Uncle Matt’s in the Orlando Sentinel
Annual grocery guide sets diverse table
Our annual Ethnic Grocery Guide is a favorite of mine because it reflects one of my favorite things — the diversity of Central Florida — and exemplifies why I think this is a great place for foodies.
These markets are scattered throughout Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties. We are updating the guide for 2010 and we need your help. Have we overlooked a few of your favorite places? Are you a business owner who wants to get the word out?
Send your tips to me via any of the marvelous forms of communication noted below. I’ll be taking your suggestions until 5 p.m. on Oct. 8. The guide will publish in Cooking & Eating on Oct. 20.
Slow Food Orlando goes international. Members of Slow Food Orlando are headed to Terra Madre in Turin, Italy, this fall. Terra Madre is an international network of food producers, chefs, educators, activists and students from more than 150 countries who all have the common interest and goal of global sustainability in food. The biennial event is hosted in the mother country of Slow Food — Italy. Delegates will have the opportunity to share innovative solutions and time-honored traditions for keeping small-scale agriculture and sustainable food production alive and well.
Slow Food Orlando (slowfoodorlando.org) is a chapter of Slow Food USA, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to supporting and celebrating the food traditions of North America. This effort is supported through programs dedicated to taste education, defending biodiversity and building food communities.
Local delegates include Trish Strawn of Deep Creek Ranch in west Volusia County, Dale Volker of west Orange County’s Lake Meadow Naturals, Cinthia Sandoval of Wild Ocean Seafood Market in Port Canaveral, Oliver Kann of Heart of Christmas Farms and Tony Adams of Big Wheel Provisions, a pivotal participant in weekly Monday night Audubon Park Community Market gatherings, and Rebecca Reis-Miller, Slow Food Orlando co-founder.
Shop local, eat local, but stay food-safe. Farmers markets are great sources for fresh produce, but you need to be vigilant about food safety in these open-air centers. Fruit samples are often served on exposed trays that have been touched by many fingers. Wash your hands often and don’t chomp into that delicious fruit until you have time to thoroughly wash the produce at home.
What’s in season. Scorching August trims the amount of Florida produce available in supermarkets but you should be able to find good buys on avocados, okra and watermelons. Sounds like a swell trio to me. Clermont’s Uncle Matt’s, a local organic star, is showing its second crop of avocados (available now through January). Florida avocados tend to be larger and greener than their Mexican counterparts and deliver important health benefits. Florida avocados are naturally lower in fat and have fewer calories than the popular Hass avocado. They are a good source of dietary fiber, folate, potassium, as well as vitamins B-6 and C. Avocados are also a source of monounsaturated fat that may help to lower cholesterol.
Today on my blog, look for some of our favorite test kitchen recipes for avocados, okra and watermelons.
At the seafood counter, look for alligator, amberjack, clams, blue crabs, flounder, red grouper, spiny lobster, mahi mahi, oysters, shrimp, red snapper, yellowtail snapper, swordfish and yellowfin tuna.
Calling all cookbook authors. The Oct. 9 “Deltona Regional Library’s Authors Book Fair: Celebrating Writers and Readers” has more than 50 authors registered to date, but the organizers are still looking for local cookbook authors to join the lineup. The fair is a fundraiser sponsored by the Friends of Deltona Library. For more information check out Friendsofdeltonalibrary.org.
Food Editor Heather McPherson can be reached at 407-420-5498, hmcpherson@orlando sentinel.com and on Twitter @OS_thedish. Follow daily food news at her blog orlandosentinel.com/thedish.