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Visit from dad, hydroponic farm trip

Posted Feb 14 2012 11:40pm

This past week I had 4 exams in 5 days. That’s… insanity right? Perhaps the professors all whispered behind my back to see how they could possibly make my life a bit more stressful than it already is!?  Ugh! So I’ve definitely let my blogging slack recently, but as you can see I’ve had good reason! But my exams are finally over,  so I have a bit of breathing room now!

This weekend I got a surprise visit from my dad, who lives up in Minnesota with my step-mom and brothers. I was really excited for him to come down and for us to be able to spend some quality time together. He also got to meet my amazing new man, and give him the father’s stamp of approval ;) Hey, that’s important to a girl! We all went out to lunch at a cute lil fish house on the water, and afterwards visited a local picking farm for some fresh produce. My dad is the green-smoothie king in his house, so he went nuts over the all-you-can-pick fields of kale, collards, swiss chard and spinach!

 My dad surprised me when he showed up with a full grown beard! He’s still recovering from 2 broken ribs and hasn’t been able to work in over a month, so he claims he’s had no reason to shave. I thought he looked like a lumberjack but I loved it.

We ventured over to Bradenton to visit one of my favorite hydroponic picking farms. This is a new farm that I’ve been frequenting for the past couple of months. After my first hydroponic farm visit  last fall I became hooked! These days I buy all of my greens and whatever happens to be in season from the local picking farms. The hydroponic farms are not certified organic but they use only natural pesticides and mineral salt fertilizers, which is pretty much as close to organic as you can get. Hydroponic is grown out of soil, so there is zero possibility of contamination from soil erosion and run-off, which is an added bonus.

This is OBrien Family Farms , a hydroponic picking farm in Bradenton, Florida. Right now they are fully stocked with lettuces, greens (all my favs like kale, collards, swiss chard, mustard greens and more!) cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, zucchinis and squash, celery, and the ripest sweetest strawberries I’ve ever tasted.

Rows upon rows of sweet Florida strawberries.

And rows upon rows of curly green and purple kale. My dad was in heaven!

We sent this picture to my step-mom and told her she was getting a bouquet of curly kale for V-day this year. ha!

I told my man if he got me a bouquet of curly kale for V-day I’d love him forever. ;) Who says all girls want roses anyway?

My favorite part is the super friendly staff and knowledgable farmers. If I ever have any questions they are right there with an answer. And when I need to yank a celery plant the size of a large toddler out of the mineral salt compost (no joke), I always have a helping hand. Have you ever had hydroponic celery? It’s seriously some of the best stuff ever. No funky aftertaste like most conventional celery… just a crisp and fresh crunchy taste, I love it! Perfect for juicing!

And they really are a family-run establishment. Grandma always weighs and bags my greens with a smile on her face :)

Overall, I had a fabulous weekend! I got all of my tests out of the way, spent some quality time with my dad who flew in from Minnesota, spent some quality time with my man who drove down from Tampa, and spent a lil time on the juicer!

I feel bad that I haven’t updated recently about my surgery recovery, but just so ya’ll know… I’m doing great! I have most of the flexibility back in my leg, and the pain is very minimal. I haven’t started my consistent exercise routine back yet but I’m just about ready. I plan on starting slow with some yoga and biking. Running will still have to wait for awhile! Unfortunately I still can’t wear high heels (what’s a girl to do!?) but each day gets better and better with time. I’m so blessed to have such amazing people in my life who have been by my side since the beginning and helping me along with this recovery. I feel like I have grown as a person through it all–physically and mentally. I am ready to challenge myself and tackle new things. I can fall asleep at night without a throbbing pain in my knee joint for the first time in months. I’m so appreciative of my doctor’s skill and expertise with battling this PVNS joint disease . Now cross your fingers and pray for me that it doesn’t come back any time soon! whew!

~ Peace, Love & Veggies xo

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