NEW PORT RICHEY (July 28, 2016) – The City of New Port Richey’s Environmental Committee hosted the second annual “Okra Occasion…Less than a festival but more than an ordinary day!” at the New Port Richey Public Library in downtown New Port Richey in late July.
Friendship Farms & Fare and gardeners from the Grand Gardens joined other growers and citizens to share the magic of okra – one of Florida’s forgotten vegetable treasures. There were several samples of okra dishes for attendees to enjoy, a taped TED talk, brief lectures, an okra recipe mini-booklet, and some fresh okra for sale by local growers. A brief presentation about the New Port Richey’s new agriculture ordinance was also included on the program. The okra recipe booklet is available at Rose’s Bistro located in downtown New Port Richey for $5.
The main event was the locally grown okra from Friendship Farms & Fare, Grand Gardens, and other farms and gardens in the city. Okra varieties differ in color and size. Included in the dishes and for sale were heirloom varieties such as Silver Queen, Red Burgundy, and Star of David – an Israeli heirloom variety.
While young and small okra pods are tender, however, local gardeners have discovered that even the larger varieties of okra remain supple, easy to cut, saute, and delicious to eat. One of the easiest recipes is to cut the pods into coins, sprinkle on some extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt, pepper and chopped garlic. It stir fries in minutes and makes a noteworthy side dish.
Also assisting at the second annual okra occasion were members of the City’s Environmental Committee. It has been through the efforts of this committee that the city council recently expanded and enriched the current agricultural ordinance to allow for more micro-urban farms such as the Grand Gardens on Grand Blvd., those in the East Madison Neighborhood, and the city’s Agricultural District in the Western portion of Virginia Avenue. The Environmental committee has discovered that many residents in the city would like to grow their own organic vegetables.
For more information about urban organic gardening, feel free to call Dell deChant at (727) 849-1626, or by by email at the “Let’s Talk” section of the Friendship Farms & Fare website,http://www.fffsite.org/. Friendship Farms & Fare affirms and advances agrarian ideals to reestablish a sustainable culture.