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Pirate Gourmet

pirate signpirate_bob

*all photos courtesy of e.m.marcus | photography

Name of business: Pirate Gourmet
Owner’s Name: R.E. Pride
Email: picketfencesrb[at]ymail[dot]com
Phone: 850-278-6922

Chef Robert Pride has been a chef for 30 years.  For 25 years he owned a gourmet catering company in Manhattan where he worked with a variety of international chefs giving him exposure to exotic cuisines.  He has put his own spin on these recipes and adjusted them to the American palate.  He is now back in his native Pensacola where he has started Pirate Gourmet to share with the people of the Gulf Coast these fascinating and delectable recipes.

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Some of the interesting products are shrimp dip, fire roasted chicken vegetable soup, Lumpia, smoked tuna dip, handmade salsa, and an assortment of heirloom candies and baked goods.  Items change according to the seasonal temperatures and availability of materials.

Fresh Hydroponic Baby Greens for 2013

Enjoy these fresh 2013 photos from Priceless Health Hydroponics!

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Heirloom tomatoes

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Boston Bibb Buttercrunch Lettuce

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Baby Hydroponic Lettuce

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baby Pea Shoots

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Hydroponic Heirloom Tomatoes in Greenhouse

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Scrambled eggs, sunnies, soybeans, and siracha
Photo courtesy of Shannon Rollins Horvath of Blue Mountain Beach

A Little New Year’s Food For Thought

All silliness aside…I thought it would be fun to tackle some of the head spinning information about eating real food…what it is or isn’t and what we should strive to eat. Please keep in mind this is written for an audience that is food secure. I wouldn’t presume to know what choices would be best for someone who faces food insecurity day in and day out. My hope is that by bringing awareness to first-worlders, in my little corner of the world, of the food issues that affect everyone, a new just food system can be created; a system that puts people and the environment over profit.

Rules To Eat By

Only you can decide what to feed yourself, but there are food/food products that are generally agreed upon as healthful or not. I’m not talking about meat or no meat, butter vs. olive oil, or whole grains or not. You will need to dive deeper to determine if these foods are appropriate for your health at this moment in time. What I want to tackle is how to make food choices easier or at least more understandable when we are bombarded with so much information, advertising, and a seemingly endless amount of food options every single day. We have the ability to change our choices for better health and well being at every meal. The choice is yours.

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1. The first rule of eating should be to step away from the industrial food.

I think it’s safe to say that it is generally agreed upon that industrially derived food is a failure in regards to human and ecological health and should be avoided when possible. There are advocates for its continuation in order to supposedly feed the growing world population, but it is proving to be a disastrous experiment that supports population growth, not necessarily well-being. I would argue that those of us who can, should withdraw support for this system and support life-affirming alternative food systems instead. Michael Pollen’s working definition of industrial food: “Any food whose provenance is so complex or obscure that it requires an expert to help ascertain.”

Some examples of industrial food: meat and dairy from CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) – almost all meat found in grocery stores; products derived from mono-crops – most grains and corn; and products that are heavily processed – most anything in a box or a bag with unidentifiable and unpronounceable ingredients or aforementioned mono-crops. I’ll stop here because I know this will take a bit of processing. By the way, CAFO meats are grain-fed, so they are just another vehicle for consuming large amounts of industrial mono-crops layered within the industrial nature of CAFO’s – it’s a double whammy.

At first look, you may be feeling quite deprived and wondering what in the world to eat. Lucky you, if you’re reading this and you’re a first-worlder, able to make ends meet, bob around on the interwebs, and don’t live in a food desert, you have the opportunity to explore a world of other options, which I would encourage you to do.

2. Another good rule is to eat food that has the ability to rot, die, or attract critters.

This is what is meant by life-affirming. These foods are alive and can provide the best possible nutrition for living beings. Those deer and rabbits that want in your garden; they know there is good stuff in there. Some studies indicate that given the choice, animals won’t eat GMO’s, so why would you? Real food is perishable and all manor of other beings would like to eat it. Want to see this exemplified in a picture? Check out these images by David Liittschwager, a portrait photographer who has been capturing whatever he could in a square foot metal frame, placed in all sorts of ecosystems.

I’ll leave you with one more rule for eating real food and that should give you plenty to mull over.

3. Stay away from most commodities.

What are commodities? A commodity is a marketable good to satisfy a want or a need that is supplied without qualitative differentiation. In other words, it is a resource that loses its differentiation (specialty, uniqueness, brand, quality) as a result of efficiency of production. Organic, Fair Trade, and Free-Range are examples of product differentiation. Why is eating food commodities so troublesome? Commodities are traded on the open market for profit. Prices can fluctuate wildly and depending on whether you are in the global North or the global South, traded commodities can flood the market with goods like cheap corn or elevate the prices creating food insecurity. In other words, if you are eating commodities instead of real food, you allow Wall Street and large corporations to feed you for their profit instead of for your health.

