Orlando is making it easier to bike around town. One new feature are the new bike repair stations throughout Orlando that include air pumps, screwdrivers, wrenches, tire tools, etc.
Bike repair stations around Orlando
Bike Repair Stations around Orlando: Cady Way Trail near Herndon Avenue; Orlando Urban Trail near Ferris Avenue and Lake Highland Drive; east end of Lake Underhill Path near boat ramp; and the city parking garage behind City Hall, downtown.
Juice Bike Sharing: Great way to get around town
You can’t miss them they are everywhere and bright orange.
There is nothing better than seeing lots of groups of renters on Orlando City Soccer or Magic Game Days, big events downtown, heading to Sunday brunch, etc.
Granola is great to have ready to go in the kitchen. It’s great by itself, on ice cream, yogurt, mixed with your favorite cereal, take some on a hike or for a work snack – really the possibilities are limitless. You can also make it seasonal, based on what you have in the kitchen already or just based on the flavors you like. We made this one into an autumn-y blend, just for fun! Feel free to adapt as you would like. We used almonds and walnuts as our nut blend, but peanuts or cashews work just as well. It’s best to use the raw versions, if they are already roasted they will burn in the oven. The chia seeds, flax meal (or flax seeds), cinnamon, nutmeg, and sweet potato puree are all things we had already and wanted to use. Other good ingredient options are coconut, raisins, craisins, or any kind of dried fruit, be it mango, pineapple, banana, or apple. Follow your heart!
sweet potato puree – ½ cup, which is less than one sweet potato
oats – 3 cups
almonds & walnuts – 1.5 cups, chopped coarsely
chia seeds – 2 tbsp
flax meal – 2 tbsp
coconut sugar (can also use white or cane sugar) – 3 tbsp
kosher salt (or sea salt) – ¼ tbsp
cinnamon – ½ tbsp
nutmeg – ¼ tsp
coconut oil – ¼ cup, melted (we used unrefined, it has less coconut flavor)
maple syrup – 1/3 cup (agave works also, but doesn’t have that yummy maple flavor!)
zante currants – ¼ cup
To make the sweet potato puree: Bake a whole sweet potato at 375 degrees until tender. Let cool, scoop out flesh, and puree in your blender. Any extra can of course be eaten!
For granola: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients except currants (or any dried fruit & raisins) – nuts, seeds, oats, salt, spices, sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together the sweet potato puree, maple syrup, and coconut oil. Combine into one bowl, and mix them together thoroughly. Spread the mixture into an even single layer on two baking sheets. Cook for 10 minutes, then rotate and switch shelves, also add currants or dried fruit on top at this point. Back in the oven for 10-15 more minutes. Check frequently to make sure it’s not burning – it should be toasted and dried out, but not burnt. When finished, remove from oven and let cool until room temperature, then transfer to your desired container. This will last at least a week at room temp, or you can freeze some to last longer, up to six months.
Mixing everything together ensures consistency in flavor.
Ready for the oven!
Now, some crunchy granola to add some energy to your day!
Parts used: Flowers and berries in modern herbal medicine, all parts historically.
Action: The flowers are a wonderful diaphoretic! Fevers are the body’s way of fighting off infections, so we don’t always want to lessen a fever, unless it’s either too high or has been going on too long. For a fever they’re beautiful in a tea or even in the bath, but tinctures will work well too.
Elderberries are antiviral and are an immunomodulator, which means they help the body balance to whatever level of action the immune system needs to fight infections. The berries make a lovely tincture, syrup, or elixir (combination of the two!) to prevent infections, and when taken during acute infections can lessen the infection’s severity. You can dry the berries too and add them to teas, they’re in our Heart Chakra blend, as well as the Everyday Wellness!
Once you can identify elder, and are aware of its healing properties, you’ll see it everywhere! Highway ditches, roadside creeks, your backyard! It’s a shrub and not a tree, and if you see one in the wild you’ll probably see 50! It prefers wet feet, which is easy to get in rainy Florida, and as of the last few years has taken to flowering almost year round! We’re lucky to have an elder shrub growing in the Dandelion garden and it is one of the happiest cultivated elders around! Tall, prolific flowers and berries, and keeps both its neighboring human and bird population very happy (the birds eat the berries too!).
