Category Archives: Uncategorized

Pace Virtual Farmers Market

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There has been a farmers market right under my nose for almost a whole year, and I just discovered it.

I attended for the first time last Thursday, not quite sure what to expect.

Pace Virtual Farmers Market

I certainly didn’t expect so many people. The market was crowded when I arrived a few minutes after 6 p.m.

Many order their specific items throughout the week, so I was a bit concerned that I would feel a bit out-of-place because I hadn’t ordered anything ahead of time. However, once I got there and started looking at the displays I felt like I was at a regular market.

This market started simply as a way for locals to get fresh vegetable shares and has grown over the last year to include vendors with meat, eggs, baked goods, jams, crafts, cheese, soaps, and many other items. Members of their  facebook page can order specific items throughout the week, then pick their items up at the Thursday evening market behind the Relevant Life Church on Hwy 90 between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

I think the pre-ordering process makes it easier for those who are baking and preparing specific foods to reduce waste.

patty pan squash in a basket

Lazy K Farm was there, with an assortment of squash, potatoes, onions, and REAL tomatoes.

Cherokee Purple tomato

Look at this beautiful ‘Cherokee Purple’ tomato!

Rapture Indulgences at Pace Virtual Farmers Market

I sniffed some soy candles, including one that reminded me of a Creamsicle. Andrea also sells these and other items in her etsy shop.

Pace Virtual Farmers Market

I met Amanda from Buttered Biscuits, and I was fascinated by the varieties of jams, jellies, and sauces that she had to offer. Her watermelon jelly won 2nd place at the Santa Rosa County Fair.

She also told me about her Monkey Butter, which was a 1st place winner. She told me that it had pineapple, coconut, bananas… Yum! No wonder she was sold out of it.

Kiwi Blood Orange Marmalade

The jar of Kiwi Blood Orange Marmalade sounded yummy, so I bought a jar. It’s a little embarrassing how much is gone already.

I love to make jam (especially if it’s an easy recipe, like Two Ingredient Strawberry Jam), but sometimes it’s nice to let someone else make the jam for you. 🙂

For more information about this market, you can visit their blog here, or ask to join their facebook group here.

I’m excited about their SUPER market coming up this Thursday, June 11. It is in celebration of the market’s one year anniversary and will be open 4:30-7:30 p.m.This market will include a raffle drawing with many prizes, including a $200 shopping spree to the market.

I get so excited about farmers markets, don’t you?

North Florida Gardening: June To-Do List

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I love to see progress in the garden! There has been much growth since last month and it is exciting to harvest new crops.

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The shed bed is growing nicely. Blueberry bushes to the left are adjusting nicely, and the tomatoes hopefully will produce well. I thinned the okra and mulched it with compost. I’m hoping to make lots of my No Slime Okra as a side dish this summer. Patch of bush beans coming along too. Hopefully will be able to harvest bundles of basil again; I love it as homemade pesto. Might try making my own dried Italian spice mix too.

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This garden is loving the sunshine. I have a cucumber vine almost to the top of the privacy fence.

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Harvested the first tomatoes of the season on May 28, many more behind them.

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These Roma tomatoes have a date with spaghetti later. 🙂

corn with zinnia

I love how the zinnias look around the corn. Knee high by the fourth of July? Ha! I hope to be harvesting by then. Yay for Florida gardening!

My goals for this month:

  1. Keep up with the weeding. Last year I wrote about why I mulch, and one of the main reasons is to reduce weeding.
  2. Mulch the weeded areas so I don’t have to weed there again!
  3. Plant Fordhook lima beans.
  4. Make some amazing refrigerator pickles!!!!! YAY!! The cucumbers are producing and it is time for pickles!!

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Are you ready for a pop quiz?

Which of these zucchini flowers is the boy and which one is the girl? For a hint, you can reference my post on why squash may wrinkle and shrivel up instead of actually producing a squash.

The squash vine borers have shown up already, but I hope I will still get more squash.

Happy gardening!

A Tribute to My Grandpa

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Today we say goodbye to my Grandpa, a sweet man with a quick sense of humor.

When my dad asked me if there was anything that I wanted from his house, my main request was for cuttings from two particular plants.

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This friendly vine is from a renegade vine that had climbed up a tree in his backyard. This vine had grown so rampantly that it encircled the tree with a radius of at least 6 feet and had some leaves as large as dinner plates! From this tree hung a little swing enjoyed by his grandchildren and great-grandchild.

