Saturday, September 19, 2009

Glades Ridge Dairy Farm explains how they were excluded from the Alachua County Farmers Market

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Glades Ridge, Inc.
Date: Sat, Sep 19, 2009 at 11:35 AM
Subject: Alachua County Farmers Market

Dear Friends:

The reason that I’m sending you this email is to let you all know why Glades Ridge Dairy is not at the Alachua County Farmers Market.

Yesterday I received a call from Helen Emery, the president of the Board of the Alachua County Farmers Market. Helen informed me that we were suspended from selling our milk and cheese until the next Board meeting in October, when it will be decided whether or not to suspend us permanently. The reasoning behind this decision was not because anything bad had occurred, and is as follows – we are selling unpasteurized dairy products and the Board fears that, if anyone became ill from eating our products, they would be liable and sued. Helen told me that they had consulted with a number of attorneys and other scientific experts. The conclusion of these experts was that the sale of our dairy products at the Alachua County Farmer’s Market was a liability due to the inherent dangers of raw milk, and because our customers may not be fully aware of or educated about what they were purchasing. [Note that we are in full compliance with all Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services regulations and possess a fully executed permit to sell raw milk/dairy as long as it is properly labeled.]

I responded with the following points:

* Our products are prominently labeled as “pet food, not for human consumption”. The label/warning is on our signs, packaging and literature. We point it out to our customers when we sell.
* E. coli or salmonella can contracted from many fresh food products, and the sale of raw vegetables and fruits at the market holds similar liability.
* We maintain a valid permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to sell dairy products “for pet food only”, and also have liability insurance as required by the Farmers Market.
* There has never been a reported illness due to the sale of raw dairy products in FL.
* We could not continue to farm if we had to extend our resources to pasteurization, and besides, unpasteurized products are not what our customers want.
* That pasteurization did not provide fool-proof protection against illness.

After I spoke with Helen, I called Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund and spoke with Pete Kennedy, FTCLDF attorney and Tampa resident. Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund was established a few years ago to defend farmers that were legally selling raw dairy and vegetable products and also to protect the right of consumers to purchase these products. Pete agreed to contact Helen Emery. I will let you know how this transpires. Pete also told me that this was the first case in the US that FTCLDF was aware of where a dairy that complied with all state regulations and market requirements was prohibited from selling by the market itself.

We sincerely hope to be back at the Alachua County Farmers Market soon. Until then, our products are available for pick-up from the farm. We are located north on SR 121 to Worthington Springs, and then about five miles west on CR 18. If you’d like to pick up at the farm, call me at 386-266-7041 for directions and to arrange a pick-up time. I’ll be glad to introduce you to the dairy herd too, and you can also see first-hand where the does are milked and cheese is produced. We are committed to producing quality products for you, and want you all to know that we will do everything that we can to be back at space #20 selling milk, cheese and eggs as soon as possible. If you go to the market and are so inclined, let the market manager, Jared Sweat and any of the board that happen to be there, know what you think. Your support is vital to helping us resolve this. You can also contact the market via email: Jared Sweat’s email is and Helen Emery’s is

Thanks very much, and we hope to see you soon.

Joe Pietrangelo for Glades Ridge Dairy

Joe Pietrangelo and Greg Yurish, owners/operators

p.s. – I’ve included a few informative links, below:.


Glades Ridge Dairy Farm

Lake Butler, Union County, FL 32054


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Note from Gainesville Farm Fresh's James Steele

I want to send out a thank you to Slow Food Gainesville's, Anna Prizzia and Melissa DeSa for hosting a wonderful potluck in support for the National Time For Lunch campaign to bring awareness and support to the school lunch program. The turnout was excellent and what a great assortment of dishes we had to choose from and enjoy!

We listened to Maria Eunice, director of food and nutrition services for Alachua County schools discuss the details of trying to feed students on 0.94 cents a day and the great benefit it would bring to have our legislature double the amount offered to the school lunch program.

Sean Mclendon also spoke on issues related to establishing a secure local food economy for our area, with discussion also from the attendees.