I love to use elder daily in the wintertime, when everyone around me is full of cooties. It makes a beautiful and delicious preventative drink, and is was from inspiration from the elder that created the Everyday Wellness herbal tea blend at Dandelion!
Elder really is a pharmacy within a plant, and a tasty one too! Please enjoy these links to learn more about elder from some brilliant teachers:
On this blog, The Dandelion Community is sharing stories from urban organic farmers to help those who want to add fresh vegetables to their daily meals at home, and those who are thinking about going even bigger by contributing to local restaurants, co-ops, and famers’ markets.
Photo Caption: Mint growing in soil at Southern Urban Gardens. They trim often to ensure continuous growth throughout the year.
The biggest challenges associated with organic urban gardening include finding space to grow enough food to feed a family. Much like gardeners all over the world, they must also find a way to cope with local environmental conditions such as weather and access to clean water and soil.
Photo Caption: Constantly developing seedlings is necessary to support the growth needed to grow daily vegetables for meals.
Here is a story of Ralph Holweck and Gail Tyree from Southern Urban Gardens in Orlando, Florida. They have been organic gardening seriously for several years and have found solutions for overcoming the challenges of space, heat, water, and soil, so they can produce vegetables for their own table and grow enough extra vegetables to supply two local co-ops.
Photo Caption: Organic aeroponic “Tower Garden” used by Southern Urban Gardens supports their family and two local co-ops with leafy vegetables throughout the year.
Gail and Ralph currently combine an aeroponic growing system and soil-based gardening to get the best results. Ralph and Gail spent a lot of time researching the best methods of urban gardening and started out slowly so they would not get overwhelmed and quit. They continue to find better ways to get more vegetables within the small space of their backyard.
Photo Caption: Ralph and Gail found suitable organic seeds to grow healthy and great tasting bell peppers in their tower garden.
They made a decision to use their tower garden for the steady production of leafy vegetables as it reduces the amount of space needed and is easy enough to manage without needing a greenhouse. Finding the right varieties of vegetables that will grow in the heat and tower garden is a challenge. However, Gail and Ralph learned that urban gardening is a lot like the rest of life. You have good days with wonderful leafy vegetables for a daily salad. Then, there are bad days in which the heat is too much for the seedlings they choose to plant that week. Or, to know how to have enough seedlings growing constantly so you will enjoy vegetables daily.
Yet, Ralph and Gail seem to thrive on these little challenges and find ways to make it work. They both agree that there is nothing better than having organic vegetables to set upon their table day in and day out.
To accommodate the heat in Orlando, Gail and Ralph have added a reflective gardening shade cloth over the towers. They found that it is worth the extra money, in comparison, to the performance of typical gardening shade covers.
Photo Caption: Gail and Ralph invested in reflective gardening shades in order to be able to grow veggies throughout the summer.
Gail and Ralph put a lot of effort towards developing the right soil mixture to grow additional plants that are not suited for the tower gardens. Due to the unusual heat throughout October of this year, Southern Urban Gardens has just started to plant additional vegetables in the soil area of the garden. This area in their yard is finally seeing the cooler nights that are the right temperature for growing in soil. They are looking forward to digging in the soil and seeing what varieties of vegetables successfully grow this year, as compared to last year.
Photo caption for the two images below: Gail loves nothing better than walking out in the soil section of their garden, in the morning, to find the red cranberry hibiscus in full bloom. Days like this make the work seem more like a labor of love.
Ralph and Gail of Southern Urban Gardens are more than willing to share their stories of urban farming and show you how you can benefit by using a mix of aeroponic systems and soil gardening to enjoy fresh, organic vegetables almost every day of the year. Southern Urban Gardens sell the “Tower Garden” (by Juice Plus) systems. We (**or Dandelion**) purchased a system from them and Ralph and Gail were extremely helpful in educating and helping us get setup to have a running start. If you’re interested in organic hydroponic gardening, contact Southern Urban Gardens through Ralph at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call at (407) 247-3843.
