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Local Produce at Lakeland Farmer’s Market

A BIG Thank you to all that continue to support our farm, local markets and local communities!!And another Big Thank you to the Florida Southern students in Enactus that brought the Fresh From Florida/Snap Program to our market and will now be purchasing surplus produce and more from vendors to distribute to the elderly at a nominal cost…You are the greatest *:x lovestruck
~~Another beautiful Saturday coming up in Lakeland!  Ecofarm will be bringing a big load of beautiful mixed Kales, heirloom collards, Arugula (yes, I realized that we have one more small patch of new plants ready to start harvesting), Red Giant Mustards (wasabi flavor!); more Savoy cabbages, luscious carrots with tops, green onions, Beets with tops, Red radishes, Green onions and more!  The bad news is that the strawberries are not producing a lot right now, so we may not have many–or any–for Saturday.  They are blooming like crazy, so if the weather holds out we should have more soon. Home-grown berries can produce for much longer than the commercial & conventional berries; mainly because the price falls to nothing after the Strawberry Festival and growers can’t afford to pay for help, equipment, housing, chemicals, etc.  No worries; we’re just a teeny farm and we pick berries until there aren’t any more. Most of the tomato vines look dead; but we STILL got a load of cherry tomatoes this week and will have Sungold & Yellow Pear Cherry tomatoes. I’ve been forgetting to mention our tasty, colorful & nutritious Nasturtium Flowers that we’ve been bringing for a few weeks (picked and in plastic cartons ready to eat); they are beautiful on salads, sandwiches or just for snacks. Also, we’ll be digging most of the rest of our sweet potatoes for the market and will have three of the best varieties out there; our own EcoRed Sweet potatoes, Thai Purple–which has a very pale skin & sweet orange flesh–and a totally purple sweet potato that is less sweet and more like an Irish potato. All three are lovely in mixed potato salads, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, chopped with greens in a stirfry and more!
~~Have you tried our Farmers’ cheeses? We are trying to do better with consistency and have come up with a delish spreadable cheese with a hint of calamondin (citrus) that works well on sandwiches, pizzas, etc. Also a curd cheese that we have decided to leave plain that is good many ways (see below); both also melt well. * Since these raw products have to be labeled for pet consumption we regret that we cannot legally give out samples. Last week we sold out of butter, buttermilk and the smaller size of Calamondin Cheese & plain curd Cheese, so we will have more of those this week (except only one buttermilk, as we use it so fast); as well as kefir and fresh raw milk.
~~We’ve picked up 50lbs of seed potatoes and will soon be planting a crop of ‘Pontiac’ red-skinned potatoes for a late spring harvest.  These are very good potatoes for Florida and the ones we usually grow.  I have also thrown in the towel and decided that I have to have a Facebook page for the market so that we can show off pictures of our fantastic produce, water buffalo and people. While there are many Ecofarms listed on Facebook, ours will be the only one in Plant City.  You may run across one that a friend created a couple of years ago just to post pictures of our cane syruping event.  Stay tuned, I am pretty new at this and keep wishing for a class entitled ‘Facebook for Dummies’.

~~Raw Water Buffalo Milk & other ‘Pet Consumption’ *;) winking products (ask us if you don’t know what this means): We have a long-term WWOOFer (Willing Workers On Organic Farms), Halimat (Hal-ee’-ma) here for the past month and she has been experimenting with various cheeses and other Ecofarm Products, so look out for some new flavors in the future. Right now we have good Farmers Cheese(great on pizzas, salads, casseroles, etc.), Kefir, buttermilk (best for cooking; the fluffiest pancakes ever!), unsalted creamy white butter;  and of course Raw Milk, which is still on sale for $8/half gal. (reg. $9) or $15/gal. It’s always helpful to pre-order the raw dairy products if possible (

~~For our complete availability list (except for last minute items) and information on where to find eggs and home-raised pork, check the bottom of this email.

~~Thanks for your support!!  See you at the Market Saturday *:) happy If in doubt about the market being open when you’re ready to come text or call me at 813-763-4893 (please, this is for market days only, this is a personal phone).

