Going the the grocery store for your eggs, milk, vegetables, and fruits is fine and dandy, but buying from the local farm directly is so much more rewarding.
They bring the community together; focus on fresh, healthy, and eco-friendly growing methods; and make good use of the hashtag #eatlocal. And as we become more conscious about what we eat and where it's coming from, more and more are sprouting up. Local and sustainable food is not just something we see in many restaurants today, but also something widely seen in our own kitchens at home.
Lucky for us, South Florida has plenty, especially right here in Palm Beach County. Here are ten of our favorite ones:
10. The Moringa Company
1465 SW 6th Court, Delray Beach; 561-819-2506; moringaco.com.
The Moringa Co., located in Delray Beach, was founded in 2015. The ten-acre farm specializes in producing the Moringa Oleifera as both raw plant produce and products made from the leaves and seeds of this plant touted as the "miracle" tree for its myriad health benefits. The company is organically certified by the USDA to create a number of health-minded items. A cold-pressed moringa seed oil makes facial oil and body scrubs, while the leaves are dried and ground into a fine powder and freeze-dried to create vegan-friendly nutritional supplement capsules and a superfood powder, both rich in bio-available iron, complete plant proteins, and vitamin A. The best part: It can all be shipped straight to your door. You can also find fresh moringa sprouts, leaves, and products for sale at a number of local markets including Whole Foods and Nutrition S'Mart. P.S.: the JugoFresh juice, Mo'ringa the Alarm, uses the Moringa Company to create their cold-pressed beverage rich in antioxidants.
9. Bee Healthy Honey Farm
7396 Skyline Drive, Delray Beach; 561-921-1475; beehealthyhoneyfarms.com.
When it comes to local produce, eggs, meat, or even dairy, there's only one crop around that's sweeter than all the rest: honey. For Bee Healthy Honey Farm owner Stephen Byers, there are a number of health benefits that come from the honey his small Delray Beach-based apiary produces. The most important part for him, however, is to raise healthy bees and hives. What began with a single hive in 2012 has today grown to more than 80, clusters of buzzing boxes scattered across his family's two-and-a-half acres. The grounds are home to a variety of native wildflowers and clover, providing an immediate food source for his bees, who can travel up to five miles from the hive for food sourcing. This farm is a family affair. Once a week, Byers, his wife, Cherie, and their two children, Caleb and Grace, head out to collect honey. Last year, Bee Healthy Honey Farm produced approximately 2,000 pounds of raw, unfiltered wildflower honey — that amounts to several gallon buckets each week. What's collected is bottled and sold by the ounce out of a small retail shop located in the family's stand-alone garage that opens on the weekend to allow customers to buy directly (cash only) from the farm. Sizes range from 12-ounce bottles, to three-gallon jugs. The shop also offers honeycomb and bee pollen.
8. Got Sprouts?
8420 Resource Rd., Riviera Beach; 561-689-9464; gotsprouts.com.
Got Sprouts? isn't your typical farm. It's more like a sprout and wheatgrass wonderland, where pallets of young plants and grasses are always growing. Founded by co-owners and husband-and-wife team Jody and Sean Herbert, today the business is all about making healthy eating even easier. The couple say they began growing sprouts for their personal use, and to share with friends and family. As demand picked up, they turned their daily routine into a business. Today, Got Sprouts? produces a variety of certified organic sprouts and wheatgrass which they deliver to local stores and homes across Palm Beach County. The company also provides a membership plan for home or office delivery, with options available five days a week. If you're outside their service area, the couple are happy to show you who to grow your own sprouts at home. The Riviera Beach-based business offers classes and sells start-up kits, organic seeds, instructional DVDs, sprout bags, and organic soil — everything you need to get growing. The Got Sprouts? shop carries books, dehydrators, manual and electric juicers, as well as equipment and tools for growing and harvesting your own sprouts and wheatgrass.
7. Delilah's Dairy & Goodness Gracious Acres
14817 97th Road N., West Palm Beach; 561-422-9906; delilahsdairy.blogspot.com.