Mark made this dish for us in Colorado after another day of hiking. This is a beautiful fall weather dish! (Even if you’re in Florida and it’s not cold!)
1 lb box whole wheat pasta
1 butternut squash, cubed
5 tbsp EVOO
½ white onion, chopped
1/3 cup flour
1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp rosemary
dash red chili flakes
dash of sage
nutmeg to taste if desired
salt & pepper to taste
Place 2/3 of the cubed squash into a medium/large pot, cover with water, and lightly salt. Boil until tender enough to puree.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan, simmer chopped onions, 3 tbsp EVOO, salt, bay leaf, 2 pinches of rosemary, red chili flakes, and black pepper. Sweat until onions are translucent.
While these are cooking, toss remaining 1/3 of cubed squash in 2 tbsp EVOO, salt, pepper, and remaining rosemary, then place on an oiled baking sheet. Cook in 400 degree oven until browned, flipping once.
When the pot of squash is done boiling, drain, then cook for a few more minutes on low heat to evaporate excess water, then transfer to the blender. Puree until smooth, set aside.
Start cooking pasta al dente.
In the pan of onion blend, add flour and whisk thoroughly until moisture is soaked up. Let this cook for a few minutes until light brown. Whisk in almond milk. Bring to a strong simmer, stirring often, until it thickens. Careful not to burn! Once it thickens, add pinch more salt, a dash of sage, and the pureed squash, mix, then take off the heat. If desired, add nutmeg to taste. This should be the consistency of an alfredo sauce.
Put sauce, roasted squash cubes, and drained pasta into a mixing bowl, then stir until coated. Put into oiled baking dish, top with cheese (vegan or dairy). Cover with foil, bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Uncover, cook for additional 10 minutes. Then switch to broil to brown the cheese for approximately 3 minutes.
This pairs well with a nice light salad and a fireplace!
While we were in Colorado, we went on a truly gorgeous hike to Emerald Lake in the Rockies. It was an all day excursion, and while we did bring snacks, we were ready for a hearty dinner when we got back home. Mark whipped us up this ridiculously good stew, and it really hit the spot.
4 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1 medium white onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
rosemary, to taste
2 tbsp EVOO
salt, to taste
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cans cannelini beans, drained
1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and chopped
crushed red pepper, to taste
Lightly simmer EVOO, salt, carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves, and rosemary until onions are soft, stirring occasionally. Then add garlic, crushed red pepper, diced tomatoes, and beans. Stir. Mix in veg broth, then kale, stir. Bring to a full boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add more veg broth if desired. Simmer at least until kale is tender, but the longer it simmers, the more the flavors come out.
Inperennially water-starved Patagonia, Arizona, just 18 miles from the Mexico border, Gary Nabhan, well known as an author and ethnobotanist, farms a worldly array of desert crops that could make any food lover salivate. The harvest, more than 120 varieties strong, includes Sonoran pomegranates, Baja California Mission guavas, Winter Banana apples, amaranth, asparagus, globe artichokes, and even an arid-friendly Texas Mission variety of the infamously thirsty almond. His 5-acre farm, which he manages with his wife Laurie Monti, a medical anthropologist and professor of indigenous studies, grows these foods on precious little water — about 17 inches of rainfall a year, a dollop compared with the US-wide average of 28 inches.
Blending thousand-year-old desert crop varieties with water-saving approaches and farming techniques inherited from Moorish Spain, Africa, and indigenous North America, Nabhan’s modest arid plot offers a glimpse of how we could sustain ourselves in an era of chronic drought and increasing climate chaos.
A drought-friendly dinner “isn’t going to be any less delicious,” says Nabhan. Shifting what we eat could, in his view, mean a scrumptious revolution. During a phone conversation, Nabhan ticked off a tasty menu of other drought-friendly options: sea beans, Mesquite carob (good for diabetes), pistachios, figs, tepary beans, pigeon peas, quinoa, and soups and stews made with prickly pear cacti instead of the more water-intensive bell peppers.
In equally arid northern New Mexico, famed chef and author Deborah Madison surveys a hardscrabble terrain and sees another lush menu of possibilities. The Greens Restaurant founder, always scouting for new sustainable recipes in the garden and the kitchen, points to foods that “we are already familiar with, but haven’t tried growing as much” in recent times: Sonoran wheat. Quinoa. Red orach. Rattlesnake beans. Zucchini in multiple varieties.