Thanks you for an enjoyable Slow Food event and do not forget, if you haven't filled out the petition, please do. You can find it online here

Start marking your calendars for September 27th, for the Fall for Local Food Expo. Citizen's Co-op will be hosting this event in coordination with that Sunday's showing of Food, Inc. See details here..

Let's all get out and support this Citizen's Co-op fundraising event and make it a success!


Gainesville Farm Fresh

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Hog Town Creek Smoked Brisket

The brisket I smoked yesterday was heavenly and I could almost hear Peggy Lee singing "Fever" when I took my first bite.

Before I forget, this is how I cooked it:

I prepared Java-Cinnamon Spice Rub from the excellent cookbook on cooking grass-fed meats, "The Farmer and the Grill" by Shannon Hayes ( Her recipe is superb as is the rest of her cookbook. Buy it.

2 T. ground coffee
2 T. chili powder
2 t. black pepper
2 T. sea salt
2 T. ground cinammon
2 T. unrefined, or partially refined sugar

Rub the spices all over whole brisket pressing the spice mix into the meat and fat. Wrap the brisket in clear cellophane wrap and refrigerate for 2 days or more.

Remove the brisket and bring it to room temperature when ready to cook.

I get started at 4 a.m., though 2 or 3 a.m. would be better. Allow an hour to crank up your wet smoker before putting the brisket in the smoker. I usually do this stage with minimal sleep and go back to sleep once the meat is cooking.

Prepare the wet smoker by lighting the coals in a chimney coal starter. Do not use any lighter fluid. Let the coals go to full flame and, as they begin to settle down, add them to the coal pan 3/4's filled with briquettes.

Fill the smoker's liquid pan in the smoker with 1 liter of Coca Cola, fragrant spices/herbs, topped off with water. Place brisket on top rack fat side up and cover. After fire burns down some, add oak or hickory. I use fallen limbs and twigs from my back yard trees. Soaked chunks or chips would work. You want a healthy head of smoke. I add wood and stir my coals as needed during the smoking process so that I can maximize the smoky flavor. Check your liquid every two hours or so to be sure it does not boil away.

I smoked my brisket for about 8 hours. I removed it and put into a heavy cast iron casserole and poured some of my favorite barbecue sauce over the brisket. I use the famous sauce from Archibald's Barbecue in Northport, AL (I buy it by the gallon when traveling through Tuscaloosa.). It is not available in markets so, if you are not able to buy it in person in Alabama, use a vinegar-ish red sauce or make your own. I would not use a sweet sauce. Depending on your tastes and your guests, apply just a small amount of sauce for Texans and more for everybody else.

Set your oven or grill to a consistent 225, maybe 250 degrees and cook the meat another 4-6 hours depending on your schedule. Cook the covered brisket until about 45 minutes before serving.

Remove the brisket and let it sit at least 30 minutes. Many let is rest longer from one hour to 2-4 hours. Others carve at 160 degree temp.  Carve with an electric knife and always cut across the grain as you slice.

Apply sauce as you see fit at the table. Bring the brisket to the table and sing a few bars of "Fever" as your guests serve themselves.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Review: Harry's.....5 stars

Harry's Seafood Bar & Grille

110 SE 1st St
Gainesville, FL 32601
(352) 372-1555
5 star rating

I have to tell you that I study and immerse myself in the cuisines of Louisiana and have generally considered Harry's to be a poor facsimile of the real thing. Only their portion sizes redeem the restaurant.

I dined there recently with neighbors and was very surprised. All of the dishes we ordered were first-rate. I had a dish composed of scallops and shrimp over a grits cake that was splendid. Two of us had the shrimp and grits and one had jambalaya.

I have developed and honed recipes much like each of these dishes and I hate to admit that they may be as good as mine or better. It kills me but, for this night at least, Harry's kicked b&tt, big time.

Oh also, the salad was superb and the bread served with the meal was crisp on the outside, soft in the middle and served hot with flavored butter. Perfection.

I would never have believed that Harry's could serve such a flawless meal. I am not easily pleased with Gainesville restaurants, but I plan to return to Harry's....soon.

What a fine surprise. Keep it up Harry's.