Before last Saturday, I can’t remember the last time I rode a bike. I know people say that’s one of the things you never forget how to do and indeed I hadn’t forgotten. But what I had forgotten was the joy of riding, especially along quiet roads on a beautiful morning like Saturday’s.
What got me there was a bike tour of Redland farms organized by Slow Food Miami. The ride started at Bee Heaven Farm and took us on a 7.5-mile trajectory to three other farms and back.
We visited a tropical and edible fish farm called Fancy Koi, where they have tanks full of tilapia and Australian red claw lobster, as well as ornamental fish. Then we visited Going Bananas, where owner Don took us on a tour of his property. Aside from close to 100 varieties of bananas, he grows curry leaves, star fruit, canistel, mamey and other tropical fruit.
Next up was Teena’s Pride, which was impressive. First of all, it’s bigger than I ever imagined and the huge variety of herbs and leafy greens that they grow made me want to walk around ripping out bunches to bring home with me.
And let’s not talk about the amazing heirloom tomatoes. Teena set up a table with samples of each of the varieties of tomatoes grown at the farm for riders to sample upon arrival. I personally love those tiny yellow ones but being a huge tomato fan I enjoyed eating each and every variety.
We ended the tour back where we began, at Bee Heaven Farm. Margie Pikarsky took us around showing us the grounds where she grows a lot of the produce you get in your CSA boxes and at the market. We spotted a few interns handpicking herbs to take to the market the next day and tasted the most fragrant and spicy arugula.
Then we sat down for lunch, which was prepared by Kris Wessel of Red Light and Kira Volz of Creek28. We had BBQ ribs with roasted potatoes, shrimp fatoush and an Andean restorative salad featuring quinoa.
For dessert, we had an amazing key lime pie (I was told it was the recipe of chef Wessel’s aunt), strawberry shortcake and going bananas pudding. To drink, I chose Monk in the Trunk (it was good like Dave of South Florida Beer Blog suggested).
I really wanted to take the bike home with me after the ride, but I didn’t. The truth is I’m terrified of riding around these parts. But it was great to ride a bike again in those surroundings and with good food involved.