food

Joan-Ellen Deck

For the rest of this year, we're bringing you holiday scenes from South Florida homes during the holidays. The snippets of international culture are little homages to our hometowns' diverse ways of celebrating the end of another year and all the holidays that heralds.

As I write this, there are just two shopping days left before Christmas. That is plenty of time to grab armfuls of Publix-brand eggnog, if that happens to be the tradition in your house.

John O'Connor / WLRN

Last spring, Miami-Dade students at 10 schools planted new food forests -- large gardens filled with kale, tomatoes, passion fruit and more.

Some of those crops are ready now, and giving away what’s grown in the garden has become a big weekly event.

At Twin Lakes Elementary School  in Hialeah, students listen as their teacher tells them how to find a sweet potato.

“So this is the leaf we’re looking for," she tells them. "You follow the vine to the root. And then you harvest your sweet potato. OK?”

Earlier this month, Wal-Mart trumpeted that it had beaten a goal it set five years ago: to open at least 275 stores in food deserts by 2016. That targeted expansion into "neighborhoods without access to fresh affordable groceries" came as part of the retailer's "healthier food initiative," lauded by — and launched with — First Lady Michelle Obama in 2011.

Florida agriculture officials have declared a state of emergency in Miami-Dade County, where an Oriental fruit fly infestation has the potential to attack hundreds of crops.

In a news release Tuesday, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said the first fruit fly was detected Aug. 26. Since then, 158 flies have been detected, many in the Redland area of the county.

Fruit flies lay eggs in fruits and vegetables. They're considered one of the world's most serious pests due to the potential economic harm. The fly attacks more than 430 different fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Marva Hinton / WLRN

The fall term begins Monday at Miami Dade College, and students on one campus will be able to take advantage of a special program to make sure their basic needs are met before classes start.

The college's north campus is teaming up with Farm Share, a nonprofit in Homestead that provides food to the needy, to give students free produce. The school also has a food pantry on campus where students can pick up non-perishable food items.

Steve Dolinsky

A cubano sandwich in Cuba? That might be hard to find. Food writer Steve Dolinsky says the sandwich was actually created in Florida.

But don't fret. There are many delicious culinary options available on the menus in La Havana. Black beans, rice, plantains, picadillo (a dish made of ground beef, olives and raisins) — you can have them all in Cuba. But Dolinsky has made some of his more surprising food discoveries in paladares — restaurants in people's homes.

The paladares started in the 1990s, when the Cuban government allowed private businesses to open.

Jason Howle / Flickr via https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

It's not only about shaming. Some restaurant owners and chefs in South Florida use their social media accounts to vent about competitors, try to locate dine-and-dashers and, yes, trash bad reviewers. 

Whether it's a personal profile or the brand's account, commenters seem to stand by the posters putting their guests on blast.

Summer and mangos go hand in hand in South Florida. People with mango trees in their backyards often give the King of Fruit to coworkers and friends.

But these small gifts don't make a dent in the hundreds of mangos growing in people’s backyards. The solution? Some homeowners ignore them and let them overripe until the point of rotting.

That’s when Anna Milaeva got an idea. She was running in the residential areas near Brickell and stumbled upon a mango in someone’s backyard.

Rob O'Neal / Florida Keys News Service

The annual spiny lobster season opens Thursday, when commercial trappers can start pulling traps from the water and divers and recreational fishers can start grabbing the crustaceans.

"We never know what's going to happen until they make those first pulls and we see what the market's going to bear," said Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen's Association.

Miami-Dade Adding Healthier Choices To School Menus

Aug 3, 2015
John O'Connor / WLRN

Miami-Dade school meals are going lean and green this school year -- with more veggies and heathier, low-calorie choices.

The district is adding smoothies made with Naked brand juices, greek yogurt and vegetarian lasagna.

But at an event Monday unveiling the new dishes, the district was most proud of its version of a Miami classic.

The “guavalito” is a whole grain, lower-sugar version of a guava and cheese pastelito, made by a local baker.

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