The Real Foodie

Tag: organic

Open Minded Organics, Bridgehampton, N.Y.


My friend Dave Falkowski, also known as ‘the mushroom man’, started growing his gourmet mushrooms in 2003, for which he is most known and sells to an impressive list of restaurants. His family were among the first Polish families to start farming potatoes and Brassicas on the South Fork, Long Island in the mid-19th century.¹ He has since expanded his farm, Open Minded Organics, to raising chickens and growing a wide array of fruits and vegetables, which he sells at the local East End farmers‘ markets and his farm stand in Bridgehampton.


1. Halweil B (2011). The Mushroom Man, Redux. Edible East End. Fall edn.

Southampton Village Farmers’ Market


I spend every summer staying with my family in the town of Southampton, New York. It requires more effort to buy real food as I don’t have my farm delivery club like in Miami. However, over the years I have got to know the few organic farms and farm stands around the area, with more growing each year and although I have to drive far to get it, it is worth it; we end up eating just as well as we do at home. I will be posting more about the farm stands I buy from throughout the summer. Every Sunday from June to October there is a small farmers’ market held next to the old Parish Art Museum in the village of Southampton. Photographed is Frank Trentacoste from the new organic farm in Amagansett, Bhumi Farm. Below is my friend Dave Falkowski’s stand from his farm Open Minded Organics in Bridgehampton.


BM Organics Market is Closing Down


My favourite restaurant BM Organics, sadly, is closing down. I never even got a chance to write a post to showcase their amazing food which is sourced exclusively from Amish or local organic farms. Highlights from my memory include frissee salads made with a Thai coconut meat based dressing and sprinkled with raw, grass-fed blue cheese; brown butter and pumpkin seed spaghetti squash; sprouted lentil or chicken and kale soup made with real bone broth; grass-fed burgers with sprouted wheat buns and homemade fermented ketchup (the ketchup was a miracle and I would buy jars of it because whatever I put it on, my daughter would eat); spicy pastured chicken wings; fries fried in lard; sprouted mac ‘n cheese; raw milk smoothies; grass-fed hot dogs and sprouted hummus; all cooked using real cooking fats like butter, lard and coconut oil.

I knew it was too good to be true that a restaurant following the principles of the Weston A. Price Foundation stuck around for too long. Since changing to the Weston A. Price diet it has been my dream to open a restaurant just like this one and I couldn’t believe it when I found it, in Fort Lauderdale of all places. It made my experience of living in Miami all the more enjoyable and to think that I was afraid when I left New York City of losing all my real food places—I found everything I had there and more with the addition of BM Organics.

We have been making the 45 minute trip from Miami to this place every weekend for their gourmet dinners since their opening in February of 2012. It was a blessing that I just happened to stop by on the day they opened! It was the first time we could feed my toddler a full meal at a restaurant and have a relaxed family dinner, knowing every single ingredient was real food. In all my experience of eating out, I have yet to find another restaurant that is 100 percent real food. Even farm-to-table restaurants still use toxic vegetable oils for cooking, they don’t sprout their grains and it is unheard of to serve raw dairy.

The only good news was they had a huge closing down sale and I was able to stock up on all of my favourite items for a big discount. They will surely be missed by their devoted following but they will still continue their weekly farm deliveries.

It’s Good To Be Back!


We arrived last night from our long trip and though I’m sad it’s over, it feels great to be back to Miami’s tropical climate and my healthy routine! My first food stop was Jugo Fresh, Miami’s newest and only organic juice bar of its kind, to get a green smoothie for Olivia and myself. Olivia had the ‘Suga Sherm’ which is coconut water, coconut meat, banana, kale and spirulina (I asked for it without agave) and I had the ‘Jugo Fly’ which is coconut water, coconut meat, kale, spinach, apple, blueberry, spirulina, hemp and chlorella, also without agave. The smoothies are sprinkled with coconut flakes, goji berries and cacao nibs. The fat from the coconut in the smoothie is necessary for the absorption of vitamins and minerals from the greens.

My only criticism about Jugo Fresh is that they put agave syrup in their smoothies. Not only is agave unhealthy because it is a highly concentrated version of fructrose similar to high fructrose corn syrup, but the smoothies are naturally sweet without it and even more so if you are used to a no sugar diet. To read more about the dangers of agave read here.