According to JoJo Milano, most people have a mistaken view of goat milk: they think the taste is gamey. Instead of a funky flavored milk, her Nubians produce dairy that's actually very sweet. It's good enough to convert you from cow's milk and — across Palm Beach County — there are plenty of people who agree. Milano, owner and head milker at Delilah's Dairy in West Palm Beach, sells raw goat milk on her small farmlet. These days, the farm is home to 22 goats and various livestock including two pot-bellied pigs, a miniature horse, and about 40 chickens. They are free-ranging and fed an alfalfa- and grain-based diet. From sun-up to sundown, Milano tends to her herd, a great pyrenees livestock guardian dog at her heels. From the 11 milking goats she will collect approximately three to four gallons of milk each day, milking several times throughout every 24-hour period. The milk is used to make several products including raw goat milk, an herb-flecked farm cheese, and kefir (a tart, drinkable yogurt). Milano also offers small farm consultation services, breeds and sells her goats, and makes handmade soaps using the goat milk with olive and coconut oils.
6. Natural Nomad Farms
State Road 7 at Osprey Pond Lane, Boynton Beach; 561-558-3777; naturalnomadfarms.com.
Nick and Jason are the natural nomads behind Boynton Beach's Natural Nomad Farms, a place that's all about keeping things small and local. The owners focus on growing the highest quality produce, with the lowest impact on the environment, all of it cultivated without the use of any harmful chemicals or pesticides. To do so, the farm uses modern, eco-friendly growing techniques to obtain higher yields with a smaller footprint than conventional methods. It also allows Natural Nomad to grow using less water than field-grown crops, which reduces runoff into the local ecosystem. Today, the farm distributes its products locally (the same day produce is harvested) to a number of Palm Beach County restaurants and markets, much of it fresh-cut microgreens packaged for grocers and consumers alike, although they also grow heirloom vegetables like winged beans and radishes. Right now, you can also find something extra special on their online Etsy shop: spilanthes acmella, a species of flowering herb also known as the "electric daisy" or "buzz buttons." The plant's yellow and red cone-shaped flowers and leaves have properties similar to Echinacea, and are said to enhance the immune system, improve digestion, and help nausea. The name "toothache plant" refers to the numbing properties chewed leaves and flowers produce. You can also find them at the Boca Raton and Delray Beach farmers' markets during season.
5. Kai-Kai Farm
8006 SW Kanner Highway, Indiantown. Call 772-597-1717; kaikaifarm.com.
Not many people know Diane Cordeau and Carl Frost named Kai-Kai Farm for the familiar greeting they often heard while visiting the Micronesian Islands on their live-aboard boat. It was an invitation to feast with the local tribes that inhabited the various places they traveled, and felt like the perfect name for their Indiantown Farm founded in 2004. Today, Kai-Kai Farm in Indiantown produces a number of rotating seasonal crops, fresh produce the couple sell to a number of local, high-profile chefs and restaurants. Everything on the farm is tended to by Cordeau personally. Unlike many area farms, Cordeau is vigilant about finding crops that will allow her to grow year-round, meaning there's always something ready for harvest, even in the summer months. It's the reason you'll always find locally-grown black eyed peas, broccolini, and okra at Cafe Boulud in Palm Beach, or a variety of beautiful lettuces at The Cooper in Palm Beach Gardens. After all, they don't call Cordeau the "queen of lettuce" for nothing. Looking for a farm fresh meal in a pastoral setting? The couple also offer regular farm tours every week, as well as a number of monthly farm dinners held at the open-air structure on their property (similar to Swank Table, although less formal) throughout the year.
