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Friday, June 10, 2011

Got EGGS?

Went into the supermarket the other day and needed some eggs. I usually buy my eggs straight from the farm in St. Cloud, but couldn't get out there that day. I don't know about you, but the egg bins in grocery stores are becoming very confusing... you've got the traditional corporate farmed egg, free range egg, vegetarian egg and then those who are marked with other statements that make you scratch your head.

Just for the record, a TRUE organic egg, comes from a TRUE organic chicken. What's a TRUE organic chicken? Well, I'll give you a hint, so far I've not found ONE in any of the typical grocery stores.  Let me share with you what I found...

Cornucopia.org: I have found an organization that's the watchdog when it comes to keeping businesses from straying away from the true definition of Organic and you can find them here: http://www.cornucopia.org 

Cornucopia.org is a great place to find the list of those companies that are TRUE organic chicken farms and I would definitely check their scorecard to pick the right eggs. http://www.cornucopia.org/organic-egg-scorecard/  Amazingly, Florida only has Whole Foods that  locally sells them. PNS farms in South Florida is on the list, but it doesn't say if they are available in Central Florida. HOWEVER, I just found VITAL FARMS in Whole Foods in Orlando and I checked them out and found they raise TRUE organic chickens that are pasture raised. PASTURE RAISED is the key phrase to look for when trying to find a TRUE organic egg. You can see for yourself at vitalfarms.com . They're located in Texas and I believe you'll see why I would choose them when shopping in Whole Foods.  


Now the term ORGANIC implies more than just pasture raised... but in my research, pasture raised is as key phrase to look for when investigating chicken farms. These are chickens that live free on the land, not cooped up in barns, living on top of one another and who never seethe light of day. They roam freely about on the land, eating from the land as their main source of food. There's a whole list of items that TRUE ORGANIC egg farms adhere to and you can find all the information you need on Cornucopia.com.

FLORIDA NEEDS CHICKEN FARMERS! As someone who has a vital part in the organization, Osceola County Grown, I'm interested in learning how many people have an interest in raising chickens and becoming a part of the growing number who want locally grown food. Based on what I can learn from our readers interest, I'll be going forward to learn what we can do to make this a reality for those who live in Osceola County, FL. GOT CHICKEN? 


Let's put our heads together to see how we can put Osceola County on the map as being the #1 producer of foods!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Online and saving money!

I learned something today... that shopping online, in some instances, can save you a ton of money. I had to find a usb converter cable and a 25' ethernet cable. Online, I found them at a substantially lower price than at the actual store. The converter online was $4.88 and in the store it was $19.99. The ethernet cable was $4.99 and in the store the cheapest was $20!

So the lesson learned is that this particular store stocks the more expensive items while they keep the less expensive items in some type of warehouse for those of us who don't need something right now. This store happens to be a huge discount marketplace.

Today, shopping in a store leads to buying on demand or by impulse and you'll end up paying huge amounts of money for what used to be called... shopping!

Next time you need something, check the internet first. This particular store offers FREE shipping as long as it's sent to the store for you to pick up. This is my first time ordering this way, so let's see how it goes. I'll update the story as it unfolds.

Note: I have noticed that the prices online fluctuate... the usb converter for example now has the price of $9.88 and just this morning it was $4.88! Now that's frustrating! Wonder what it will be in the morning? They are using products like commodities... now you know why I dislike corporate big dogs so much!

Friday, May 6, 2011

People of... Harmony, Florida

I'm putting together a magazine, like I did for Bay Hill in Orlando, about the people who make our communities strong. This issue is about the People of Harmony. Don't know where Harmony is? It's 8 miles east of St. Cloud right on 192 - Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway. If you've never been, take an afternoon and drive out there. Literally it takes less than 10 minutes to get there from St. Cloud.

It's noted for it's courage to step up to the plate for conservation living. From low lights, to using certain types of mulch around the homes, it's showing itself to be a model for green living. It's located, in what some believe, in the middle of nowhere... but in reality it's in the middle of everything! And with the new sports arena coming to the area, it's bound to become a hub all on it's own.