At Jugo Fresh they make fresh pressed organic juices and smoothies, similar to the ones at Organic AvenueLiquiteria or Lifethyme in New York City which I missed terribly after I left until Jugo Fresh opened. The Rastafarian juice man, Melvin, who used to make the smoothies at Lifethyme and had a devoted following (he may have been the one who invented the coconut and greens smoothie) left Lifethyme to start his own juice bar Melvin’s Juice Box at Miss Lily’s. My husband and I started making our own coconut and greens smoothie after learning from Melvin, using a Vitamix blender, but when I’m in a hurry, Jugo Fresh is quick and easy.

Daylesford, London


Across the street from the Pimlico market, Daylesford is an organic farm shop and cafe selling organic produce, prepared food, and pastured meat, dairy and eggs from their own organic farm in Gloucestershire. They have three locations in London, one in Surrey and one in Tokyo. We had a delicious lunch at the cafe in Pimlico and brunch at the cafe in Notting Hill, which has replaced the old Fresh and Wild market: one of the first organic supermarkets in London where I used to buy my organic food over ten years ago. It is on the trendy Westbourne Grove and is giving the popular conventional brunch hang out, 205 Cafe two doors down, a run for its money.

Pimlico Farmers’ Market, London


When I went to London for my long overdue trip back to the city where I grew up, I arrived just in time for the Saturday Farmers’ Market in Pimlico (my mother’s local) to buy raw milk for Olivia. I was impressed that they were selling raw milk in plain sight, something which doesn’t happen in the US (usually it has to be bought secretively as if doing a drug deal!). The market is part of London Farmers’ Markets: a group of certified farmers’ markets around London, established by the food writer Nina Planck in 1999. Nina Planck wrote the book Real Food which along with The Weston A. Price Foundation and The Body Ecology Diet, made a lasting impact on me and is THE book that anyone interested in adopting a healthy diet should read, as it has a very straightforward and simplistic approach.

I was amazed by how much more modern and multicultural the city has become since my last visit and especially since I left ten years ago. While London has always been one of the leaders of the organic movement (it was where I first started eating organically in my early twenties), there is now a vast array of options for me in terms of real food when I visit. I remember during my first trip back after I left, in 2004, my friend took me to the Marylebone Farmers’ Market and it was the first of it’s kind that I had seen. Back then I wasn’t yet a real foodie, I was still just an industrial organic foodie, (eating foods that were labeled organic but not unprocessed, sustainable or from animals that were humanely treated and pastured) and so I couldn’t appreciate it as much as I do now. Now there are 21 certified Farmers’ Markets across the city and several shops and restaurants serving real food.

Chocolate Easter Eggs


I have always loved holiday traditions as a means to be creative, decorate and learn about the way different cultures celebrate. Easter was one of my favourite holidays as a child. My father would organise elaborate Easter egg hunts for us in the garden and I would always dye and paint Easter eggs. A child at heart, I am thrilled now that I have my own daughter to be able to re-live the dreams of my childhood with her. This was the first Easter in which Olivia was old enough to interact so I made the most of it and got creative, making many different types of Easter eggs. I bought Amish pastured blue Araucana eggs from BM Organics to decorate with (and then eat!); I blew out conventional white eggs to dye with vegetable dye and let Olivia paint them with watercolours; I made papier mache eggs and filled them with soaked cashew nuts and a toy mouse; and I made chocolate Easter eggs using egg moulds.

I wanted Olivia to be able to enjoy eating her first chocolate Easter egg without my worrying about the sugar and additives usually found in store bought chocolate eggs (such as GMO soy lecithin), so I found and modified a recipe for chocolate sweetened with honey from the blog Our Nourishing Roots:

Handmade Chocolate

3/4 cup organic cocoa butter
3/4 cup organic cocoa powder
6 tablespoons raw organic honey
scraped seeds from 1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

In a glass bowl set over simmering water, melt cocoa butter completely. Turn the heat off and using a whisk, add cocoa powder gradually and incorporate completely until there are no lumps. Add honey, vanilla seeds from scraped vanilla bean and vanilla extract; whisk until smooth. Let cool, stirring every 10 minutes.

