Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Osceola Organic Farm, Chef/Farmer Summit, Vero Beach, Fla.

Vero Beach, Fla.—Osceola Organic Farm just held their annual chef/farmer summit. The party brought together farmers and chefs from around the Vero Beach area to celebrate the beginning of the growing season.  

Farmer Kevin O'Dare in his field at Chef/Farmer Summit, Oscoela Organic
Farm, Vero Beach, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
This year's potluck required a $50 donation, to your favorite charity, if you worked outside the food business. If you were a chef or farmer, it was free.

Pot luck dinner at Osceola Organic Farm's Chef/Farmer
Summit, Vero Beach, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
The weather was perfect for this outdoor event at this seven-acre organic farm just a short distance from I-95 highway. The potluck menu included fried Florida fish with Florida mango sauce, Osceola Organic Farm salad greens and Florida cabbage palm.

To try Osceola Organic Farm produce you can go to practically any high end restaurant in Vero Beach, Fla. area.

For more information you can also go to Osceola Organic Farm’s FaceBook page or call (772) 567-1530 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Wellington Green Market, Fla. 2014, Management Change 2016

Wellington, Fla.--The Wellington Green Market has doubled in size for 2014-15 season. Located in front of the Wellington City Hall, this Saturday morning market features Florida grown fruit & vegetables, flowers, baked goods, fresh seafood, coffee, plant sales, food, drinks, crafts and more. It runs from Oct. 18, 2014 to April 2015, and is open every Saturday, except Nov. 1st, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wellington Green Market, Wellington, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
There are many newcomers at this season's market like Tali's Artisinal Gluten Free Gourmet cakes and cookies. Tali believes you don't have to compromise on taste to eat gluten free. She uses indulgent ingredients like butter, almond flour, whole oranges, Belgian chocolate and more. But she is not certified gluten free so if you have Celiac disease this is not the food for you.

Tali's Artisanal Gluten Free Gourmet, Wellington Green Market,
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
She also bakes lactose-free cakes for people who are lactose intolerant. I bought a yummy small Carrot Tahini cake for $7 and delicious large Bohemian Almond cake with cherries for $13. You can now find her at the Sunday morning Palm Beach Gardens Green Market.

Myesha Davis owner of Signature Desserts By Sugar Mama,
Wellington Green Market, Wellington, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
And there is Myesha Davis, owner of Signature Desserts By Sugar Mama, whose passion for Jamaican cakes and cookies pushed her to start selling at green markets even though she has a 9-5 weekly job. She uses milk and butter, sugar and spice, and everything nice. I bought a small, spicy fresh ginger cake.

Jefferson's Home Baked Delights, Wellington Green
Market, Wellington, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
There's also Jeff Alexander, owner of Jefferson's Home Baked Delights who up until recently only sold his baked goods at American Cancer Society fundraisers. He makes a chocolate chip cookie that is as big as your head. He also makes some lactose-free breads. "My pumpkin bread has no butter because the pumpkin is the butter," said Alexander.

Nicole Paquette, owner of Persimmony Snickets, Wellington
Green Market, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
And then there is the new farmer and Floridian, Nicole Paquette, co-owner of Persimmony Snickets whose passion for farming, permaculture and teaching drew her out of a lucrative Colorado grocery industry job and back to a farm in South Florida.

Persimmony Snickets grown persimmons, Wellington
Green Market, Wellington, Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
She grows bananas, papayas, persimmons, and other fruit using organic growing methods meaning without chemicals. At last week's market she had delicious fresh persimmons for sale, at different stages of ripeness, for $2 each. They'll be available until the end of November according to Paquette.

Unfortunately Persimmony Snickets will not be at the Wellington Green Market for the 2014-2015 season. Instead you can find them at the Lake Worth Oceanside Farmers Market on Saturdays and the Palm Beach Gardens Green Market on Sundays.

And your old favorite farmers like Fong Family Farms (Asian greens) and Seed-To-Bloom (Belle Glade grown greens and flowers) are still at the Wellington Green Market.