Advertising opportunities for this ONE time magazine are still available, so if you want to help the residents of Harmony and of Osceola County and S. Orlando, send me an email. This magazine is going to be an awesome reflection of the cool people who have picked Harmony to call home!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Got Healthy Food?

I was in Celebration today, walking the streets, meeting store owners, handing out notices about our Farm to Fork Dinner and was pleasantly surprised! I didn't get kicked out of one store! (Hey, I'm usually there trying to sell advertising... so being booted to the curb is a pretty normal thing for me). What I found, in contrary to my normal "NO" was a genuine interest in learning more about Osceola County Grown's endeavors of bringing farming back to the table so to speak.

I got into some pretty intense discussions about what's going on in our country... and in our state and I see that people are FED UP with the status quo! Yipee! More and more people are turning away from the norm  wanting to go back to the basics and especially in the arena of our food supply.

Are you coming to the Farm to Fork Dinner? It's going to be a fabulous evening of fellowship, great home grown foods, entertainment and education. Go to http://www.osceolacountygrown.com for all the details!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

BEEFSTEAK TOMATOES!!!

Once upon a time, little ole me was able to grow the most fantastic tomatoes in town... Beefsteak. One bite will convince anyone that you will NEVER buy another tomato from the grocery store again! Last weekend I went to the Winter Park Farmers Market and low and behold there they were... 3 gallon Beefsteaks. I thought I would faint because I haven't seen real Beefsteak in years! I've shopped in Home Depot, Lowes, and even local nursery's to no avail. So when I saw these beauties, I went to buy them but my cousin convinced me that we needed to wait until the end of our excursion before buying them. I agreed and of course, when we went back they were gone. grrrrr

Soooooo, I was not going to let that happen again. This morning off I went, bright and early to grab one and that's exactly what I did. They're a bit smaller, in one gallon containers, but already busting at the seams with tomatoes. Now, typically I'm into as organic as I can get, but I know what can happen to tomato plants in Florida, and I'm not about to loose this plant to the wicked little critters in my back yard. So yes, I hate to admit it, but I bought some Seven Dust to protect them. I figure it's worth a little poison to taste them again. I know... don't hold it against me! I'm only human!

Anyway... I'll be crossing the fingers, and staying up at night with a flashlight watching for critters I'm sure. Wish me luck!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Tornado Destruction

Just watched the news about all the destruction in Tuscaloosa and surrounding areas hit and I couldn't help but think about how we all felt after Hurricane Charley. Remember? And I know we didn't have near the damage nor loss of life as they have. I'm keeping everyone in my prayers. They'll rebuild... just like we did but I'm sure that they're feeling totally overwhelmed right now.

I believe it was the mayor of Tuscaloosa that was pleading for flashlights to give to residents so they wouldn't burn candles... If there's any of you locally (Osceola County, FL) that want to get a box started that we can load up, let me know. I'll find a couple of businesses as drop off locations and we'll take it from there.

Email me at publishinggal@hotmail.com if you want to help.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Morel Mushrooms conclusion

This is part two of the story, so if you didn't read part one, scroll down one story.

 Ok... where did I leave off? I believe I had gotten to the part where we were opening our mouths to take in childhood memories of eating these tasty morsels.... and you won't believe what happened next.

As we were chewing our first bite, we both looked at each other... not with the 'glee' we thought we'd feel, but with a bit of disgust was more like it. They were gritty... sandy... then the sad realization that the taste we remember so well wasn't there! They were absolutely tasteless! We both could have put up with eating a bit of dirt to get to that flavor we were anticipating... but nothing... no flavor what so ever.

You may wonder how we washed them so I've got to tell you, we placed them in a clear plastic bag and swished them around... we emptied the bag and rinsed once again. I've done a bit of research on Morels and they say you're not to rinse them for long because they'll take on too much water and run the risk of becoming soggy. 