A recent example of this is in the scare over the doubling of the price of milk during the “fiscal cliff” brouhaha. Conventional milk is produced from cows that are fed grains, a commodity. Without the subsidies provided in the farm bill for commodities like wheat, soybeans, and corn, dairy producer’s costs would increase, thereby increasing the cost of milk. On the other hand, fully grass-fed cows would not be subject to the same price fluctuations. This is an over-all picture and we could go on to debate all the minute details of eating dairy, the pros and cons of food commodities, and the farm bill, but I think you get the idea. Commodities are for profit, not health.

If this is new information, you’ll have to get creative in figuring out what exactly to feed yourself. Knowing what to stay away from can actually be liberating and make shopping for food an easier task. By shopping at farmers markets and only the perimeter of the grocery store, your mind is free from the clutter of all the other food choices. The only real dilemma is to figure out how to assemble these fresh items into tasty meals.

Now, go and eat something nourishing. You deserve it and your body needs it!

10 Food Related Suggestions for 2013

Whether we make New Year’s Resolutions or not, the New Year is typically a time when we think of new beginnings. It’s a time to reflect on the year before and plan for the year ahead. Much of our resolutions revolve around food, which makes sense. Food is what heals us and ails us. Food is communal. Food is culture. Food is at the center of environmental, political, social justice, and human rights issues. Food is what connects all beings. What can we do next year about food?

Here’s a list of suggestions to get you inspired for success next year, in all your endeavors.

  1. Support your local farmers market. Most vendors at farmers markets are small scale producers and that means they spend more time on creating or growing a quality product that they themselves would use. By supporting local vendors, you are also supporting the local economy.
  2. Eat more whole foods and less processed foods. If this seems impossible with a busy lifestyle, it might be time to rethink your lifestyle. Try adding a few whole foods a week and reducing one packaged item a week. I prefer to do things all at once, but that might be a bit drastic for some folks. I’m often asked what I eat and when I respond, I’m usually met with a response similar to: “Oh, (you poor thing) I guess that means you have to cook a lot.” My response to this is, “Oh, I’m so sorry, you don’t have time to cook? What else are you doing with your life that’s more important than nourishing your body?” Ok, that was a little sarcastic, but you see where I’m going.
  3. Buy organic or naturally grown from your local farmer when possible. Organic is great, though skip organic in a box and go for real fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, and eggs.
  4. Take the time to prepare more food at home with friends and family. There is nothing more important than your health. See #2.
  5. Educate yourself about current food issues. Learn about GMO’s, industrial agriculture, food sovereignty, real food, and food and farming trends including the Slow Food Movement, the Locavore Movement, Permaculture, and Biodynamic Farming, just to name a few.
  6. Join an Eat Local group…or not. It can be a fun and educational experience to be a part of group that actively seeks to eat only local food. You’d be surprised to know what does and doesn’t grow in your region.
  7.  Familiarize yourself with the local restaurants. Find out which ones serve local, seasonal, grassfed, pastured, wild caught, or organic food. Let them know that you appreciate their efforts. It’s not easy to source good food.
  8. Eat local and seasonally. See #6.
  9. Start a garden, even if it’s just a few herbs or vegetables in containers.
  10. Take a foodie or gardening workshop and pick up a new skill. Learn about bees, how to make bread, how to forage, how to grow mushrooms or sprouts, learn how to ferment, how to make cheese, how to garden organically, or simply learn how to cook.

There. I’ve shared some ideas, now what are you hoping to do, achieve, or change this coming year?

Moonlight Micro-Farm

cfh portrait

Chandra F. Hartman – owner

*all photos courtesy of e.m.marcus | photography

Name of business: Moonlight Micro-Farm
Owner’s Name: Chandra F. Hartman
Website: www.moonlightmicrofarm.com
Facebook: Moonlight Micro-Farm
Email: chandra[at]moonlightmicrofarm[dot]com
Phone: 850.624.7075

How long have you been in business? I started my residential design business, CFH Design Studio, in 2000 and Moonlight Micro-Farm as a complimentary business in 2008. Moonlight Micro-Farm is all about creating small scale food solutions that protect and enhance our biological resources. We help people grow their own food and create resilience in their lives by sharing knowledge, cultivating skills, and providing the necessary tools. We offer permaculture workshops, residential and ecological design – through CFH Design Studio, heirloom seeds, organic sprouting seeds, and gardening supplies.

