Forgotten Florida Fun

I indicated in my last post that I still had some things I wanted to tell you about my recent Florida trip; enough time has passed since writing that novel so I will continue…

I wanted to mention how it became clear to my Mom how important is was to read ingredients as she got tricked many times into thinking things were organic by the claims on the front of packages.  I myself had this same thing happen to me last summer, once you realize the mistake you feel duped and a little stupid.  She couldn’t believe the amount of falsified info companies put on the front of their packaging; at least twice I heard her say, “Why isn’t GMO food labeled?!”  Good question, Mom.  The answer would make you sick.  (Oooooo while looking for the link to the answer, I found this – please click!!) (And after I found the link to why the government refuses to label GMO Foods, I decided against posting it as I refuse to spread such ignorance.)

Another thing that I drew attention to was the size of my father’s (and mother’s for that matter) dinner plate.  Over the years his belly has become quite round, cute, but I know it’s really unhealthy and needs to be taken care of.  He rides his bike every day for about 7 miles but he doesn’t do much more in the line of exercising (other than household/yard chores) so it’s unlikely he’s going to shed any pounds without changing his diet.  (My mother and I may have convinced him to add some strength training to his weekly routine.)  The first night at dinner when he took out the plates I made a comment about how big they were and suggested we use salad plates and that if we wanted more we could have seconds.  The first try was successful, my father put significantly less on his plate and didn’t feel like he needed seconds (even a few hours later, he didn’t seem to be hungry or even remember that he had eaten maybe half the amount he normally would’ve); he did mention how good he felt and that he normally feels very heavy and full after dinner.  The next time we used the smaller plates he didn’t even finish what he had!  The third time, he was the one to correct my mother when she took out the large plates.  I haven’t checked, but would like to know if this is a new habit.

I learned of some new businesses that made me feel all warm inside 🙂  One is White Oak Pastures which has the only on-farm, USDA-Inspected, grass-fed beef processing plant in the US.  I encourage you to read about their family farm; how can you not marvel at the idea of organic, grass-fed beef, humanely butchered cows (by artisan meat cutters, who hold master degrees in meat science), all on a zero-waste processing plant!?  The best news?  Well, that would be that you can order their meat for delivery to your home!! (But please remember to keep the distance traveled to your home from the farm in mind!)

Another gem I stumbled upon was a local CSA in Fort Myers that runs weekly and allows you to order what you want from the weekly order form.  I can’t describe my excitement at this find!  I told you how frustrated I was once I saw the prices of organic produce at Sweet Bay, well the prices at Fresh Organics SWFL are low – even compared to my Whole Foods in RI!  PLUS, there are items (produce and dairy) that are not sold close by my parents’ house (my mother goes to the WF in Naples about every 6 weeks) so this is ultra convenient and cost-effective!!  VICTORY!!

Another find that I was excited about was the organic ice cream shop!  My family loves ice cream but we eat more of it out than at home so I was psyched to have an organic option!  We weren’t sure of where it was and everyone who we told the address to said “Hmm, odd spot for an ice cream place”, apparently it is in a rather industrial area.  We also tried to look it up in the GPS and 2x we called 411 for the number, all to no avail.  We are a family of explorers so we didn’t let that deter us, as we probably  should have HAHA!  When we walked into Cool Hand Luc’s there were 4 other people in the roughly 500 SF shop, two of which had an infant crawling around on the dirty, flaky paint, concrete floor.  We approached the counter and saw the 4 flavors of ice crystal-laden ice cream, 2 non-dairy and 2 organic.  My grandmother stepped right up and ordered the (unknowingly non-dairy) peanut butter.  My parents and I were a little less excited about the whole thing.  I didn’t want this to be a bad experience for my grandmother as she was already poo-poo’ing the whole organic idea (even though she wasn’t grasping the concept of what makes food organic;  in her defence she is 92 and suffering from Alzheimer’s!) so I stepped up and told the lady that we were going to pass due to the lack of flavors and that I wanted my grandmother to enjoy her organic ice cream experience (I said it with way more tact than that though LOL).  She gave me a bite of the PB, non-dairy ice cream and I have to say it did taste better than I imagined it would but no one seemed to really be feeling the place so we left.   I just searched for the website and came across some reviews that make me think I may be judging from an “off” day.  I do like the idea of what they are doing there, I am sorry it wasn’t what I expected.

The last item on my list was also bitter-sweet.  One morning my mother was telling me about a tour she has taken a few times at a farm where they educate missionaries on agricultural solutions to problems with growing food in difficult conditions.  She sold me on the idea of taking a tour and after watching the introductory movie before the tour, I was super excited to learn more about Echo!  I wanted to be educated on the mission and I was thrilled to hear an opposite solution to the world’s food crisis than GMO crops.  The intern who got up and spoke after the video was so chipper and excited about life and her mood made me even more excited to get on with this tour… unfortunately, we were led outside by a volunteer who was less than informed.  My mother had told me more and answered more questions on the car ride over than this guy; even the answers he did have, I began to question after recognizing some incorrect answers he had given in the beginning of the tour.  I was left frustrated at not getting the info I wanted and not being able to trust the info I was given.  A few times we jumped to other tour groups only to feel guilty and returned to our own group.  I’m glad my mother took a few tours and had already convinced me that this was really cool because I will def give it another chance when I can; I will be sure to get on a tour lead by an intern though!

I had a great vacation and feel like I spread a lot of information around to people, which feels great!  I am happy to be home and see that spring is trying to spring!  I got back to looking for recipes and cooking new dishes for myself.  This week  I made a spring soup and a chicken dish; the only thing I changed in the chicken dish (that I think made the dish) was that I marinated the chicken in Organicville teriyaki sauce (which normally, I am not crazy about the lack of flavor) and added a little extra to the asparagus and chicken mixture.   And I’m already one recipe ahead for next week!  (Mostly because I was supposed to make it this week but didn’t)  I’m going to try Italian Pot Pies (with grass-fed beef, of course!)


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Recipe Chefs on March 17, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Excellent recipe. Thanks for sharing this post. I really enjoy reading your blog. Feel free to check out our recipes.

    Recipe Chefs –


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