One reason Nabhan is such a fan of these obscure food plants is that they’re adaptable. Like any plant, they like water; but when water grows scarce, these plants have natural methods of storing it, or thriving without it. Not so with the miles and miles of lettuce, strawberries, and other crops such as wheat (at least the modern varieties) that dominate the Western diet.
In California, the source of a full two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts, one-third of its vegetables, and nearly 20 percent of its dairy products, growers’ response to drought has centered largely on water conservation measures such as drip irrigation.
But Craig McNamara, the President of the state’s Board of Food and Agriculture, argues, “We’re going to have to change what’s for dinner.” Bespectacled and chiseled with a straight-combed silver mane, McNamara, who farms 450 acres of organic walnuts and olives in Winters, California, bears a striking resemblance to his father Robert, the former defense secretary who steered military offensives in the Vietnam War. Today, McNamara worries that California’s drought could topple the state’s agricultural primacy. “For the first time, I’m tremendously worried about where we are…I’ve never felt we are closer to collapse than I do today.”
Despite the “beyond painful” drought crisis, McNamara says the conversation about shifting crops is still at a whisper: “I’m not sure how much this is getting to farmers.”
About 180 miles south of Davis, near the town of Madera in the gut of San Joaquin Valley, organic vegetable farmer Tom Willey sees market signals pointing farmers toward more thirsty crops, not fewer. “I don’t see a headlong rush to more water-saving crops.” Even as the drought deepens and water supplies disappear, Willey says many growers are still moving into almonds, which have been much vilified lately for their heavy water demands (roughly a gallon per nut). In fairness, it should be noted that much of today’s almond acreage used to grow cotton, which is one of the plant world’s biggest water hogs. So while almonds do use a lot of water, California at least traded T-shirts for more protein.
On his 75-acre patch of land, Willey has a little more flexibility than the average farmer. He produces a “seasonal progression” of row crops — annual vegetable varieties such as squash, leafy greens, and peppers that can be shifted depending on weather, water and market demands. “We can act and react much easier than farmers with permanent crops” such as fruit and nut orchards, Willey explains.
The Drought’s Opportunities
On his small homestead farm in San Juan Batista, sustainable agriculture educator Jim Leap produced a prodigious harvest this year of dry-farm beans, corn, winter squash, and tomatoes on just 10 inches of rain (and no irrigation). Leap, who for 21 years managed a research farm at the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, points out, “I can’t superimpose that on farmers who are trying to make a living.”
Prior to the 1950s, when sprawling irrigation canal projects and increasingly globalized markets took hold, the Golden State produced a very different bounty — grains, sugar beets, potatoes, beans, dry-farmed apples. With the rise of California’s massive agricultural aqueducts came access to cheap irrigation water, which, coupled with lucrative new export markets, spawned an array of thirsty specialty crops. At present, there is no fast track back toward more drought-tolerant harvests.
Absent sweeping policy changes, more and more small farmers are bucking the trends. And, in this case, “the market” is leading the way. Thomas Nelson, who analyzes sustainable food markets for the UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, notices a growing interest among chefs and farmers in harvesting drought-tolerant wild greens such as miner’s lettuce, wild mustard, bristly ox tongue, and black locust flowers. They may sound obscure, but these foods are increasingly popular among professional foragers and chefs at up-market restaurants.
“The market has a really push-pull dynamic,” he says. “One reason almonds have grown so big is because there was a big marketing push behind them. It becomes a self-perpetuating system.” Well, the same could be true for drought-tolerant heirlooms and other dry-farm fruits and vegetables. As Nelson points out, the booming niche market for heirloom tomatoes and salad mixes was just a glimmer 25 years ago.
Going dry and small
Back in the eternally dry Southwest, famed sustainable-foods chef and author Deborah Madison sees progress on the margins. “Some people are definitely starting to look at [shifting to water-saving crops]. Every agriculture conference I go to ties into these issues,” she says — “but I don’t think it’s happening fast enough.”
