Friday, April 25, 2014

Barry Callebaut U.S.A. LLC, Sustainable Chocolates

Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.--Barry Callebraut U.S.A. LLC, is the world's largest chocolate factory. "When people think of us they don't think bean-to-bar," said Regional Sales Manager Christie Nagy during a recent interview at the Ft. Lauderdale Institute of Food Technologies (IFT) Suppliers Event. Barry Callebaut also believes strongly in sustainable practices and so buys only Fair Trade and Fair For Life cacao.
Christie Nagy, Regional Sales Manger of Barry Callebaut U.S.A. LLC,
IFT Suppliers Event, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
The present form of the company started back in 1996 but its combined history of the Barry (Belgium) and Callebaut (French) families goes back 150 years.

The company has lasted so long because they believe strongly in supporting farmers, "All revenues go back directly to the farmers," said Nagy, adding, "One in four employees work in an origin country." She further explained an origin country was one where the cacao beans were grown and harvested.

Fair Trade and Fair For Life sourced chocolate of Barry Callebaut U.S.A. LLC,
IFT Suppliers Event, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
Barry Callebaut U.S.A. LLC, sells mainly wholesale cocoa powder and chocolate to the gourmet food industry but they do have a few retail items like chocolate cups. They also produce a few single origin chocolates meaning each batch is made with cacao beans from just one farm.

"We say, without chocolate we don't have jobs," said Nagy.

To find out more about Barry Callebaut U.S.A. LLC you can go to

You can also contact Christie Nagy at Or call
(312) 496-7365

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sweet Corn Fiesta 2014, West Palm Beach, Fla.

West Palm Beach, Fla.--It's time for the Sweet Corn Fiesta again. The fiesta has been taking place for 14 years. It is held in the Yesteryear Village part of the South Florida Fairgrounds and celebrates everything related to sweet corn. This year's event includes a cooking contest.

Florida grown sweet corn, Belle Glade, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
The cooking contest calls for all chefs, bakers, and grill masters to make a dish featuring Florida grown sweet corn. The prize is $100. There will also be shucking contests, and corn eating contests for amateurs and professionals.

Farmer Kim Erickson holding up 2013 Sweet Corn Fiesta t-shirt,
Copyright 2014 by Helen a Lockey
The Sweet Corn Fiesta brings in hundreds of visitors from all around South Florida. There are always lots of things to do and eat at the fiesta.  There will also be lots of fresh Florida grown sweet corn for sale.

And if all this is not enough singer Tom Jackson will be having a concert after the last contest.

The event goes from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday April 27.

Admission is $8 Adults, $5 children 6-12 years old, Free children 5 and under.
If you buy your tickets online and in advance you get a $1 discount per person.

To find out more you can go to

Friday, April 18, 2014

KYV Farm, Tour De Farm, Slow Food First Coast, St. Augustine, Fla.

St. Augustine, Fla.—There was a huge turnout at certified organic KYV Farm this past weekend. They were one of 15 stops open to the public for the Slow Food First Coast self-driven Tour De Farm. Many people arrived before the 12-noon opening. There was food waiting for them by Slow Food Snail Of Approval farmers and companies like the Floridian Restaurant and Queen Bee Company .

KYV Farm, St. Augustine, during Tour de Farm by Slow Food First Coast,
St. Augustine, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
Some of the items for sale, like eggs from Ruffled Feathers farm, were sold under the—“for pet consumption only,” label but that didn’t mean they weren’t delicious.

Hayrides at KYV Farm during Slow Food First Coast Tour
 de Farm, St. Augustine, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
Hayrides of KYV, goat-milking demos, talks about chicken farming and a live band entertained the hundreds of guests that arrived all day.

Growing fields at certified organic KYV Farm, St. Augustine, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
Farmer Francisco Arroyo said the last time the event was held, two years ago, over 2500 people came to KYV Farm.

Some of the farmers like the ones from the Fellsmere Community Farm Project travelled very long distances to get to the event. “We drove three hours to get here,” said co-founder Yolanda Gomez.

There were so many farms in so many areas around Jacksonville and St. Augustine and so little time to get to them all. The farm tour lasted just five hours. I guess this guarantees that people will be back next year to visit more farms.

To find out more about certified organic KYV Farm you can go to

To learn more about the event you can go to

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Florida Coconuts, Davie, Fla., Plantation

Davie, Fla.— Finding delicious Florida grown coconuts can be hard. But Brooklyn born farmer Larry Siegel's 40-acre coconut plantation in western Davie has made it easy. He grows tasty Malayan coconuts without pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. Instead he has herds of free-range ducks, turkeys and chickens that take care of all these concerns. 

Florida Coconuts, young Florida grown Malayan coconuts,
Davie, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
"I've been here in Florida since 1976 and I have had this property since 1997," said Siegel during a recent interview at his plantation.

He started out with the idea of having a food forest, "I had ten of everything...ten types bananas, ten types of orange, ten types of coconuts. You name it and I had ten types of it." But Hurricane Irene destroyed everything.

Larry Siegel owner of Florida Coconuts, Davie, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
Then Siegel started producing mulch but came across problems with waste management. This pushed him to diversify again and settle on the idea of growing coconuts starting in 2006.

But the harsh freezes of 2008 and 2009 slowed down this idea and killed half of his plants. So he started a plant nursery business to pay for the reconstruction of his coconut plantation. 

Palm and coconut palm trees of Florida Coconuts,
Davie, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
Today he has 4000 trees in different stages of maturity, "In two-years time we should be at full production," said Siegel.

He supplies many South Florida restaurants with young and mature coconuts. He also sells to the public through a mail order system.

"I ship all over the country," said Siegel with a smile.

He also sells Hawaiian Hua Moa plantains, Asian bananas, and palm trees along with other tropical plants.

To find out more about Florida Coconuts, you can go to
Or call him at (954) 297-6677