~~We are always happy to take your used, clean plastic bags and green pint baskets that strawberries come in…Please remember to bring them to us this week…Thanks!
~~ Italian ischia sourdough starter

and Pizza dough, ready to use right away–active and ready to use (please pre-order this a week before so it can be activated) $9. Also, let me know ahead of time and we can have a Kombucha ‘mother’  available for making your own brew (also $9).

~~Raw Water Buffalo Milk sales: We have decided to stick with the plastic half gallon containers @$9 and a convenient quart size plastic container for $5. If you would prefer quart or half gallon wide mouth glass containers there will be a $1& $2 deposit to cover the cost of the jars and you will need to let us know ahead of time by email. Kefir only comes in quart sized jars ($8 or $7 with a wide-mouth quart jar). Butter comes in 8 oz. plastic containers for $8. Remember, this is for ‘Pet Consumption Only’ by Florida law. Your ‘Pet’ will be eating like royalty 🙂

~~We grow everything organically; all ‘chemicals’ are OMRI approved for Organic growers and our fertilizers consist of composted manures (buffalo and more) and fish emulsion. We are not Certified Organic as the cost and ongoing paperwork is prohibitive for ‘real’ farmers–and there are too many variances allowed for Corporate Organic farms.

Ecofarm is currently able to participate in only one market with super fresh, organically grown produce (not Certified) and other farm products for your convenience:

Lakeland Downtown Farmers Curbmarket Saturdays 8AM-2PM all year except August. We are located on Kentucky Avenue in front of Crispers restaurant. Check out the market website at

 and sign-up for the market e-newsletter. Dogs, children and fun galore!

Temple Terrace Farmers Market – Saturdays 9AM-1:00PM – A true Farmers Market – For more information check it out at:


Note: We have been providing some of our produce to this market and will continue to increase our support. 

~~The Lakeland Downtown Farmers Curbmarket is now taking your EBT/SNAP cards; and you can double your dollars by purchasing Florida grown produce & honey!! There are about 25 of us selling honey, cane syrup, cottage industry foods, produce, breads, seeds, edible plants and more that qualifies for SNAP; and about six of us that can double your money with our produce, thanks to the Fresh from Florida program. There will be a booth set up somewhere in the market to explain the process and where you can purchase tokens. Vendors participating in the program will have a sign in front of their booths. In addition, you can ride the bus free in Polk County to come to our market and participate in this program. Please pass the word!
We regret that we cannot currently take pre-orders (unless/until we get more help!) except for pickups here at the farm, and for raw milk products. We are located just north of Plant City. Email us at

 for information on farm pickups.


Following are some of the products we may be bringing to the market this week:
Super-Nutra Loaf – Fresh weekly; full of seeds & nuts 
Pesto! Various Seasonal ingredients – great for seafood, pasta, potatoes and more!
Mixed hot peppers; may include Filipino, Thai, Cheyenne, Cherry bomb & jalapeno
Florida Red-Bay leaves – use like other dried bay leaves in soups, beans, etc. Ready next week
Sweet Potatoes – 2 types available!
Strawberries! – our own organically grown, luscious strawberries -small supply
Tropical Pumpkins – A few huge and small pumpkins are available
Green onions – Nice!
Swiss Chard – a few bundles of colorful Bright Lights variety
Turnips and Rutabagas – in-between crops
Lettuces – good supply of 4 types
Parsley – not this week
Nasturtium flowers – beautiful, tasty & nutritious; for your salads & more!
Arugula – good supply
Cilantro! – a few nice bundles
Carrots – beautiful, with or without tops–which are also good to eat
Beets – small beets with nice tops; it’s all good
Savoy cabbages – Beautiful as a centerpiece! Good raw, cooked, fermented or as wraps or cabbage rolls
Wild lambsquarters – super nutritious wild winter greens that work well as a spinach sub.
Red Radishes –  radishes for your salads – only a couple bundles

Kale – Mixed varieties, large beautiful bundles this week; and ‘dino’ kale

Mustard Greens – Florida Broadleaf mixed with Red Giant – beautiful! Good Supply
Cherry tomatoes – mostly Sungold and some Yellow Pear heirloom
Heirloom Turkish Tomatoes – watch for a new supply in late spring
Collards – heirloom varieties; Alabama Blue, Florida Variegated, and ‘Morris Heading’ – tender & delicious!

