Troop of Lake Park Community Garden (Lake Park), and Shitaki mushrooms from Pure Produce (Mico).

I deglazed the pan with 2 oz of Blanc du Bois white wine from Rosa Fiorelli Vineyard and Winery (Bradenton).

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Drink Wines Local To Your Area: Florida Style

I've enjoyed wines from many Florida and Eastern State wineries yet I'm always disappointed that local restaurants don't carry them.

To find out why, I've started questioning local Florida chef/restaurant owners. They've told me they don't have the wines because there are no distributors carrying them. They've also said Florida wines are too sweet.

They may be right about the distributor problems. But there are some wineries that can help with this. One is located south of Miami in the Homestead area.  It is Schnebly's Winery and Brewery in Redlands. They make wine from tropical fruits like guava, mango, coconut, lychee, carambola, and passion fruit. And they sell on property, online, and at select south Florida stores.

I think their driest wine would have to be Avovino made from Florida grown Avocados.

I believe if  South Florida chefs were able to try this wine they would be impressed. But many don't have the time to leave their restaurants. So this is why I recently bought several bottles of Avovino to take with me to local farm-to-table dinners. I figure if the chefs can't get to the wineries then at least I can get the wine to the chefs.

I encourage you to spread the news about wines local to your area. Let the chefs and restaurant owners know you want to see local wines on their menus. Then maybe when you go to support local farmers at farm-to-table restaurants, you will also be supporting local wineries.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Recycled Plastic Bags By Marge, Juno Beach, Fla.

What do you get when you cross a retired knitter with a bunch of plastic bags? Fashion accessories!

Recently, I went to the Palm Beach Gardens Green Market and met Marge Panzenhagen. She was selling hand-knitted, upcycled plastic-bag, fashion purses and carry bags.

A beautiful pale yellow shopping sac with a Florida oyster shell on the front caught my eye. There were also cute clutch purses in various colors including a gorgeous red and white one. All were made from old plastic shopping bags that she knitted into cloth.

Panzenhagen lives in a Juno Beach retirement community. The plastic bag knitting started as a hobby and branched into a business idea with the encouragement of friends.  Smiling, she said, "I can special order bags from my neighbors." She explained further, "I ask them to shop at certain stores so I can get different colored bags." 

She said there had been a lot of interest in the two weeks she had been at the market but only five sales. This led her to decide not to return to the market in the future. I snagged the beauty above, at a special end of market price of only $10.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Georgia Products at Wellington Green Market, Fla: Raw-Milk Cheese etc

If I can't buy local Florida items, I look for regional products from neighboring States. The Wellington Green Market has two vendors selling products from Georgia.

Wellington Green Market in the amphitheater parking lot,
Wellington, Fla.

Gourmet Galaxy, West Palm Beach

Flat Creek Lodge raw-milk cheese, sold by Gourmet
Galaxy at Wellington Green Market, Fla.

They sell Flat Creek Lodge raw cow's milk cheese (aged 60 days) from Swainsboro, Georgia for $18/lb. And each week or so, they come out with a new variety. It is a big seller, so get to the market early to get your cheese.

Gourmet Galaxy also sells American Paddlefish Caviar for $20/oz., which according to the stall attendants is very similar in flavor and quality to Russian Sevruga caviar for a lot less money.

Gourmet Galaxy also does catering, and be contacted by calling 561-835-0338.

Seven Sisters Baking Co., West Palm Beach

Clair Perez in green scarf, of Seven Sisters Baking Co. at
Wellington Green Market, Fla.

Claire Perez, owner/baker/food stylist, bakes sinfully delicious Palm Beach Turtle slices with home-made rum infused caramel, and Georgia pecans. She also bakes a mouth watering lemon slice made with organic Sicilian lemon juice. There are more creative selections. All sell for $6 for one or $10 for two. Perez says her Palm Beach Turtles sell out the fastest.

When Perez is not at the market, she can be contacted by calling 561-801-0297.

The Wellington Green Market is seasonal, going from Novemebr to the end of April. It is located at 12165 Forest Hill Boulevard, Wellington FL 33414