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  • Roasted Okra

    Okra is one of those veggies people either love or despise.  Those who love it, can't get enough and those who despise it complain about it's slimy taste.  While I occasionally enjoy some fried okra with ranch dressing, it may not be the healthiest combination.  Having fresh locally grown okra brought to the market daily, made me realize we hadn't had it at home yet.  While my girls may not eat everything I put on their plate, I'm always encouraging them to try new things.

    Roasted Okra
    Recipe Type: Vegetable
    Author: Xiomara Meeks
    Prep time:
    Cook time:
    Total time:
    Serves: 4
    Enjoy crisp, flavorful, fresh from the farm Roasted Okra in a few simple steps!
    Ingredients
    • 1 pound okra
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 450. Wash the okra through running water and use a paper towel
    2. to dry it. Line a baking sheet with the okra and drizzle the olive oil over it. Season it with salt and pepper to taste.
    3. Roast it in the oven for 15 minutes. Make sure to shake the baking sheet half way through. Allow a few minutes to cool before eating.

     

    Growing Tips

    Okra is very easy to grow, especially with Florida's hot  weather.  Some relatives include cotton, hollyhock and hibiscus.  If you plan to grow it in your garden, make sure you have well-drained soils in full sun.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soils (pH 6.5-7.5).  Okra can be grown  by direct sowing or by setting transplants.  Make sure you soak the seeds overnight before sowing.

    homegrown okra

    Selecting Okra

    When selecting Okra make sure it has a beautiful shade of green.  Preferably, you should pick them when they are about the size of a small finger or your "pinkie".  The smaller they are, the less "slimy" they tend to be.  Also, the smaller the seeds are.

    Additional Recipes

     

    What are some of your favorite ways to prepare it?

  • Food and Wine Conference, Orlando FL

    This past weekend I had the pleasure to join #SundaySupper host Isabel Laesing at the first ever Food and Wine Conference in Orlando Florida.  I first met Isabel at a Tampa Bay bloggers event at our market.  When she mentioned she was planning a conference, I was intrigued.  We kept in touch and decided to be an event sponsor.  After many requests for our strawberry cookies on Twitter, how could I not share the strawberry goodness? ;)  Loaded with our strawberry cookies, I headed to Orlando on Saturday.

    Parkesdale strawberry cookies

    Not sure what to expect, I arrived at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort Hotel.  The grounds surrounding the hotel were gorgeous.  I can only imagine what the rooms must have looked like.  I must say, I was surprised by the swag bag.  So many nationally recognized brands such as Idaho Potatoes, Dixie Crystals, Duda Farm Fresh Foods and Stonyfield Yogurt.  But my heart was happy when I saw so many local brands: Datz, Wish Farms and Mario Foods!  

     

    Food and Wine conference sponsors

     

    Some of the topics discussed at the Food and Wine Conference included SEO Best practices by Dan Cristo creator of Triberr and Nicole Cook from the Daily Dish Recipes.  I had heard of Triberr, but did not realize how powerful it can be for any blogger.  By joining, you can find other bloggers like yourself and share each other's content.  Another great panel was Writing that Gets Noticed by "The Media" with Janet Keeler (Tampa Bay Times), Jeff Houck (Tampa Tribune), Pam Settle (Good Living Magazine) and Gayle Guyardo (News Channel 8).

    Sara Moulton Food and Wine Conference

    I was lucky enough to meet Sara Moulton from Good Morning America.  She previously hosted "Sara's Secrets" on the Food Network.  She was part of the panel on The Process of Writing a Cookbook.  Unfortunately, I was unable to return on Sunday for her cooking demonstration.  :(  I sure look forward to next year's Food and Wine conference.  Isabel did an amazing job at selecting the location and the panelist topics.  As a brand blogger, this is one conference to come back to!

    Main take aways from the Food and Wine Conference for bloggers:

    1.  Find your passion and be authentic.  
    2.  Quality content trumps quantity content.  Be consistant, offer fresh content.
    3.  Join Triberr!

    Have you heard of Triberr? Are you on it?

    What other blogger conferences are you planning on attending this year?

  • South Carolina or Georgia Peaches?

    Earlier this spring I had Florida peaches for the first time.  They were smaller in size than a South Carolina or Georgia peach, but what it lacked in size, it surely made up in flavor.  Florida peaches are only available for a short period of time right before the Georgia and South Carolina harvest.  Interestingly enough, peaches were originally planted in St. Augustine, FL before Franciscan monks introduced them to the South Georgia coast in 1571.  Peaches were then discovered in South Carolina as early as 1700.

     peaches

    Currently, both Georgia and South Carolina are big peach producers.  Both states produce over 40 different varieties including "clinging" and "freestone" types.   Most people recognize peaches as the official state fruit of Georgia.  However, South Carolina is known as the "tastier peach state".

    PeachTag photo courtesy of https://etax.dor.ga.gov/TagContest.aspx

     

    You'll be glad to know the peak of peach season is mid June to end of July.  At our market, we shop for our peaches daily. That's why some days we'll have Georgia peaches an another day we have South Carolina ones.  We shop for the freshest and sweetest peaches available.  Did you know during the summer months we make a peach milkshake?  They are made just like our strawberry milkshake with tons of fruit.

    Helpful Tips

    • There's about 3 to 4 medium peaches per pound.  One pound makes about 2 1/2 cups of sliced or chopped peaches.
    • Ripe peaches should be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to 5 days.
    • To peel peaches, dip them cut into halves in boiling water for 30 seconds.  Remove the peaches with a spoon and dip in cold water.
    • Leave peaches on the counter until they are ripe.  Then you may refrigerate them if you are not ready to eat them.

    Recipes

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