‘Tis the season for plenty of produce

Buy Fresh Buy Local

‘Tis the season in South Florida for herbs, greens, avocado, and black sapote. Our harvest has just begun and several events this season celebrate the food of local farms:

Slow Food “Glades to Coast” Grower’s Discovery Dinner

This musically named chapter of Slow Food extends from Broward to central Palm Beach county. The dinner at Café Boulud will make a hefty dent in your wallet at $125 per person. However, if you want to celebrate early, treat yourself and enjoy a varied and intriguing menu. The price includes five courses, tax, tip, and wine pairings; $25 of the price goes to Slow Food G to C. Chef de cuisine Zach Bell mans the helm, along with pastry chef Matthew Petersen.

The menu includes local fish and meat, including sturgeon from an aquaculture project in Sarasota and lamb from DeLand. Some purists might argue with the “local” definition, but I’m no zealot. I’m pleased to discover any local and sustainable animal products, especially terrestrial ones, in Florida.

Menu:

Walter Ross - Quartet of Heirloom Tomatoes, velouté with yellow and green tomatoes, homemade warm mozzarella on chiffonade of romaine, confit farcelette with chèvre and a tartine of cherry tomatoes with Fernando Pensato olive oil

Swank Farms - Eggplant Hullaballoo: eggplant stuffed with smoked eggplant caviar, fourway arugula, eggplant chips, pickled eggplant, pluches of new zealand spinach, preserved Meyer lemon coulis schmear

Mote Marine - Slow roasted sturgeon, braised savoy cabbage, sweet carrots and caviar sauce

Deep Creek Ranch - Trio of Florida pasture raised lamb: roasted leg of lamb, confit of shoulder, chop epigramme, stuffed saddle, fennel and squash

Palm Beach Groves - Warm citrus pound cake, caramelized grapefruit, orange confit, fromage blanc sorbet

When: Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 7 pm

Where: Café Boulud, The Brazilian Court, 301 Australian Avenue, Palm Beach

How much: $125 per person, call 561-655-6060 to reserve

Dinner in Paradise

This annual dinner series takes place at Paradise Farms in Homestead, in an idyllic farm setting at sunset. There are talented chefs lined up to cook these dinners, which are limited to about 150 people. The dinners highlight whatever fresh and flavorful produce is ripe at the time.

Dinners start with a wine reception and farm tour, followed by a six-course meal. This would be an amazing gift for the food lover in your life. Once you buy your tickets, Paradise Farms sends you a map to the farm. Each dinner is $155 per person.

2008-2009 Dinner in Paradise Schedule

December 14, 2008: Chefs Allen Susser (Chef Allen’s), Roly Cruz-Taura (Taura/The Biltmore), and Gerdy Rodriguez (Abokado)

January 11, 2009: Chefs Gordon Maybury and Brett Rayon (The Loews Hotel Miami Beach), Michael Finizia and Miguel Magana (Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, and Brandon Benack (Emeril’s)

February 8, 2009: Chefs Clay Conley (Mandarin Azul), Sean Brasel (Meat Market), and Michael Bloise

There is another dinner in February for the South Beach Food & Wine Festival, but it sold out in one hour.

March 8, 2009: Chefs Larry LaVelly and Mark Militello (Regent Bal Harbor), Marco Ferraro (Wish), and Christopher Siragusa (Paradise Farms Organic)

March 22, 2009: Chefs Jeff McInnis (The Dilido Beach Club/Top Chef New York contestant), Jason Smith and Govind Armstron (Table 8), and Jeff Beauchamps and Irena Komeva (Tantra)

April 12, 2009: (VEGAN GOURMET) Chefs Mark Zeitouni (Lido at the Standard), Giancarla Bodoni (Escopazzo), and Alex Asterinza (Canyon Ranch)

April 26, 2009: Chefs Sandee Birdsong (Top Chef Miami contestant), Kira Volz (Creek 28), Kyra White (Theine Tea Room), and Sergio Sigala (Casa Tua)

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