Category: Farm

Spotlight on Women Farmers: Jane Conway of Circle Bar C Dairy Goats

Jane Conway of Circle Bar C Dairy Goats, Stuart Jane Conway is talking to me from State Road 714 in Martin County, where there’s a huge traffic jam caused by renegade cows wandering off the pasture. She is on her way to the Fort Pierce Brown Family Farm Stand, where she sells goat’s milk, kefir, goat cheeses and meat, eggs, and goat’s milk soap on Mondays. On Sunday mornings, she goes to the Palm Beach Gardens Market, and her husband goes to the Stuart Farmers Market. Conway put herself through college, earning a degree in animal science and nutrition. But...

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How to Grow Sprouts: The Soil-Free Method

How many of you want to grow your own food, but just don’t know where to start? Well, we have some simple tips for you that will have you eating your own food in a matter of days. Yes, it’s that simple and we’re going to start you off with sprouts — All that you need to get started is some seeds, a jar, water and a paper towel. HOW TO GROW SPROUTS  Measure seeds by the tablespoonful: 3 tablespoons produces a LOT of sprouts at once, so plan accordingly. Small seeds: 1 tablespoon fills a jar. Soak larger wheat...

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How to get rid of pests organically

Your garden is growing beautifully and nothing could go wrong, that is, until those tiny pests seem to be under attack. While many people turn to pesticides as a quick fix, we at Florida Food & Farm know that things should be done a little more naturally.

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Cravings: Tomatoes from Walt’s Farmhouse Tomatoes

What are you craving this month? We’re craving a trip to the West Palm Beach Greenmarket, where we can visit Walt from Walt’s Heirlooms Farmhouse Tomatoes and pick up a basket of his juicy, farm-fresh tomatoes. Now, these aren’t just your ordinary tomatoes. They’re heirloom, hydroponic tomatoes from a 1-acre plot of land in Lake Worth, something that he’s been perfecting since he opened his company, Walt’s Heirloom Farmhouse Tomatoes, in 1996. Just take a slice of one of his juicy Beefsteak tomatoes, add some fresh basil and drizzle with your favorite balsamic and your palate will be dancing in delight. In addition to carrying four types of beefsteak tomatoes like Red Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Gold Medal and Kellogg’s Breakfast; he also grows a variety of cocktail and cherry tomato varieties including Green Zebra, Plum Lemon, Red Zebra and Black Cherry tomatoes. Now, how do you enjoy your tomatoes? For more information on Walt’s Heirloom Farmhouse Tomatoes, take a look at page eight of our fall issue or visit him online at...

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Florida’s Agriculture Heritage: Redlands Fruit & Spice Park

by Dan Millot In 1935, a Dade County park director, Doug Barnes, began circulating an idea among his colleagues that the county should create a park showing the public how to grow tropical plants. Barnes envisioned a park that would be a live teaching lab. Residents unfamiliar with the tropical bounty that Dade County could produce might be inspired to grow some of the plants themselves. It worked, and the Fruit & Spice Park, now an iconic site for plant lovers, is a thriving collection of plants that are used as teaching aids by botanists and growers alike. It is the only tropical botanical garden in the U.S. Trees bearing carambola (star fruit), lychees, avocados, 75 types of bananas, and 160 varieties of mangoes fruit each year. Nut and spice trees, tropical vegetables, and herbs also dot the paths. Surviving hard freezes and hurricanes, these subtropicals and exotics, planted years ago, still flourish after decades. War interrupts With World War II breaking out in the 1940s, Barnes’ idea lay dormant for a while as he and others were taken from their civilian jobs and began military service. But by 1944, the idea took root once more, and work began on what is now the Preston B. Bird and Mary Heinlein Fruit & Spice Park. Rosemary Eliker of Miami, now 87, was a youthful volunteer in the park’s infancy. Her...

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From International Banking to Henscratch: Alice Pena Now Raises Organic Layers

There are farmers who are born to the land, and those who grow food or raise livestock by default. Alice Pena, of PNS Farm in Miami, is the latter. “I was an international banker,” she said. “My father started the farm almost 50 years ago, and when he passed away 30 years ago, my mother took over.” It was established as a vegetable and tropical fruit farm, but on the side were about two dozen hens her mother kept as layers, giving eggs to family and friends. As her mother grew older, Pena gradually helped out more and more....

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Gene Joyner’s Unbelievable Acres a Study in Tropical Planting

Story and photos by Jan Norris It’s 45 years in the making – or growing, but Gene Joyner has created a tropical rainforest in what was once an empty cow pasture in West Palm Beach. It’s a labor of love. Joyner, the former 35-year director of horticulture at the Palm Beach County Extension office, and his volunteers have done it all, and mostly by hand. The botanical garden, 2.5 acres west of the Palm Beach International Airport, has been featured in more than 500 TV shows, and it’s rarely a week that goes by without Joyner giving an interview or answering questions as a horticulture expert. His legion of fans who’ve come to him for advice with chewed leaves, bugs in jars, fruit filled with holes, and dirt samples, have grown from South Florida groups to include a international web of tropical gardening enthusiasts. At 69, he shows no signs of slowing. “I plant something every week,” Joyner says. “I get donations from all over – someone’s always giving me some plants.” He conducts tours of the garden by request from plant clubs, growers or interested groups; master gardeners from the Mounts Botanical Gardens earn hours giving the monthly tours. Today, he’s giving me a private tour along the 1.5 miles of paths here. It’s actually a backyard Joyner lives at the front of the property. What began as...

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