A must-see, must-taste, must-experience edible, historical, food extravaganza, all Florida, all the time. A product of The FOOD Museum. For the Archives, please click the file folder icon at right.
Miami Beach Food History: Henry Lum’s Coconut Oil Venture
In 1878, Henry B. Lum formed a group of investors and purchased a tract of land on Miami Beach. The group acquired title to 80 miles of ocean frontage lying between Cape Florida and Jupiter at an average price of 75 cents an acre. They chartered a schooner, the Ada Doane, under Captain Ackerly and scoured the Caribbean for seed coconuts. From Cuba, Nicaragua, Trinidad, and other localities they brought coconuts until, by 1885, over 300,000 had been planted. While there was concern about the viability of the business as a means of producing coconut oil, the venture failed early on when indigenous rabbits ate the the coconut shoot after they sprouted. Miami Beach sat largely deserted from 1890 to 1900, except for two very small bathing casino ventures on land leased from Lum.
The first printed map of South Beach, published by the original developers of Ocean Beach (source)
Miami Food History: Julia Tuttle
Miami Food History; Julia Tuttle
Statue of founder of Miami with oranges in one arm and orange blossom sprig in the other.
South Florida was one of America’s last frontiers just over 100 years ago. In the late 1890s there were fewer than 1,000 people living in Dade County, which stretched from the upper Keys all the way to Jupiter Inlet, north of Palm Beach.
Julia Tuttle first laid eyes on what would become Miami as early as 1874 while visiting her father — who had moved to the Lemon City area as a homesteader and become a county judge and state senator — but returned to her husband and family in Cleveland. She had arrived by steamship, and liked what she saw.
When Tuttle’s father died and left her his Florida land in 1891, she permanently moved to the shores of Biscayne Bay. Her neighbors across the river were William and Mary Brickell, fellow early and influential pioneers. She purchased some 640 acres of land including Fort Dallas, a military installation from the Seminole Wars on the north bank of the Miami River, and moved right in.
Tuttle had realized the area would never prosper unless it was reached by the railroads, and began an aggressive campaign to convince Henry Flagler to continue his tracks to Fort Dallas — even offering to give up hundreds of acres of her land.
Julia Tuttle didn’t have any luck convincing Flagler to extend his railroad via letters, and even paid a fruitless visit to the magnate in person in St. Augustine. But nature stepped in to help: the three Great Freezes of 1894-1895 devastated orange groves and vegetable farms in central and northern Florida, wiping out citrus and fortunes alike. When Tuttle smartly sent Flagler a package of flowers or foliage — some say it was fragrant and enticing orange blossoms — she proved her Miami River properties were below the frost line. Flager, unhappy to see settlers moving back north and his fruit shipping business dwindle, recognizing the obvious financial opportunities and gave in. He agreed to lay 60 miles of track to Miami from his railroad’s end in Palm Beach. (learn more here)
Florida Food Pioneers: Julia Tuttle, founder of Miami
The “Mother of Miami” Julia Tuttle is the only woman considered to be the founder of a major city in the U.S. The 10-foot-tall bronze statue of Tuttle in Bayfront Park pays tribute to the woman responsible for starting what is now the bustling city of Miami. Looking upward, Tuttle holds a basket of oranges in her left arm as her right arm extends a handful of orange blossoms. Her skirt is covered with scenes of American Indians and African Americans that were among the first settlers, regional flora and fauna, the train that helped turn Fort Dallas into the City of Miami and Tuttle with Henry Flagler. After learning about Julia Tuttle, the kids can enjoy the adjacent children’s playground.
Julia Tuttle Statue
301 N. Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33132
Florida Dairy History: Madie Ives Dairy, Miami
According the local Chamber of Commerce in 1922, Ms. Madie C. Ives owned a herd of two hundred Jerseys’ and Holstein cows that she used to operate a dairy farm.
Ives Dairy Farm was the first dairy in Dade County to receive a “Certified” rating, given by a group of medical doctors. The rating was contributed to the diary having milk with the lowest bacterial count. Years later, Ms. Ives began to experiment with milking machines and as history tells it may have been the first in Dade County to use this method. In addition to the dairy farm Ms. Madie C. Ives raised cowpeas for hay, corn, sunflowers for silage, and experimented with various grasses. As a result of her business savory and compassion for education Ms. Madie C. Ives donated the 8.57 acres of land and earmarked it to be utilized for educational purposes only.
Madie Ives Elementary is located at 20770 Northeast 14th Avenue in North Miami Beach, Florida. The school occupies 8.57 acres of land that stretches out to Ives Dairy Road and lies adjacent to the Dade and Broward County line.
The stakeholders of Madie Ives Elementary school salute Ms. Madie C. Ives, a Dade County business owner pioneer who brought into existence the birth of Madie Ives Elementary School’s in 1957. (source)
Florida Dairy History: McArthur
Florida is one of the nation’s great cattle rearing states. Not only are there large cattle ranches in the middle of the state, but also dairy operations.
One such brand is McArthur Dairy of Miami, which began in 1929 and started by J. Neville McArthur. It’s a classic brand of Florida milk, and it’s famous because it shows up in resorts, cruise lines and in the Caribbean, as it is an export item. (source)
Baked Pompano Recipe
Pompano is a naturally oily fish, which tends to make the meat more rich and flavorful than most fish, but still pleasantly mild. I added a little Meyer Lemon zest to the mix, simply because I could, but it also provided a little boost to the grapefruit and added a visual note to the sauce. I also added toasted pistachio’s to the dish that proved to be a wonderful addition to the sauce while adding yet another visual element.
I made a small salad to go with the Pompano using the remaining grapefruit segments, pistachio’s, red leaf lettuce and some gorgonzola crumbles. Simply drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil, it was a delicious accompaniment to the Pompano.