How long have you lived in the area and where are you from? I’ve lived in Northwest Florida, both Walton County and Bay County, since 1996. I was born in Quantico, VA and have spent the first half of my life primarily in the DC area. Before moving to Florida, I lived and went to school in Frederick, MD.

How far do you travel for the market? We travel about 40 minutes every Saturday to the market from our home on the East end of Panama City Beach.

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Heirloom seeds at the market

What products do you offer?
Moonlight Micro-Farm offers heirloom garden seeds, organic sprouting seeds, sprouting kits, and various gardening sundries.  These products are available online and we also provide consultation and design services through my sister company, CFH Design Studio.

What makes your items special or unique? I have made a commitment to only selling seeds that are open-pollinated, non-genetically modified, non-patented, and not owned by a large corporation like Monsanto or Syngenta. I strongly believe that seeds should be in the public domain, as they have been since the beginning of time. All people should have access to healthy food and the means to grow it. I source locally when possible and grow as much of my own food as I can. All of my sprouting seeds are hand mixed by me, certified organic, and non-GMO as well. I only sell products that I would use myself and feel comfortable with how they are made.

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Extra Dwarf Pak Choy grown from seed

Is there anything new on the horizon? New products, seasonal items or specials? I will be unveiling a new website soon and I am expanding my seed collection; including many that have been grown and harvested locally. I’m working on a new sprout mix and I’d also like to start on another eBook this year, perhaps about Permaculture or edible gardening.

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Culinary Sage grown from seed

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Heirloom Seed varieties

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Crimson & Clover Sprouts

Letter From Ocheesee Creamery About Vitamin A and Your Skim Milk

Dear Valued Customers,

Ocheesee Creamery is dedicated to supplying a high quality, all natural product. Due to a state (FL) regulation, we are no longer able to provide skim milk as one of our products. The regulation requires that Vitamin A be added to skim milk. We feel that adding synthetic Vitamin A to our product goes against our all natural product. The state would fine us and pull our bottling permit if we continued selling skim milk without adding Vitamin A.

To continue offering butter and cream, the price has to be raised to make it cost effective since we now dump all skim milk. Also, we no longer can supply Amavida Coffee & Tea with skim milk for their coffees. If anyone would like to help us change this regulation, you could help by emailing Adam Putnam at adam.putnam@freshfromflorida.com.

Thank You,

Paul & MaryLou Wesselhoeft

Ocheesee Creamery

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More information on the practice of adding Vitamin A to low-fat dairy products:

Reduced-fat milks often have added vitamin A palmitate to compensate for the loss of the vitamin during fat removal; in the United States this results in reduced fat milks having a higher vitamin A content than whole milk.[108]Wikipedia

And From Another Blog…

Milk additives.

Most milk products contain some form of synthetic vitamin A and D. Yes, this is even true for some organic brands. Due to their lower fat content, US law requires most organic low-fat and skim milks to be fortified with additional Vitamin A and D. All conventionally farmed milk products, including whole, low fat, and skim milk varieties, are fortified with Vitamin A and D.

What does this mean to you?

According to Josh Rubin of East West Healing and Performance, many people have an inflammatory response to these synthetic vitamins. Some are very cheap and many come from overseas where the quality standards are much lower than the United States. The FDA reports that less than 20% of these overseas vitamins are actually regulated by their standards. The only milk products I have found that have no Vitamin additives are all raw organic milk products and some pasteurized whole milk products. Just another reason to read your food labels. Source: http://katedeering.com/archives/1220

My Two Cents in One Sentence:

If we could somehow convince and help more people to eat a variety of whole foods, not processed foods, and care for our ecosystems, we would go a long way toward reducing the need for synthetic vitamins and minerals to stay healthy.

Desi’s Authentic New Orleans Recipes

Desiree Nette

Desiree Nette

*all photos courtesy of e.m.marcus | photography

Name of business: Desi’s Authentic New Orleans Recipes

Owner: Desiree Nette

Phone: 504-957-6464

E-mail: hightone[at]cox[dot]net

My name is Desiree Nette. I am from Louisiana,  I have been staying in Florida (Santa Rosa Beach) since the beginning of August, with my brother who has been a Florida resident for several years now. I have been making and selling Authentic Louisiana Dishes, specializing in Seafood Gumbo, and also making classic Red Beans and Rice and Jambalaya. I am just starting out with trying to get a business up and running. I am doing catering right now with the hope of opening a restaurant. I learned to cook from my Mother. My Mother and Father owned a seafood restaurant in Louisiana for 21 years. I think I have something special with my cooking. I never get any negative feedback. People enjoy eating my cooking.

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