This is not just a houseplant beginning to grow, it is a part of my memories.

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This is the lone cutting that rooted from many of its kind brought back for me. I have never wanted a cutting to root as badly as this one. It is from a patch growing on the side of his house in the backyard. I don’t know if my Grandma planted it on purpose, or if it was an escaped houseplant that thrived in its shady South Florida microclimate.

it may be just a rooted cutting to you, but I can still see where it grew and imagine the lizards scurrying though the lush growth.

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I still remember many fun times with my jokester of a Grandpa. He loved to go fishing, and to take his grandchildren out on the Everglades to fish. Ice cream cups were stashed in the freezer, and gummy orange slices were hidden o the top shelf of  the dishwasher. When we would tell him that we were coming to visit, he’d joke about having to kick the Cuban renters out. He would groan good-naturedly when we called to tell him that we were on the Ronald Reagan turnpike, as he was a Democrat. (Shhh… don’t tell his union buddies, but he actually voted for him twice!) He loved sweets, and this grandchild in particular has that trait too.

To my knowledge, this hard-working carpenter never made a million, but there is many a millionaire who would gladly write you a check for twice that to have wonderful children or a loving marriage – this man had both.

He wasn’t a veteran, but his son is.

He wasn’t an influential, highly successful business person, but his daughter is.

In the end, he had what matters most: God, a loving family, and a good reputation.

He is so missed.

I am a gardener who believes that the miracle of life in the regeneration of a cutting is just one of many created by my God. My God made man, who then sinned and brought death. Redemption from sin’s punishment, Hell, could only be purchased by a sinless One. The only possible Redeemer was God’s Son, Jesus.

He had to be the one to die on a cross, be buried, and rise again to purchase the gift of Heaven for whomever would receive it.

My Grandpa realized that his good life could not merit such a priceless gift as Heaven, it was free for the asking.

Today, because of him receiving God’s forgiveness, my Grandpa is celebrating in Heaven with his Savior and with his beloved wife.

So today I sorrow, but not without hope.

Today I weep, but not for him.

Today I mourn for our loss of a devoted father and loving Grandpa.

I have the promise from God that one day I will see him again. Maybe he’ll take me fishing.

Until then, I have these precious plants and a host of precious memories.

August To-Do List

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August To-Do List

Did you know that in North Florida, fall planting is as busy as spring? In fact, many of the spring crops (beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers) can be planted again!

Here’s how my garden is doing and my plans for this month.

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The summer showers and sweltering heat have finally taken their toll on many of my spring plants. However, the herbs, green beans, and ‘Marketmore’ cucumbers are doing well by the shed.

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I have moved many of my herbs from my pallet potting bench to the shadier garden, as the summer’s heat was drying them out too quickly.

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I ripped up the tomato jungle, but took some cuttings from the ‘Roma’,’Super Sweet 100′, and ‘Brandywine Pink” tomato plants for propagating. I am rooting them in water, as the heat seems to be a bit oppressive now for rooting them outside. I have a post about how to root tomatoes in this post.

The cucumbers are done. They exceeded my expectations, while the tomatoes in general underperformed.

The sweet potatoes are running, the new row of okra has buds, and I have a cantaloupe and watermelon ripening,

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It is a little strange to be preparing in the heat for fall/winter crops when sweater weather is a distant memory, but I will sweat while starting seeds for crops that will likely taste the best after a light frost. The best source that I have found for vegetable planting times in Florida is here.

So what is on my to-do list?

  1. Plant more green beans.
  2. Start broccoli, cauliflower,collards, and cucumbers. More fall crops can be started next month too.
  3. Make pesto. I transplanted the basil cuttings that I rooted, so hopefully I will be able to make some to freeze. It is a vibrant addition to winter spaghetti sauce.
  4. Stuff and roast banana peppers. Anyone have a favorite recipe?

Not too busy, the heat of summer is when I tend to let what I have done in spring do its thing. I haven’t had to do much weeding, even after pulling up the tomato plants. Less weeding is the main reason why I mulch.

Oops, almost forgot. I hope to try my first ground cherry this month too. The plant is from some seeds that I got for free, and I am so excited to try them! One of my big goals for this year was to grow fruit, and I really hope this plant succeeds.

How is your garden? Did you have a crop that exceeded your expectations?