The Wellington Green Market is located at 12300 Forest Hill Boulevard, Wellington, FL 33414

To find out more information you can email Peter Robinson, the market founder, at

Updated March 2015

2016 update: changed management has reduced size and number of real local Florida farmers at market. Beware of the resellers selling produce like pineapples and apples, these are not grown commercially in Florida. Also look for boxes under their tables.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Savor Tonight's Women + Wine, Bistro Ten Zero One, W.P.B., Fla.,

West Palm Beach, Fla.—Last month, Savor Tonight held their sixth Women + Wine event. Owner and organizer of the event Katy Lynch said the group is the first of its kind in Palm Beach County. Different restaurants host the dining group, open only to women, each time.

Chef Chris DeGweck charms the audience of Savor Tonight's Women + Wine
event, Bistro Ten Zero One, W.P.B., Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
Bistro Ten Zero One, a seasonal farm-to-table location, was the venue for September’s dinner. Just over a dozen enthusiastic foodie women with an appetite to play attended. The only men were the chefs and some servers.

Executive Chef Chris DeGweck and Sous Chef Steve Torbon swapped off service of each course. While one did the cooking demo the other prepared the plates in the back kitchen. The banter between chefs and audience was fast and flirtatious.

Chef Torbon flames bourbon on pan for Maple Bacon Brussel
Sprouts, Savor Tonight's Women + Wine event, Bistro Ten Zero One,
W.P.B., Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
The four course menu included: Heirloom Tomato Salad with Local Burrata, Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts, Coconut Shrimp Ceviche and Seared Scallop with Tomato Fennel Salad.

During the coconut shrimp ceviche course DeGweck said, “This is a dish that you can impress your friends with.”

A woman from the audience replied, “Only you can impress our friends.” To which many ladies laughed in agreement.

Free key lime creme brûlée on Chef DeGweck, Savor Tonight
Women + Wine event, Bistro Ten Zero One, W.P.B., Fla.
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
DeGweck came out after the scallop course and said, ”This is an intimate group so we are going to serve you a dessert, on me. Crème Brule.” The ladies cheered and clapped.

It was exciting, educational and affordable; I only paid $42 including tax and tip. According to Lynch the price varies by location.

To find out more about Women + Wine or other events you can go to Savor Tonight’s website

Or call 305-929-3463

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Florida's Old Timey Sand Pear

Autumn is here and it's pear season again. This means an abundance of fresh pears like bartletts, boscs, comices and anjous for fruit salads, main courses, desserts and cocktails. It also means, if you’re lucky, that you might find some old timey Florida varieties called Sand pears. They are the descendants of a Chinese hybrid pear that was bred in the 1880s.

Florida's antique Sand pears and sand pear crumble at The Florida Local Food
Summit lunch, East End Market, Orlando
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
You’ll find them growing in backyards and some farms around Ocala and Central Florida. But you won’t find many because of their fruit characteristics that don’t make them very good for eating raw. They are small, hard, pear with tough skin and grainy flesh. But despite these drawbacks they are very delicious when cooked.

The first time I encountered them was in 2009 at a farm-to-table dinner held at the Seminole Inn in Indiantown, Fla. The pears had been grown and harvested in Ocala. The chef poached the pears in some Florida wine and they were delicious albeit a bit gritty.

Recently, I came across them again, this time in Orlando, at Local Roots Distribution store in the East End Market. They were selling for $4 a pound. I bought seven pears.

Florida's antique sand pear poached in wine and water
Copyright 2014 by Helen A Lockey
When I got home my husband poached them in wine and water for 30 minutes. But he soon discovered that this was not enough to soften them. So he boiled them for an additional 30-minutes. The results produced a delicious, flavorful dessert.

I also ate them cooked into a crumble at the Florida Food Conference, held earlier this month, at the East End Market.

If you want to buy some sand pears you can contact Local Roots Distribution or find someone in Ocala that might sell you the fruit from their old timey tree.