So what's up with this?? We started analyzing the situation and wondered if the taste of the Morel is only good at the time of harvesting.  All sorts of information out there says you can dry them, but if drying takes away the flavor, then what good are they? I can't tell you how disappointed we both were with the whole deal!

So if any readers out there have heard anything about any of this let us know! We're not giving up and already planning a trip up north next year to forage for our own.

Morel Mushrooms

If any of you grew up in the north central areas of the US, you're likely to know about the infamous mushroom called the Morel. Usually found in wooded areas and typically plentiful, Morel mushrooms are unique in their flavor and texture. I personally haven't had one since I left the area 30 plus years ago. I've been begging my cousins to bundle up a bunch and send them to me... to no avail. They're free if you hunt for them, and cheap if you buy them up there. But down here in Florida, it's quite a different story.

My friend Ann and I went to Whole Foods yesterday... searching for organic greens that I was not able to find in the Winter Park Farmers Market... (booo hisss) We both were standing side by side as our eyes met Morel mushrooms at the same time. Pure GASPS came out of both of our mouths while our baskets got dropped from our arms so we could reach for the precious delicacy.  We were squealing with delight until our eyes dropped to the price tag. $49.99 per pound.

After we were able to pick our jaws up off the ground and gather our wits after flying into sticker shock, we began to get creative.  Bottom line... we just wanted to savor the flavor of these little jewels, so we picked out a handful, weighed them and convinced ourselves that we didn't need a pound... just a mouthful to put ourselves back into our childhood.

$3.50 later we took our find home, cranked up the stove, plopped in the butter and washed them with tender loving care as if they were going to make us young again. At one point, they slipped from the bag of water and both of us rushed in screaming to make sure no mushroom escaped down the drain. I do believe we would have removed the drain below if any had slipped through.

All washing complete... a bit of slicing to help make them seem like we had more than we did and into the hot butter they went. I stood over the stove, smelling the butter, watching the little gems sizzle to a light brown.

Oh so delicately I took them from the butter to a paper towel, making sure they all stayed in tact. A prayer of thanks went up, we turned to look at one another, then lifted our forks with a sliver of mushroom on the tips, putting them into our mouths anxiously awaiting that flavor that we remember oh so long ago.... and you won't believe what happened next...

To be concluded tomorrow! :-)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

FARM TO FORK DINNER

You're invited to attend Osceola County's 2nd Annual Farm to Fork Dinner! Osceola County Grown is a grassroots organization forming to help support our local farmers; helping them to bring healthy food to your dinner table, to your hospitals, to your schools and to your restaurants. The Farm to Fork Dinner is a fundraiser to help us establish our foundation, enabling us to help develop the marketplace, the education, and the formula for success to our local farmers.

Not all that long ago, Osceola County was overflowing with farmers, ranchers and gardeners which slowly dwindled down to just a handful... due to corporate business taking our commodities and 'churning' them out at a much lower price. Sure, it's been great having lower prices for food, but what have we given up in the meantime?

Research is now catching up to the real cost of saving money and we're finding out that our poor health is the number one factor of releasing our food production to corporations. With drug use in our cattle and poultry to GMO crops, and unhealthy environments of farm raised fish, we're seeing the effects come to light in the form of obesity and disease carrying bacterias in our foods.

Secondly, by giving up the 'traditional' farm, we've sacrificed jobs which has hurt our economy. Millions upon millions of dollars never enter into the local economy because we have handed it over to large corporations.  What were we thinking?

OC Grown is here to take back the rights of farming and bring it back to where it belongs... in the hands of the people. I for one don't want to buy diseased, drug laden beef or contaminated produce. Do you? I no longer want to pad the pockets of large corporations. Do you?

Our Farm to Fork Dinner showcases local farmers, local foods, local artisans and more and we would love to have your support. Go to OsceolaCountyGrown.com for ticket information and details. There's limited seating, so we've set it up where you can buy your tickets online. It's going to be an elegant evening, dining under Oak trees, listening to beautiful music, conversing with like minded individuals all while watching the sun set in the distance.  You'll want to be there!