Flora Bama Farms: Fresh Food and Fresh Ideas
Mar 02, 2013 09:20PM
By Jude Forsyth
Sandy Veilleux, vice president of Flora Bama Farms, in Pensacola, has a vision for the farm as a hub where interest in the farm-to-table movement can flourish. “One should be able to purchase quality food, grown sustainably by local farmers, in a close and comfortable location,” says Veilleux. The farm, located on Mobile Highway, is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. It offers a plethora of produce and flowers grown on the farm for sale directly to the consumer, as well as thirdparty products such as Ocheesee milk, Amish butter, eggs, sugar cane and green coffee beans.
Veilleux is a powerhouse of ideas and actions to promote local farmers. One such idea became reality when she, along with Rudy Rudolph, executive chef of the Sunset Cork Room, in Gulf Shores, founded the nonprofit Four Blades of Grass to raise funds to pay area community supported agriculture (CSA) farmers to grow and distribute food for families in need. Says Veilleux, “When customers swipe their credit card, we give 10 percent of our fees straight to Four Blades.”
Another idea resulted in Veilleux and Rudolph setting up shop to offer the “food goodness” at University Pines, an assisted living community in Pensacola. A Facebook page tracked their arrival, and members of the community and the public showed up to appreciate the harvest of the day. Veilleux realized that the setting up and taking down of the lobby market was too time consuming, so the idea of a mobile kitchen came into being. Wanting to take more of their great food to the people that want and need it, Veilleux is currently trying to put together a group of people that want to take mobile farming to the next level. Profits from the mobile kitchen will support the Four Blades of Grass program.
“The harvest truck will be the first not-for-profit food truck in the area. I want to share with young people what fresh food can taste like and help them understand how it can affect them,” she says. “There is no limit to the places we can go and the things we can do with the mobile kitchen.”