The sun was setting and there was a chill in the air as we walked through the gates of Paradise Farms in Homestead. A sign reading "Welcome. Please No Meat or Cigarettes" greeted us as we meandered through a fragrant path filled with the sounds of birds, bees, and crickets.
Paradise Farms is well named. The small organic farm was purchased by Gabriele Marewski in 1999. Since then, Miami's finest restaurateurs purchase Marewski's edible flowers, greens, fruits, and vegetables and the farm hosts the popular Dinner in Paradise series.
Last evening, the farm hosted Milagro Tequila's brand ambassador Jaime Salas and The Forge's executive chef Dewey LoSasso for an evening of farm-to-table dining and drinking.
Guests were greeted with fresh carambola juice cocktails and a tour of the farm, where Marewski pointed out the various edible flowers grown on property and bees drinking water at a fountain before turning in for the night.
We were then led to the open dining area, illuminated by fairy lights, for our four-course pairing meal.
Chef LoSasso explained that he created the dishes using produce from Paradise Farms and other local sources. "I would say that the ingredients were harvested from around 10 miles ... but it's actually more like 10 feet!" Milagro's brand ambassador, Jaime Salas, was equally inspired, using local honey, fruit, and herbs in his cocktail tutorial (guests were charged with making their own Margaritas under the careful tutelage of Salas).
Milagro Tequila's Jaime Salas and Paradise Farm's Gabriele Marewski greet guests.
Edible flowers are beautiful and delicious.
Bees drinking up after a long work day.
Cocktail kits at the table.
Paradise Farms greens with edible flowers and tequila-infused strawberries.
A take on a classic Margarita, made with fresh cilantro, muddled watermelon radish, and local honey.
Sunset in Paradise, made with tequila, lime juice, honey, muddled pomelo, and arugula.
Vegan ragout made with wheat berries and kale, accompanied by heirloom tomato yogurt.
Upside down carambola cake with a tequila zabaglione, served with a shot of aged tequila with grated cinnamon.
Chef Dewey LoSasso puts the finishing touches on dessert.
Here's the recipe for the farm-fresh Margarita we mixed:
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3-4 slices watermelon radish (save one for garnish)
2 sprigs cilantro (save one for garnish)
2 oz. Milagro silver tequila
1 oz. lime juice (the juice of one lime)
3/4 oz. local honey
Muddle the radish and cilantro in a mixing glass. Add tequila, lime juice, honey, and ice. Shake and strain into an iced rocks glass. Garnish with the extra cilantro and radish slice.