I’ve been away from this blog a while – too long for fans.
I have a great excuse that I’m quite proud of: it’s Florida Food & Farm, a new magazine that I edit. The first issue debuted in late January in 15 counties in and around South Florida.
It’s a magazine and directory focused on the local food movement. With articles on innovative farmers, ranchers, aquaculture entrepreneurs and artisans producing local food, as well as a directory of all of those plus markets and restaurants where consumers can get their share of Florida-grown food, it has quickly become a resource for all who’ve found it.
CEO Daphne Weaver, herself a farm owner, had a vision for connecting local farms to all consumers, and getting fresher foods to those who need them. She found a magazine in Arkansas that served as a model, Arkansas Food & Farm. It became our template, and staffers there helped produce our inaugural issue.
Since it hit stands, we have been overwhelmed by the positive response from all corners. The farmers are excited to find markets for their produce and meats; chefs are happy to know of new resources for buying local food, and the everyday cook and food lover has learned just what specialties Florida farms produce.
Just getting started
With the first issue, as in any start-up, we merely scratched the surface of all the sources we want to feature and connections we want to make.
But already readers have sent notes and emails thrilled to have the magazine available to guide them to U-pick farms, or fresh farm eggs, or grass-fed beef. Others have located farmers markets, or restaurants like those in the Fontainebleu in Miami Beach with fresh fish tanks in the basement they didn’t know existed.
Farmers are happy to share their knowledge; we’ve tapped a great resource for all growers – even backyard gardeners wanting to grow a tub of tomatoes. Culinary students at Johnson & Wales in Miami have exotic fruits growing right outside their labs. We are learning of groups passionate about the new urban farming going mainstream in every city, with community gardens, edible landscapes, and innovative ways to get fresh food to those living in food “deserts.”
It’s all a noble pursuit – but can’t happen without support. We are grateful that the Dept. of Agriculture’s Fresh From Florida campaign to showcase Florida-grown foods is among our supporters, and artisans like Old School Bakery in Delray and farming friends at Kai-Kai Farm in Indiantown and Got Sprouts? in Riviera Beach took a chance on our unknown first issue.
Of course, a magazine’s audience is its foundation. The reception has been beyond our expectations. Though we’ve been asked to move throughout the state – baby steps! We are a very small staff wanting to grow slowly and sturdily.
Meanwhile, I hope you’ll look for our magazine and read about forager Rod Smith, Localecopia, chefs Tim Andriola and Daniel Boulud, a shrimp farm in Fellsmere, farm dinners, and much more. Visit our web page, floridafoodandfarm.com, where you can find the virtual copy and search the directory.
Pick up your free Florida Food & Farm at Whole Foods Markets, select Publix Markets, Tunie’s, at farm-to-table events, Johnson & Wales University in North Miami, area green markets, or at our offices on Lake Avenue in downtown Lake Worth.
Above all, learn where your food comes from – and support those who make it possible to buy local.