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  • 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

  • Florida avocado now available...

    I’m a big avocado fan.  One of my favorite ways to eat avocados is to cut a slice and sprinkle it with a bit of salt.  For a more fulfilling snack, spread it on a piece of bread.  As a side dish, mix them with tomatoes, onions, oil and vinegar and you got the perfect summer salad.  Eat it alone or on a bed of lettuce.  Growing up, my grandpa would add codfish to the avocado/tomato mixture to make it the main course.

    avocado

    “Florida Avocadoes” are close relatives to edible cinnamon, camphor, sassafras and bay leaf herb.  They are native to Mexico, Central America and parts of South America.  Did you know there are over 50 different varieties of Florida Avocados?   All thanks to Henry Perrine who first introduced them to Florida in 1833 making Florida the first state to cultivate avocados.  Avocados are grown on the southeast and southwest coast of Florida.  You can find them fresh between June and March.

    Florida Avocado vs. Hass

    Did you know they have 60% more potassium than bananas per serving?  They are also high in protein, fiber, folate, Vitamin E.  Florida avocadoes have 3-15%oil, which means they have less total fat than California avocado varieties.

    avocado

    They are also larger in size than Hass and their skin doesn’t turn color when ripe.  You’ll know your avocado is ready to eat when it yields to gentle pressure.  If you need to ripen an avocado, you can speed up the process by placing it in a paper bag at room temperature.  My grandpa would just put it inside the oven for a day or two.

    Check out our Pinterest board for more inspiration!

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