Brunch Honors Local Farmer; Highlights Local Restaurants
When the invitation says brunch will be served in a farm warehouse located on Flavor Pict road, it’s probably a safe bet that it’s going to be wonderful –and it was! In fact, it was so good that I’ll be returning to Savor Tonight to check out future culinary events in South Florida. Yesterday’s Memorial Day weekend brunch took place at Green Cay Farm, just off Hagen Ranch Road in the wetlands of Boynton Beach. Restaurants in the Palm Beach area sent chefs with their best dishes – “best” because they use Green Cay produce in their recipes.
The chefs, wearing galoshes as if they’d just been out in the surrounding fields, individually spoke to us on a microphone as summer rain pounded the warehouse we were collectively dining under, and thanked the farmers of Green Cay for making their great work possible. I think Nancy Roe, being honored that afternoon for a life spent growing delicious things, retirement on her horizon, had a tear in her eye.
About 100 people – made up of me, CSA and Slow Food members, turned out to honor Nancy and Charlie Roe, managing farmers at this beautiful Boynton Beach farm. It was a rain or shine event, housed under the production warehouse roof, with mason jars full of fresh flowers and plate after plate of farm-to-table food.
I ate buttermilk biscuits with cured ham from Café Boulud; homemade Italian sausage on a bed of Green Cay lettuce and herbs from Red Splendor and a “Green Cay Salad” from Angle that introduced me to cucamelon. When I bit into this salad, savoring it from my head “tomatoes” (I cannot resist a food pun!), I noted this pickled, cucumber tomato-ish taste turned out to be the cucamelon grown at Green Cay; these fruits look like tiny watermelons, and I can’t wait to buy some at the next farmer’s market. I shared a link to Jorj’s Scrumptious Possibilities Group on Facebook, so anyone else who’s interested knows what to look for. Other highlights from the brunch included “Tortilla Espanola” from Oceana – a big, thick potato pie with layers of buttery, herby potatoes, washed down with Oceana coffee and basil lemonade. I enjoyed heirloom succotash from Buccan. Everything I ate that day had a luscious cream sauce, and sharp garden hints of cilantro, parsley, jalapeno and most special of all, purple basil! Dessert was cream based, as the dairy farmer had used her grandmother’s yogurt recipe – and with it, the restaurants I mentioned folded in wild Florida blueberries.
I ran into a friend at the rain or shine event, who learned of the brunch through the Slow Food group she belongs to – they were signing up new members, but I think I was even more excited about joining the farm community, and purchasing a box of fresh grown foods from Green Cay each month. You’d be surprised at how reasonable the rates are, especially if you’re willing to pick up the box from one of the farm’s many drop off points. That’s how I knew about Green Cay in the first place – not long after I began my employ with Jorj (in 2004!), I used to pick up her boxes in Boynton, and bring them back to her in Ft. Lauderdale. It was well worth the trip –she’d make the most amazing salads from those boxes. There are a lot of perks to being a foodie! I encourage you to check out the restaurants bolded in this piece, or sign up for community supported agriculture (CSA) at a farm near you!