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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!