A Rosy Morning at Rosy Tomorrows

My cauliflower had a first name: Veronica. More importantly, it had a delicious nutty, slightly garlicky flavor after I roasted it with a drizzle of olive oil and grind of sea salt and pepper. Veronica cauliflower, also known by some as Romanesco cauliflower or broccoli, was one of the first-time food encounters I experienced Wednesday during Market Day at Rosy Tomorrows Heritage Farm in North Fort Myers.

The gate to Rosy Tomorrows' Old South grounds

The gate to Rosy Tomorrows’ Old South grounds

I tasted the tiny yellow flower of a Mexican mint plant (a.k.a. Mexican mint marigold), which tasted much more like anise than mint. And a marble-sized Everglades tomato: It burst like a flavor capsule in my mouth. I also brought home a pretty box of tiny, assorted sweet peppers that added a delightful crunch to my salad. And a loaf of rustic olive-rosemary bread.

I met “Rosy” herself at Market Day, which happens every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., when the farm is open to the public. Rose O’Dell King started making the local news several years ago as the founder and first president of Slow Food Southwest Florida and a proponent for wholesome, non-toxic, and humane animal and garden products.

As a French Culinary Institute trained chef, certified sommelier, and former sheep farmer, Rose knows her way around a farm. She found 100-plus lovely acres in North Fort Myers that suited her needs and set out to produce food organically, holistically, sustainably, humanely, and as close to nature as possible.

She raises rare, slow-growing, heritage breeds of livestock known for their adaptability to Florida and their pedigree of good taste: 100 percent grass-fed Longhorn cows, pastured Red Wattle pigs and Dominque, Australorp, and Silver Laced Wyandotte chickens. Naturally, they are hormone and steroid free. I did not buy any meat this week – that you must order ahead as much of Rosy Tomorrows’ inventory is grabbed by fine local restaurants.

Assorted mini-bells from Rosy Tomorrows

Assorted mini-bells from Rosy Tomorrows

Tentatively in early May, the farm will celebrate the opening of a new barn, where Market Day will take place in the future. During its building, Rose suspended serving food on Market Day, but that will reconvene, beginning with a continental breakfast of fresh goodies at the grand opening, and such offerings as Rosy Tomorrows’ signature basil lemonade, market salad, and sweet and savory hand pies on Wednesdays. Check online for details.

A new chef has joined the staff ; meet her and manager Matt DeuxHerst, head gardener Kelsey Costa, their adorable tow-head daughter Ila, and able assistant Bekah. The staff are extremely knowledgeable about their wares and how to prepare them. Thanks, Kelsey and Bekah, for the Veronica cauliflower tips!

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