Taste of Redland launches farm awareness campaign

Taste of Redland launches farm awareness campaign

More than 500 guests and inspirational members who have spent decades pioneering and community building in South Florida attended the launch of Taste of Redland’s Locavore Culinary Experience on Saturday, Nov. 17.

The culinary series runs each month through June 2019, alternating Sunday brunches and Saturday night dinners on farms in the Redland. A true farm-to-table local experience with a focus on bringing much needed attention to the agricultural community of the Redland, the magical evening became one of the monumental turning points in Redland history, featuring the superlative culinary prowess of renowned chefs Allen Susser, Cindy Hutson, Aaron Dreilinger and Maxi Fava, using locally grown “Redland-Raised” and “Fresh-from-Florida” produce in their menus.

The artistry of the South Florida Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Maestra Sebrina Maria Alfonso, mesmerized the sold-out audience. The program, “Opera that Pops,” featured a full 55-piece orchestra under one of the largest banyan trees in the world, at TILT Farms in Redland. The program included beloved classical operatic musical pieces and received a standing ovation at the finale.

Guests and organizations showed their newly inspired support to increase awareness for one of the largest economic engines and employers in Florida, the agricultural sector of Redland. During the evening the many Florida pioneers in attendance committed to a new era for the farming community of Redland and to begin their active involvement in one of the largest movements sweeping America, supporting local sourcing of farm-fresh food and the explosion of agri-tourism.

“What a truly magical evening, where South Floridians and Redland came together to celebrate the exciting future of the agricultural community in Miami-Dade County, and commit to becoming Locavores,” said Michael Huter, founder of Taste of Redland.

“The farms of Redland appreciate the overwhelming interest in our com-munity and are thrilled to hear the far-reaching voices of support and mo-mentum being generated to begin a new era in Redland; now let’s make it happen — what a special night it was,” said Louie Carricarte.

The Dinner and Brunch series is an initiative started by Huter, Carricarte and Ilana Vardy and spearheaded by Taste of Redland, Unity Groves, Grove Services and the 2,200 acres and 250 farms it services annually.

It is a community-wide effort that aims to create awareness with the 7 mil-lion people living in South Florida and Redland’s long-established farming community. The hope is to better inform people of the availability of fresh produce at its doorstep, develop and generate agri-tourism for the area and create a community of committed locavores.

The job of a locavore is to simply ask and insist that their local grocery stores, restaurants and markets use local produce, and to spend at least $50 per month wherever they can on locally grown items. Merriam Webster defines locavore as one who eats foods grown locally whenever possible.

This entire group came together for one evening on a farm in Redland to celebrate what comes from the local land, to protect it and support its fu-ture.

The dinner and brunch series also aims to bring awareness and support to worthwhile local causes including the Baptist Health South Florida wellness initiative and Grow2Heal program at Homestead Hospital.

“Our wellness initiative is very much a part of our not-for-profit mission — to improve the health and well-being of the people in the communities we serve — and we take this responsibility seriously,” said Bill Duquette, Homestead Hospital CEO.

“UM is excited to be part of Taste of Redland’s initiative to create a new generation of locavores by educating students with edible landscapes about what is grown locally and on our campus Arboretum,” said Son Vo of the University of Miami.

“We are thrilled that Taste of Redland has decided to assist us in our efforts to educate our local community on the importance of protecting and expanding the forest,” said Fred Hubbard, director of Patch of Heaven Sanctuary. Patch of Heaven Sanctuary at the historic former Matheson Family home in Redland is a 20-acre non-profit nature preserve undergoing a reforestation project of a five-acre tropical hammock.

Redland Ahead and their farms which support FIU’s agro-ecology program and provide training to underserved populations and veterans to become farmers. Operations manager Tyra Phillips said she was excited to be working with Taste of Redland.

“It is important to develop new relationships that assist the small farmer/business to showcase their product throughout South Flori-da.”Phillips said. “Our objective is to ‘build hope from the ground up’ to sustain the Redland as an instrumental player in the food security of our nation. We envision that Taste of Redland can be pivotal in highlighting agri-tourism of Redland.”

Taste of Redland is looking to highlight various programs at the Miami-Dade County Redland Fruit and Spice Park and support their efforts with a portion of ticket sales from the events.

“The mission of Taste of Redland fits perfectly with our purpose — to educate and inform those near and far about the unique area and agriculture of Redland,” said Jim Stribling, director of the Fruit and Spice Park. “We are very fortunate to have the support of this excellent organization as we work towards a common goal.”

The Locavore Culinary Experience will be held monthly with dinners and brunches through June 2019. Taste of Redland’s next event will be a dinner at Takoda Farmstead and TILT Farms on Saturday, Jan. 12.

For more information on Taste of Redland’s agri-tourism programs and tickets to a culinary event, visit www.tasteofredland.com.

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