Homemade jams made with very little sugar (organic)   cattley guava, Loquat/ginger, strawberry/basil, peach & Fig

Pure Cane syrup – Yes!  Give our own local, sustainable sweetness a try; not just for pancakes
Luffa seed packets – not currently available
Luffa sponges & Ornamental Gourds-
Java Planet Coffees (whole bean, Organic, Fair Trade, Shade Grown & Bird Friendly!)

~~If you’ve been looking for Peg Campbell, Barefoot Creek, she is still hosting many gardening and other classes at their farm, so drop her a line at   AquaOrganics is at the market  with their produce and a great variety of other produce for resale,  Erendiera always has a nice selection of produce for resale, often has eggs, and has been a cornerstone of the market since the get-go.
~~Have you been looking for some reasonably priced, farm-raised Pork? Let me connect you with Tara at Green Eggs ‘N Ham!  We’ve been eating her sausage, porkchops, pork steaks, have some ribs in the freezer, and recently ate one of her smoked hams for Christmas dinner–Awesome!  I made an amazing meatloaf with her sausage and our ground water buffalo meat last month, and we enjoy her sausage for breakfast regularly–simply the best! Tara says that when she runs out of pork it can take a couple of weeks to re-inventory, so it’s best to place orders ahead of time.  You can reach Tara or 813-716-6030.  Texting will get a quicker reply than email…enjoy!
~~Becky’s Organic Eggs are now at the Dixieland Market on Thursdays (new location and day) 5-8PMat the Waller Center, 1065 S. Florida Avenue. You can call or text Becky at 863-669-6559 to preorder. Note: Please call Becky regarding location & time of pickups; apparently the market has not found a new place yet; but she is still delivering.

Thanks for supporting local farmers, artists, musicians and craftspeople!

Debbie, Jon, Halimat, Omah & Billy plus C.J. & Hayley–the kiddies that inspire us
Ecofarmers do it in the dirt!

Local Farmers Perspective on Cuba

Sustainable Living Show, September 7, 2009

We started with Cliff Brown, a Temple Terrace horticulturist, talking about a project to rebuild the old bat tower in Temple Terrace.

Our next guest was my brother, Karl Butts. Karl took a trip to Cuba in 2000 with a group of American small farmers. He talked about Cuba’s transition to one of the most agriculturally sustainable in the world. Then the conversation took on the issues of organic verses conventional farming practices and some of the basics of growing vegetables.

Click Here for Podcast

Solar Electric Systems for Homes

Sustainable Living Show on WMNF 88.5 FM, August 24, 2009

Our first guest was Jamie Trahan, a researcher at USF’s Clean Energy Research Center, CERC. She’s organizing Tampa Bay’s first ‘Solar Tour’ of homes and businesses. This will take place October 3, and you can contact Jamie at

Next we talked to a Hillsborough County resident who’s starting a solar installation project on his home using the southern, eastern and western portions of his roof to glue on his Thin-film Solar Modules. Pat’s using two power inverters to handle the different loads.

John Gambil, with HotWire Enterprises, and Chip and Delores Kelly, with CD Solar, joined the rest of the program talking about their solar homes and the work they do. They can be reached at

Click here for the podcast!

Tampa’s Green Certification for Businesses

Sustainable Living Show on WMNF 88.5FM
Topic: Green Business Certification
Guest: Jack Bevelaqua

This week on the Sustainable Living Show on WMNF Jon Butts interviews Jack Bevelaqua of the the Sustany Foundation who has been working with the City of  Tampa to create a Green Business Certification Program.  Jack answers questions from listeners about the program, which will launch September 1.

Also on this show, Dewey Davis-Thompson interviews Kaisa Bednarz from Environmental Compliance Services and also on the Sustany Board.

Click here for the podcast!