4. Farriss Farm
3805 Investment Lane, #2, West Palm Beach; 561-352-6028, or visit farrissfarm.com.
Farriss Farm is a West Palm Beach-based farm specializing in fresh eggs, raw milk, and grass-fed/grass-finished meats including beef, rabbit, and lamb. The big deal here: Ferris Farms guarantees these meats are raised responsibly and humanely on pasture, and fed a diet free of GMO’s, hormones, and antibiotics. It's why these use the slogan, "eat great meat." Their products can be ordered online, or you can purchase it directly from the vendor during farmers' market season when the farm participates in the Delray Beach and West Palm Beach green markets. An impressive booth that sells everything from heritage chicken and pork to handcrafted bacon, hams, and sausage (some sourced from Napa, California). You can also find soy-free organic eggs; Groff's Content beef, pork, bison, and chicken bone broths; and — from time to time — giant mushrooms including shiitake, maitake, oyster, trumpet, white beech, and chanterelle.
3. Walt's Farmhouse Tomatoes
Call 561-968-6971, for visit farmhousetomatoes.com.
If you want to eat the best, you need to buy the best. Here, in South Florida, that's where Walter Ross comes in. He grows tomatoes coveted by some of the area's top chefs, including Daniel Boulud (Cafe Boulud, Palm Beach), Bruce Feingold (Dada, Delray Beach), Clay Conley (Grato, West Palm Beach), and Adrienne Grenier (3030 Ocean, Fort Lauderdale). Of course, these aren't your average tomatoes. These are Ross' hydroponically-grown, heirloom tomatoes, all farmed on a tiny, one-acre plot of land in Lake Worth. Tomato growing is something Ross has been perfecting since he launched his business in 1996. Here, hundreds of tomatoes are grown from seeds that date back to the early 1900's, heirloom varieties treasured for both their look and old fashioned flavor. Today, the farm offers a number of specialty tomato varieties from Beefsteak, Red Brandywine, and Cherokee Purple to Gold Medal and Kellogg’s Breakfast. Just to be sure to look for his produce during prime tomato season — typically November through June — when the plants are most bountiful.
2. Heritage Hen Farm
8495 S. Haverhill Rd., Boynton Beach. Call 561-767-9000, or visit heritagehen.com.
Marty and Svetlana Simon purchased the land in 2007, and for the past nine years have been operating Heritage Hen Farm as a way to offer South Florida locals a natural, healthier dairy and egg alternative. The Simons raise only rare heritage breed chickens, a way to keep the most coveted breeds popular and growing. To ensure their food is the healthiest possible, the chickens are fed a diet of native pasture grasses and sprouts, organic vegetables, and all-natural sprouted GMO-free feed, as well as a variety of nuts, dried fruit, and seeds donated by Whole Foods. Most importantly, says Svetlana, the hens are allowed to produce eggs as nature intended — without the use of hormones. At any given time, the farm will have anywhere from 300 to 400 chickens in total. They roam the property freely in large flocks and roost in a large wooden shed Marty meticulously cleans each morning. Every Saturday, the 15-acre farm nestled in a remote section of Boynton Beach hosts its own farmers' market. Here, the couple sells their organic heritage eggs (when available) alongside raw dairy products that include milk, cream, butter, and yogurt.
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1. Sons & Daughters Farm and Winery
5926 Fearnley Rd., Lake Worth; 305-613-8039; sd-farm.com.
Teal Pfeifer and David Bick are the couple behind this Lake Worth farm built on 17-acres of clean, organic soil. Here, the couple is making a unique Florida spirit with a native plant they're growing themselves. Their signature cru, if you will, can be found on tap at the farm's tasting room, a fizzy herbal wine made by fermenting the red-pink blossoms of the Hibiscus Sabdariffa plant. Low in alcohol content, it offers a refreshing zing of soft bubbles from ongoing natural fermentation. The goal: To help people "feel pretty, without getting ugly," says Bick, whose wine doesn't contain hangover causing sulfates. In addition to the new herbal and honey wines — and an ever-changing selection of homemade organic kombucha on tap — Sons & Daughters also offers "clean" organic fruits and vegetables; specialty crops like moringa and organic rice; edible flowers like hibiscus and Nasturtium; and an ever-changing selection of homemade organic kombucha. Be sure to stop by during their monthly full moon farm tours, and live music jams every weekend with resident chef Oliver Frost of Pizza Paradise.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.