Category: News

New Opportunity: Value Added Producer Grant

If you’re an agricultural producer looking to bring value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based, value-added products to your business, you’ll be thrilled to hear that applications are now being accepted for VAPG Grants. Grant money will be given to those companies that are generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities and increasing producer income with priority going to a beginning farmer/rancher, a socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher, a small or medium-sized farm or ranch structured as a family farm, a farmer/rancher cooperative, or are proposing a mid-tier value chain. Application Deadline: Paper Application:  July 1, 2016  |  Electronic Applications:  June 24, 2016 Notice of Solicitation of Application:  [ PDF ] Program Funding: $44 million Maximum Grant Amount: $75,000 for planning grants; $250,000 for working capital grants Matching Funds Requirements: 50% of total project costs VAPG Grants are available to: Independent producers agricultural producer groups farmer- or rancher-cooperatives majority-controlled producer-based business ventures For more information on the VAPG grants including what the funds may be used for and how to apply, visit the USDA...

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Incubator Kitchens Pop Up Around Florida for ‘Foodpreneurs’

Currently under Florida’s Cottage Food Law, small-volume cooks can make food products to sell that won’t spoil – such as cakes, cookies, breads, candies, pasta, honey, and jellies – using an unlicensed home kitchen. Sales can’t exceed $15,000 annually, and the sales must be made in person – not through a website. But for those cooks who want to go bigger, and to sell wholesale or over the Internet, the law requires foods to be produced in a licensed commercial kitchen. So what does a budding ‘’foodpreneur’’ do? Enter the incubator kitchen – a place for the commercial vendor to cook their foods under a license that covers all who use it. It’s typically rented out by the hour, day, week, or month. It’s more than that, however, and its purpose is defined in The Lexicon of Food: “A true incubator kitchen does not simply offer shared commercial kitchen space, but also an engine for entrance into the marketplace and inspiration for economic and operational self-sufficiency. It identifies barriers to entry, whether they be capital, gendered, racial, or language-based; reduces the risks associated; and creates a platform from which truly talented entrepreneurs can grow and thrive.” In other words, it’s a stepping-stone for a budding food entrepreneur who can’t afford a slew of licenses, let alone a commercial kitchen and all its accoutrements, on their own. The good news...

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Would you Rent a Hen?

You find yourself at the farmer’s market every week, making a beeline to your town’s “egg guy.” Maybe you even have notions of raising backyard chickens yourself, following a national trend. However you’re either a) restricted by neighborhood rules, or b) too lazy. If you live in Central Florida, Don Huntington has the answer. Huntington happens to raise chickens – happy hens and roosters that roam a 25-acre pasture all day – along with his cows, turkeys, ducks, rabbits, and goats. From him, you’ll get eggs, which are as natural as any you’d retrieve from your own yard birds. The catch is – you’re renting his hens. Sign a paper stating that you’ll rent two hens weekly, for $2.50 apiece. “I’ll take care of them, and you’ve got visitation rights,” he says. Ultimately, from “your” hens, you’ll reap one dozen farm-fresh, unpasteurized eggs. Most customers forgo the visits; they just show up at Lake County’s Clermont Farmers Market on Sunday morning. There, Huntington swaps the eggs for “rent” payment from a trailer that’s designed to look like an old-fashioned red barn. The rental agreement is to keep things legal. Under a somewhat murky law, fresh, unpasteurized eggs are not allowed to be sold for human consumption; they’re intended for pets only. The 50 dozen eggs he has packed generally sell out by 11 a.m. So Huntington supplements the business...

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2016 Holiday Gift Guide for last minute shoppers

While some people get their holiday shopping done early, it doesn’t quite work that way for everyone — and last minute shopping just seems to be the way to go. Instead of dealing with the holiday crowds, why not shop from the comfort of your home — and get your loved ones tickets to an upcoming culinary event taking place this winter? Here are our suggestions for you: Jan 7-17, 2016: Uncorked – Key Largo & Islamorada Food & Wine Festival Enjoy a taste of the Keys at this year’s Uncorked. This 10-day celebration will include a variety of activities for every palate...

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Henrietta Bridge Opens as First Urban Farm in West Palm Beach

Henrietta Bridge Farm opens this weekend after much planning and a collaboration with the city as West Palm Beach’s first urban farm. The gates open Saturday, Nov. 7, marking the beginning of the first year of full operation. A new crop of fresh, sustainably-grown produce such as squash, greens, tomatoes, and a variety of peppers will be for sale to the public from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The 1.5-acre farm sits on land at 1400 Henrietta Bridge Avenue leased from the city – a lot that sat vacant for 12 years. Just minutes from City Place, it is light years away from the shopping mall in a community surrounded by lower-income residents. “It’s been a long road, but we are making it happen and are very appreciative of the city’s support,” said Stewart Bosley, founder of Urban Growers, and former New Yorker who championed this cause for more than six years. “We are going to be able to help feed this community fresh, healthy food, and in the process change lifelong habits that have contributed to serious health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, hyper-tension and obesity that exist in the low-income community.” One of three farms planned Henrietta Bridge Farm is the first of the Urban Growers Community Farms projects designed to provide fresh produce to communities that do not have access to a grocery store within a 2-mile radius....

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Bean Scene Florida Is All Vegan Market in Boynton Beach

The new Bean Scene Florida vegan market in Boynton Beach, held the first and third Thursdays of the month, began with a bowl of vegan chili. “We had vegan chili cookoff in April in Lake Worth, and more than 700 people from all over showed up. We were amazed at the response, considering we put the entire event together in less than 30 days. So it got us thinking,” said Nina Kauder, a private chef specializing in vegan, vegetarian and plant-based dishes. The lack of vegan choices in any market was frustrating her and fellow private chef Sarah Steinberg, a vegan since the age of 13. She and Kauder would often commiserate while searching for foods to satisfy vegan clients. So after the success of the vegan chili cookoff, the chefs came up with the idea of a totally vegan market. The Bean Scene Florida was the result. Floating it past the vendors, the response was overwhelming. “All the vendors who came (to the chili cookoff) said it was the best event they had done, including traditional green and farmers markets.  They said they felt marginalized at the other markets, while here, it was a totally different vibe,” Kauder said. “We’ve looked around at other cities – there’s nothing like it.” So they decided to create an all-vegan market. Vegan refers to any foods or goods made without any...

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Two Year Anniversary Celebration at East End Market

Orlando’s East End Market, a hub for central Florida’s artisans, chefs and food entrepreneurs (as well as a feature in our current issue) will celebrate it’s two year anniversary from Fri., Oct. 30 thru Sun., Nov. 2, 2015 with a weekend of activities — all with a Mexican theme.  From a Midnight Market to a Family Fiesta, there will be something for everyone. So come on out and support your favorite chefs, farmers and artisan producers from central Florida — and congratulate East End Market on two years of success. Oct. 30 Midnight Market 9 p.m. – 12 a.m. at East End Market Cost: $42.60 (buy now) East End Market will kick-off the weekend’s festivities with a midnight market on Thursday evening. Since the weekend coincides with Día De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the market will feature a Mexican theme bringing you Mexican food, recipes, music and salsa dancing.  To get you fully into the spirit, guests are encouraged to dress in costume.   Oct. 31 Family Fiesta 12 – 5 p.m. at East End Market Cost: Free Enjoy a family fiesta at the market on Saturday afternoon, an event that is perfect for the entire family. Guests can prepare for their trick-or-treating adventures by participating in the face painting, making their own masks or flower crowns, and dancing to Mexican folk music. Nov. 1 Día de la...

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