Thursday June 21, 2012

Marando Farms

marando farms

Marando Farms is an intimate little farmer’s market and garden in Ft. Lauderdale with an extra hardcore homesteading edge. I was first told about it a few months ago when I was on the hunt for raw milk (for home cheesemaking, more later on that), and sure enough, they’ve got it, both in cow and goat varieties, along with homemade yogurt and other milk products. But there’s a lot more — Marando is equal parts grocery store, farm, community center, food activism project, and attraction. And there are farm animals.

marando farms horse

Right at the gate you’re greeted by a multicolored peeling horse statue. It’s just that kind of place.

marando farms door

Homespun, would I guess be the operant phrase. Inside there are homemade breads, homemade granolas, homemade soap, natural raw honey, farm fresh eggs, pickled beets and beet relish. Everything is grown locally or right on the premises, and all the products are delivered by local artisans. Actually, most of the deliveries happen on Friday, and if you stop by you may meet the person who’s baked your bread or milked your cow.

marando farms produce

Some of the produce looks like what you’d get at Publix or Whole Foods. Heck, some of it looks a little on the rough side sometimes. Real food, you dig? It comes out of the ground, and it doesn’t get thrown away for cosmetic reasons if it’s still delicious.

marando farms rainbow carrots

But foodies will go for the more exotic stuff. Here’s rainbow carrots. I’m skipping photos of the cheese and other stuff because they don’t look like much. The proof is in the taste. But the eggs are stacked in trays straight from the farm and you pick your own and pop ‘em into a 12-pack cardboard carton. ($5 a dozen, which is a bargain for humanely raised eggs, which are also way higher in Omega-3’s than supermarket eggs.) There are also quail eggs (tiny!) and goose eggs (huge) for the adventurous types.

marando farms farming

Out front and around back are the community gardens. There’s lots of herbs, tomatoes, and all sorts of stuff I can’t identify doing its thing.

marando farms boiled peanuts campfire

Also there is stuff like this. An apparently non-functioning campfire and rusted dutch oven. There are also open-aired composts. Oh, and did I mention the farm animals?

marando farms ducks

Ducks!

marando farms goat

Goats! (Here is another picture of the goat.)

marando farms pigs

And yes, pigs wallowing in the mud. (There’s also a chicken coop.) A sign proclaims that all the animals are rescued.

marando farms pig

Hello there tough guy.

marando farms durian

Now let me take this durian opportunity to talk to you about the raw milk. All the milk at Marando is labeled “Not for human consumption,” because Florida, like many states, technically bans the sale of unpasteurized dairy. Which is a huge bummer. Yes, raw milk that has not been safely handled can be dangerous. But what we’re talking about here is exactly the opposite — this is milk that is made lovingly and with extreme care, and is priced accordingly — $10 a gallon. Raw milk tastes different than pasteurized, and has different nutritional properties. It makes a huge difference for homemade cheese, yogurt, Kefir, etc. You should read more about it and write to your Senator, because he will get right. On. That.

marando farms

No but seriously, you should go vote with your pocketbook and try the milk (it’s probably not that much more than the stuff you get at Whole Paycheck, and yeah, you really are eating local). It separates into milk and cream! Just shake it.

And sure enough, there’s a website: Marando Farms.

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