Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Brunch in Paradise

We wrapped up this year's Brunch in Paradise series with a beautiful Mother's Day brunch. We loved how much love was in the air! Smiles radiated from all! The Mother's Day brunch always hails a sweet finale to the BIP series! Until next year! Below are photos: 

Paradise Farms originals - edible flower arrangements


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The power of flowers (and how to use them!)

A flower is nature’s way of offering the miraculous cycle of rebirth. It is often the most delicate part of a plant, fragile due to the amount of energy being dedicated to it. From seed to plant to flower, it is this peak energy that we are nurturing our bodies with when we choose to eat flowers. Not surprisingly, they are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

They say that the food on your plate should reflect a host of colors, indicative of the nutrients and vitamins you are about to eat. Some food for thought: borage flowers are one of the few naturally occurring blue food items! Borage flowers have a faint cucumber taste and go great atop gazpacho soup (a tomato based soup).

You can get as creative as you want, but flowers make for a stunningly beautiful garnish. Green salads suddenly pop with color and the flowers can be used to enhance to or imbue flavors ranging from the subtle to the surprising. For instance, nasturtium flowers can be found in a vast range of colors from rich ivories, bursting yellows, intense oranges, to deep mahogany reds, and they have a spicy, peppery taste, most similar to arugula. Their bright and spicy bite is a wonderful kick to any salad. Regardless of your tastes, you cannot go wrong adding edible flowers to salads – flowers already naturally look so good with green!

Another way to use flowers is by stuffing them; squash blossoms are an excellent choice to be stuffed and/or fried. They also have a creamy quality, making them an excellent milk/cheese substitute if you want to make a dish vegan. Lastly, flowers add an incredible dimension to desserts. The delicate qualities of both are a perfect combination. On the farm, we refer to the flowers of ginger root as ‘velvet ginger’. They have large, dreamy white petals with an iridescent sheen that just sparkles. To the touch, they feel velvety smooth and the flavor of them is silky smooth, fresh, with a crisp ginger flavor. Absolutely delicious.

Flowers elevate any dish. They showcase nature at her best and add an elegance and beauty that is unmatched by any other garnish. They are rich in nutrients and they bring life to a dish. Afterall, flowers are key for nature’s rebirth cycle!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Brunch in Paradise

Sundays bring about an air of nostalgia. Birds chirp and kids are heard playing in the streets. The newspaper is read and coffee is sipped leisurely. Time seems to slow down on a Sunday. As a day of rest where you gladly soak in that extra hour of sleep, it is no wonder that brunch on a Sunday is so fitting.

I just wanted to write a short blurb about how fantastic our most recent Brunch In Paradise was. The weather was perfect and it had that Sunday morning nostalgic essence where time slows down and you want the day to last forever.

An amazing group totaling about 75 guests came out. We even had a group of guests called 'The Villagers', who are dedicated to the restoration and preservation of historic sites in Miami. The farm was in full bloom and there were many flowers to taste and smell. Our crops were lush and burgeoning with life's energy. The warmth of the sun was like a gentle hug and the food, as always, was farm fresh and delicious! We wanted the food to last forever, too!

We eagerly await the next Brunch in Paradise! The pictures below are the from the Brunch.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Farm Tour

We have a feel good philosophy that food is medicine and we feel it important to steward that belief to younger generations. Health begins with what all living things need – food – so we really are what we eat. There is an undeniable connection that one creates with the earth when one sees how and where food grows, just like the connection one feels to the land upon seeing a beautiful mountainscape. That being said, we host farm tours with lunch, a chance for educational tour groups to smell, taste, and see where their food comes from. A chance for them to understand why it is so important to have local sustainable food growing practices and to eat healthy.

The pictures are from a farm tour where we hosted groups from Florida International University College of Medicine Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP and from the Celebrity Kids Club & Childcare Center. These groups provide nutrition education sessions, cooking demonstrations, and other activities designed to promote a healthy lifestyle from a young age.

One of the chaperones in charge stated, "one of the experiences we want to bring to the kids is seeing the process of their fruits and vegetables from seeds to their plate. We want to do this by bringing the children, ranging in ages from 3-5 years, to your farm to give them some education on the different fruits and vegetables."
We are so happy that we can steward such positive, healthy influences upon younger children! Great tour, great day, (great local lunch!), and the kids loved it!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Our firsts of the season, part 2

The growing season is ON here in south Florida and it has just been an abundance of fruits, vegetables, baby greens, and edible flowers! Below is a picture of our farm manager, Landy, with our carrot harvest! These carrots were picture perfect even upon pulling and we can already imagine their crisp sweetness. Yum!

Below is a picture of our cherry tomato harvest. It’s January and we are eating fresh ripe tomatoes. Isn’t Florida great? These little cherry tomatoes are quite robust –during the long, hot, and wet August months, we still found these tomatoes all over the farm. Between the heat and the heavy drenching rains, August is quite a straining month for plants, a feat daring for even warm weather loving tomatoes. But yet there we were, tomatoes in hand and in belly. These guys were able to hold up to August and we are excited to have them now with growing conditions in their favor!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Our firsts of the season, part 1

We recently celebrated many firsts of the season! We celebrated our first Dinner in Paradise on December 11th, sharing the evening with about 50 guests. The evening was wonderful and exuded positive energy all around. Yet again, we could not find a better word to describe a Dinner in Paradise as anything but whimsical. Here’s why:

Many of our guests arrive fresh from Miami, where the stop and go of traffic is the everyday lull. As our guests arrive at the farm and the roar of their car engines fade out, it seems like absolute silence to many. But as they enter the farm, they are swept into the pace of Mother Nature. One becomes aware of the alluring scent of flowers, and perhaps one notices just how blue the sky looks today.

We always start with a tour of the farm so that guests can see, smell, and feel where much of the food they are about to eat is coming from. After smelling and tasting this and that, our guests’ senses are piqued and they are ready to experience the delicious meal awaiting just ahead: Miami’s most talented chefs have lent their culinary ingenuity and artistry to prepare an outstanding meal at our little paradise. Once the meal is over, guests head to their cars. And somewhere between leaving the farm and the ride home to the city, one feels as if they have just stumbled across a dream.

The Miami New Times wrote up a short story about their experience at our December 11th Dinner in Paradise. Here is the link: The dishes were excellent and the chefs really wowed everyone with their creativity. One of our favorites was risotto in a bowl, garnished with an herb, moss, and hot rocks wreath (pictured below).

We would like to thank our wonderful guests, the stellar chef lineup, and the gracious assistance of Johnson & Wales students for making the dinner such a fun and unique experience! The next dinner is January 8th and tickets are selling fast! We hope to share our farm with you and see you in the near future!