Much of the solution, says Madison, who founded Greens Restaurant (one of the nation’s premier vegetarian venues), lies in “hyper-local” farming systems that can provide a diverse food supply with greater adaptability to climate chaos. “The solutions depend on lots of hands, and smaller farms,” she says, and smaller economies of scale that enable attention to detail. “A lot of the changes we need, I don’t think big agriculture can do it.”
From his rain-deprived vantage point near the Mexico border, Nabhan makes a compelling case for scaling up desert crop varieties and time-tested farming techniques. What’s especially compelling to Nabhan is that these are not new ideas. The challenge, he says, is to “make certain that we don’t grow these in monocultures as we’ve done with other crops.”
Sparkle is an outdoor event featuring unique, talented, CF artists and their handmade goods. Come peruse the best hand made jewelry, organic body products, pottery and much more. This premier event takes place on Dec 6, 2015, at Dandelion Communitea Cafe. Eat well and shop handmade! This event has free parking. Follow the Facebook event page and invite your friends: Sparkle Facebook Page
FRESH STARTS COOKING CAMP 2015 will give you some great ideas. Starts on Tuesday November 3rd at 7pm for a total of 6 classes.
Join Chef Amy, graduate of The Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC and Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in this cooking series to learn how to prepare fresh, healthy, seasonal and organic meals. In each session you will learn about whole organic food and how to prepare it. Each class will include recipes for you take home along with resources on where to find the best quality food. These classes will guide you to become a seasoned home chef ready to prepare what’s growing locally in your neighborhood.
Testimonials from past Campers:
“Amy is the perfect instructor for this series of classes. She moves easily between conversation and demonstration to share her knowledge of nutrition and cooking technique. We all have heard the message that healthy and delicious food choices and preparation are accessible to all of us but Amy will inspire you to actually revise your grocery list and make changes to your daily diet. Greens are great.”
“Amy is a wonderful, friendly, welcoming person. And with her training and experience, she is a very effective teacher and an efficient chef. Her recipes are simple but delicious. She loves answering questions about food and sharing kitchen tips, and you will learn a lot in her class. I know I did!”
“Chef Amy has changed my kitchen forever! My vegetables are no longer just boiled, and chopping them is faster and much more fun! Her recipes are delicious and serve as a great starting point, but her techniques are what make cooking even possible for me. The amount of time they save and the fun they bring get me in the kitchen and wanting to be creative!”
Session 1: Go Green. Chef Amy will kick start the series with an educational lecture on how to select quality ingredients. She will discuss the benefits of eating organically and the realities of how most of our food is produced. We will prepare seasonal dishes with local greens. Dishes may include depending on availability: bok choi, kale, collard greens, sorrel, spinach and Swiss chard.
Session 2: Somewhere Over the Rainbow of Vegetables. Chef Amy will explain how to select the freshest seasonal vegetables and the most nutritious ways to prepare them. Cutting and cooking techniques for fresh vegetables will be the focus. In this class, you will learn how to incorporate vegetables into every meal and snack of the day.
Session 3: Sea Vegetables Aren’t Just for Mermaids. Chef Amy will identify a variety of sea vegetables and discuss the powerful health benefits of incorporating them in your regular diet. We will create easy dishes and snacks from these trace mineral rich treats from the sea.
Session 4: The Great Whole Grain. Chef Amy will discuss what a whole grain is and the benefits of choosing whole grains over refined grains. We will identify a variety of whole grains including oats, quinoa, rice, amaranth, millet, freekah and farro. We will prepare whole grain dishes that may be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Session 5: The Perfect Plant Protein. Chef Amy will demonstrate the best ways to cook dried legumes. She will discuss the benefits of consuming legumes as a staple source of protein. We will cover how to create tasty dishes from our nutritious little seeds.
Session 6: Soups On! Chef Amy loves vegetable soup all year round. Its an easy meal, side dish or snack that you can make ahead of time and enjoy anytime of the day. We will learn how to make a fresh stock as a base for our homemade soup du jour.
Each class will include a health and recipe packet, sampling of the dishes we create and homemade beverages.
Tuesday ‘s from 7-9pm
no class week of Thanksgiving