I learned through trial and error that the brand of cocoa butter is very important for the taste. I wrote to Kendahl from Our Nourishing Roots to ask her for the brand she recommended, as the link on her site wasn’t working at the time and she recommended this one.

The recipe says it should take no longer than 30 minutes to cool before pouring into moulds but I found although it cooled quickly, I wasn’t able to make hollow eggs until it was starting to solidify because the chocolate wouldn’t form a layer to the mould if it was too liquid; it would just run off the sides collecting at the bottom. I had to put the bowl of chocolate in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling and just as the edges were hardening, I took it out. Using a paint brush and my fingers I would form a 1/4″ layer of chocolate around the mould to make sure the egg would be hollow but solid enough to stay strong. There was a narrow time frame between too liquid and too solid because if it was too solid, the chocolate would form pockets of air in the designs of the mould. I left some extra chocolate in the bowl to use for sticking the mould halves together. I put the moulds with the chocolate in the refrigerator and once they cooled, pressed them out gently. I melted the remaining chocolate in the bowl over boiling water and using a paint brush, painted the liquid chocolate along the edge of each egg half and stuck them together. You can buy foil candy wrappers online to wrap them with but I didn’t think about this in advance, so I cut squares out of plastic food bags (which is not ideal as I am against plastic and haven’t used a plastic food bag or plastic wrap in many years; but this was an exception) and wrapped each egg in the plastic, gathering the bag at the top and tying it with ribbon, to hide in the garden for Olivia and her cousin Kayden’s Easter egg hunt. Another idea would be to fill the hollow eggs with a small treat such as a nut or a toy or make a cream filling like my old junk food favourite, Cadbury’s Creme egg.

I wasn’t sure how Olivia would react to her first taste of chocolate but the eggs were a huge success! I have never seen her devour something so fast, shoving the entire egg in her mouth at once and barely tasting it before asking for ‘mo’!

Valentine’s Pizza


My husband was away on a business trip for Valentine’s day so it was just Olivia and me celebrating together this year. We went to the park and then for a walk on the beach and when we came home we made heart shaped pizzas. Olivia helped me mix the dough and pick the fresh herbs. I set the table with straw woven place mats and red striped cloth napkins and we had our romantic Valentine’s dinner together in candlelight listening to classical music. I couldn’t have asked for a better Valentines day!

Valentine’s Pizza Recipe 

The recipe is adapted from Super Nutrition for babies by Katherine Erlich and Kelly Genzlinger. I used a combination of organic sprouted wheat flour for easier digestibility, arrowroot starch and organic coconut flour. To make a grainless version use only coconut flour and arrowroot starch or for a grain only version omit the coconut flour and starch. When using coconut flour instead of wheat flour more liquid may need to be added to the dough. You can also use store bought whole-grain flour but it should be prepared the night before by soaking 2/3 cup flour with 1 tablespoon yoghurt and 1/4 cup water overnight to make it more digestible and nutritious.

1/3 cup organic sprouted wheat flour

2/3 cup organic coconut flour

1/4 cup arrowroot starch

2 tablespoons softened organic pasture butter, plus more for greasing pan

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt or sea salt

1 organic pastured egg

1/2 cup organic raw pastured yoghurt (or any other type of liquid such as milk or coconut milk)

handful chopped fresh basil

handful chopped fresh oregano

3/4 cup organic tomato sauce (homemade or store bought in glass jar to avoid BPA from lining of cans)

1 cup grated organic raw pastured cheese

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Mix the flour, starch, butter, salt, egg, yoghurt and herbs. If using coconut flour add more liquid (yoghurt or milk) to make it the consistency of dough. Grease a baking pan or cookie sheet with butter or use a baking pan lined with unbleached chlorine-free parchment paper. Spread the dough over the pan about 1/4 inch thick and form into the shape of a heart. Bake the dough for 10 – 20 minutes until it is crispy around the edges. Take out of the oven and first spread the tomato sauce and then the cheese over the top or add additional toppings. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until cheese is melted and golden. If you want to make mini pizzas for kids you can cut out smaller shaped hearts or use a cookie cutter.

