Welcoming Growing Season at Teena’s Pride

Forager Ali Lauria with Teena's Pride grower Celia on Friday harvesting this season's first heirloom tomatoes.

It was a long summer full of luscious lychees, then mountains of mangoes and juicy avocados, and of course those plentiful pumpkins that made our pizzas bright and sweet under the wood fire…  And those amazing California figs!  But no matter how much we love keeping creative with slim local pickings, our Miami kitchens at MGFD and Harry’s are chomping at the bit for the arrival of the main growing season in South Florida.  On Friday, great news came from forager Ali Lauria!  Her first pick-up of heirloom tomatoes from grower Michael Borek of Teena’s Pride in Homestead flew through the door, with news of plenty more veggies coming into harvest by November.

“Celia, Felix and Rafael make sure everything gets planted and they’re on top of the growing process. They are amazing!!!,” says Ali of Michael Borek’s team.   “Celia is also the one that prepared the herbs for Harry’s. I believe Celia is in charge of everything that grows for their CSA, which is taking sign-ups right now.”

In addition to a return of heirloom tomatoes to our burrata, we are excited to soon be getting Teena’s Pride cucumbers, eggplant, gold and red beets, carrots, cauliflower, romanesco veronica, anaheim peppers, bell peppers, patty pan squash, spicy mix lettuces, butter lettuce, arugula, pak choi, and, new for us this year, locally-grown romaine lettuce!  Check out Ali’s photos from the farm last week here, and we’ll continue to share how this product makes it to our menus here on the blog and on Twitter.

Field Report: Top Hat Tomatoes Weather the Freeze

Tomatoes wear hats for the cold, too.

Forager Ali Lauria emailed me this photo after her regular pick-up from Teena’s Pride this past Tuesday.  Our farmers have become quite adept at weathering the sometimes freezing cold of a South Florida winter, but it’s not without a cost.

This new technique is one of several methods grower Michael Borek employs to keep his tomato plants alive and healthy when the temperature takes an extreme dip.  The tiny baby plants stay warm overnight, wrapped in tissue under plastic pots that act like miniature greenhouses trapping the heat inside.  I spoke with owner Teena Borek this morning about the process.

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Chief Justice of Pie: Blueberry Takes the Cake

@hedygoldsmith tweeted her preparations for the role of "Chief Justice of Pie" the night before. Yep, she now has her own gavel!

Slow Food Miami served up a slice of history Saturday afternoon.  Make that 22 times two slices — and that was just the judges’ table!

The occasion was “Pie on the Porch,” an event to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Coral Gables House, George Merrick’s former home.  Merrick (1886–1942) was the real estate developer who is credited as the planner and builder of the City of Coral Gables in the 1920s.

Festivities included Boy Scout Troop 7’s flag-raising ceremony and the planting of a “Heritage Garden” designed by Jackie and Carlos Touzet of Touzet Studio.  Booths from Whisk Gourmet and Teena’s Pride peppered the lawn.  Despite rain showers, the community turned out, sporting their patio best.

We were there for the sweet centerpiece, a local pie-baking contest presided over by another Gables resident — our very own Hedy Goldsmith, who traded “Executive Pastry Chef” for “Chief Justice of Pie” for the day.

22 pies, six sugar-shocked judges, a dozen San Pellegrinos and maybe twice that in #pieontheporch Tweets later, Summertime Blueberry Pie (Marlin Ebbert,) Monctezuma’s Delight (John Carr,) Lucila’s Fruit Bomba Creme Brûlée Pie (Lucila Jimenez,) Longan Walnut Bolaraisin Pie (Robert Barnum,)
Yam I Am – Hedy’s personal favorite (Carol Garvin,) and Passion Fruit Pie (Jana White) came out on top!  Here’s how it all went down.

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Photos in the Field with Foraging Chef Matt Hinckley: Heirloom Carrots in the Soil, Micro Kholrabi, and Beans on the Vine

Chef Matt Hinckley

Chef Matt has assumed the role of MGFD forager, visiting our local producers twice weekly to pick up fresh goodies for the restaurant.

He also happens to be, among other things, a talented photographer.

Here is Matt’s field report in pictures, from his most recent trip to Bee Heaven and Teena’s Pride (Borek) farms.

Bee Heaven: Heirloom carrots growing...

Bee Heaven: Beans and greens

Bee Heaven: Murial with seedlings

Bee Heaven: Murial with radishes

Grower Michael Borek of Teena's Pride with his bees that pollinate the tomato flowers

Hydroponic beds inside a Borek greenhouse

Borek microgreens

Borek micro kholrabi

Gorgeous purple microgreens

Borek peppers growing...

Russians are red, violets are blue...

Heirlooms on the vine