Lunch at Yardbird


After two days without power from the after effects of hurricane Sandy which flooded our basement, I thought Olivia needed a more varied diet than just fruit, raw yoghurt, avocado and raw cheese. Although it is important that a large percentage of one’s diet be made up of raw food, which is filled with many enzymes and nutrients that are destroyed through the cooking process, the fats found in pastured meat and minerals in bone broths are essential to health. So we went to one of the few restaurants in Miami that we go to, Yardbird Southern Table and Bar which serves mostly local or organic food (but not one hundred percent—the reason it is not my favourite—check out which is).

Olivia must have been craving some protein and healthy fats because she happily made her way through an entire plate of pastured chicken from White Oak Pastures and she had her first taste of fish roe taken off the top of my deviled eggs, which she enjoyed the look of but made a cringing face once the fishy taste exploded in her mouth. She finished off with some pickled cucumbers, which she loved as always. I felt much better as we went back to our dark and cold apartment, knowing she’d had a more full, varied and nutritious meal.

Pantrepant Farm, Jamaica


During my last trip to Jamaica I was invited to Pantrepant Farm, a beautiful and serene 2,500-acre organic farm in the hills of the Cockpit Country along the Martha Brae river and the home of Island Records founder, Chris Blackwell. It was a memorable day, which began with a bathe in a natural swimming hole, followed by a delicious four course farm-to-table lunch and ending with a tour of the organic farm.

The colonial house had a wrap around porch which overlooked the hills in the distance. It was rustic and beautifully decorated with colourful paint, local wooden carvings and hand printed African textiles from Chris Blackwell’s late wife’s Royal Hut line of interiors. My background being in textile design, this was a delight to my eyes. Everywhere I looked was like a photograph taken from an interior design coffee table book, with the hand printed textile theme throughout: on the trim of the towels, the napkins, table cloths, the wicker chair pillows, four hanging umbrellas, even the staff wore brightly printed matching dresses instead of the usual drab uniforms.

We were greeted with a glass of either rum punch or coconut water and crackers with Solomon Gundy: a traditional Jamaican spicy smoked red herring paté. Once I realised that the jugs on the tables which I thought were filled with just plain water, were actually filled with fresh coconut water, I knew I was in heaven. After drinks we went swimming in the river’s magnificent swimming hole with water the colour of jade. My seven month old baby answered my prayers as she always does and was an angel from start to finish, happily being the centre of attention when she was awake and falling asleep just in time for me to be able to enjoy lunch. I laid her across two chairs with a sarong over her and she slept soundly under the shade of a huge guango tree next to the table throughout the entire lunch.

The lunch was a variety of freshly picked vegetables with lettuce, jerk chicken, rice cooked with callaloo (a type of Jamaican kale) and sweet crepes with coconut ice cream for desert, all made from scratch using organic ingredients from the farm. It was the first time I was eating organic food in Jamaica, a moment I had been dreaming about for years, knowing that as delicious as the cooking was, it wasn’t filled with mystery ingredients and was actually nourishing my body.

The reason I came to Pantrepant Farm was because it was my first time in Jamaica with my baby and as I was breastfeeding, I was in a dilemma as to what to eat, knowing that the word organic in Jamaica didn’t exist. Most of the food in hotels is imported, the food sold in supermarkets is highly processed and it is hard to find local produce. I have been going to Jamaica all my life as my family own a house there and my mother grew up in Reading. I always loved traditional Jamaican cooking but as I got older and became aware of where our food comes from, with each trip I grew increasingly disappointed with the quality served at restaurants and sold at our community market, making it impossible to avoid eating processed food even when it was cooked at our own house. Jamaica being a land so lush in vegetation (when you drive around the island there are several roadside stands selling local fruits and vegetables) and the food being so good, it always puzzled me that when you go to the hotel restaurants, everything is imported and the menu is American. When I learned about Pantrepant Farm, it didn’t surprise me that it is owned by none other than the brilliant Chris Blackwell, who I have always admired for being an innovator and supporter of the Jamaican community through his local projects and boutique hotels. Now with Pantrepant he is starting the first CSA in the country, creating a model of sustainability through internships and workshops, leading the way towards organic farming in Jamaica.