Posts Tagged ‘farmers market’

Some of the assorted produce available this time of year.

Some of the assorted produce available this time of year.

Pinecrest Farmers Market
Sundays 9 am to 2 pm

Pinecrest Gardens
11100 SW 57th Ave.
Pinecrest FL 33156

It’s that time of year again, when Bee Heaven Farm/Redland Organics appears for the season at the Pinecrest Farmers Market. Bee Heaven offers the best in fresh, local, organic, seasonal and sustainable produce. Look for their big white tent! Check out these items that are available now:

Awesome Veggies: purple and striped eggplant, arugula, mizuna, 2 kinds of kale, collards, bok choy, yukina savoy, baby bok choy, sweet green bell, cubanelle, poblano and jalapeno peppers, fennel, dandelion greens, sunflower greens, lettuces, cucumbers, beets, red turnips, kohlrabi, cherry and grape tomatoes, daikon, watermelon radish.

Father and daughter shopping for cukes.

Father and daughter shopping for cukes.

Savory herbs: scallions, cilantro, curryleaf, allspice, garlic chives, lemongrass, flat Italian parsley, dill, cilantro, hoja santa.

Bean Bonanza: green beans.

Delectable Fruits: black sapote, canistel, carambola, GREEN papaya (for Asian salads and cooked dishes), passionfruit, sugarcane.

Other assorted goodies: local farm honey, fresh pollen, herb teas, dried Fruits of Summer, Florida Sem-Chi organic rice, Florida Keys Sea Salt, Flair’s Fayre goat milk soaps, and assorted tomato and herb seedlings.

Come early for best selection! The market is located in the parking lot near the front entrance of Pinecrest Gardens. See you there!

Farmer Margie Pikarsky, and husband Nick.

Farmer Margie Pikarsky, and husband Nick.

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Vendors set up at the new Southwest Community Farmers' Market.

Vendors set up at the new Southwest Community Farmers’ Market.

Southwest Community Farmers Market
open Saturdays 9-2, from Dec. 1, 2012 to June 15, 2013

Unitarian Universalist Congregation
7701 SW 76 Ave
South Miami FL

A new farmer’s market opened up in South Miami last Saturday, Dec. 1st. The Southwest Community Farmers Market is a grassroots, volunteer operation organized by city’s Green Task Force, with the mission “to provide local, organic and sustainable food for the community.”

On opening day, about a dozen vendors set up in a large grassy area behind the Unitarian Universalist church. If you are not familiar with the church property, park along the east side and walk back to the tents. There should be signs to direct you. You will not see the market from the street.

Luigi and Melissa of Urban Oasis Project.

Luigi and Melissa of Urban Oasis Project.

Urban Oasis was offering their usual beautiful and fresh assortment of locally sourced, and sustainably or organically grown produce, and is providing doubling funds for EBT shoppers. Art Friedrich was also brought in as a consultant to help start the market.

Coconut Grove Farms and Laura’s Produce were the other two produce vendors (but not everything they were selling was local or organic). For those with a sweet tooth, this market is heaven, as there were several vendors selling sweet breads, jams and jellies, and honey. Located in the back were musicians jamming on drums and a sitar, and Bricolage, a community vintage sale where neighbors can buy and sell older and unique household items. Other vendors include: Tattooed Beekeeper’s Wife, Spice Galore, Freakin Flamingo, Tante Leah’s Handmades, Crackerman, Siggi’s Organics, Cafe Luigi, Kami’s Kitchen, Odell Massage, and Roc Kat Ice Cream. (Some vendors had participated in the now-defunct South Miami Farmers Market once run by Mario Yanez’s non-profit Earth Learning.)

Annick Sternberg, who chairs the market committee, is thrilled that the market is up and running. “I want this to work,” she told me with a note of determination. Mayor Philip Stoddard walked around chatting to vendors and shoppers. Everyone involved has high hopes for this market to succeed, and believes that hands-on community involvement is key. Copme on out and support this new market! It’s worth the effort to find.



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This coming Sunday is the last day that Bee Heaven Farm/Redland Organics is going to be at the Pinecrest Gardens Green Market. Come get the last of the heirloom tomatoes! In honor of the bumper crop we had this season, I put together a non-encyclopedic image of some of the 60+ varieties that Farmer Margie grows.

Bring your market tote! Margie is flooded with a sea of carrots, lettuce, onions, and there will be the legendary, farm-fresh Rachel’s Eggs grown by happy, pastured hens at Bee Heaven.

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Dr. Marvin Dunn tells it like it is, while Local 10’s Todd Tongen looks on.

This Wednesday things were definitely not business as usual at the Roots in the City Farmers Market in Overtown. All the vendors were gone — no Nature Boyz, no Redland Organics, no Hani’s goat cheese. Members of the media, including three TV stations and four bloggers, were interviewing curious neighbors, and protesters with signs milled around. Only one tent belonging to RITC was up at noon, and market manager Maggi Pons was stacking collards, yellow squash, scallions and other produce as if it were a normal day at the market. Only she wasn’t selling — she was giving it all away because the market couldn’t sell anything.

Maggi Pons, RITC market manager, and the media.

Last week the owner of the land that the market sits on had been served with a notice of violation. The South Florida Smart Growth Land Trust was cited by the City of Miami for “illegal sale of fruits and merchandise from open stands and vacant lots” and “failure to obtain a Class I special permit.” The market is allegedly illegal, and the media reported last week that it would be shut down. “It’s not just the wrong permit,” Maggi Pons fumed. “It’s a lot more complicated than that. The city doesn’t have a permit for a fresh produce market, so we have to take out a special events permit, good for only two times a year.”

Mayor Tomas Regalado sent two spokesmen to try to smooth the waters and clarify the situation. Alan Morley insisted that the mayor “loves the market.” He explained the city only wants the market to get the proper permits and licensing, not shut it down, and they have until the weekend to comply. “Certain criteria have to be met. They didn’t go through the right permit process,” he stressed.

Asha Loring came to shop and joined the protest.

According to Pat Santangelo, the other spokesman, it’s all a big misunderstanding. “We have a lot of unnecessary paranoia,” he said. “If you’re going to run the market as a business, you need to comply with certain things.” He pointed out that the market required an annual certificate of use permit, a Class I permit, and a business tax receipt, and fees would be waived or reduced. When I asked Santangelo if the Class I permit was the two-times-a-year special events permit that market leaders were distressed about, he explained that it was an “unlimited” permit. (He said it was an “annual” permit, as quoted by Local 10 News.)

Yet market founder Dr. Marvin Dunn claimed he repeatedly called the city about the violation and didn’t get an answer. It got him hot under the collar, so he rounded up protesters and alerted the media. He said he got the certificate of use since the very beginning. The only solution he saw is to request a resolution from the city commission to allow his market to operate for six months at a time. But even that is politically uncertain, and as Dunn put it, “Who can run a market on a whim?”

Not all the vendors were happy about a day off. Instead of selling produce on Wednesday, Farmer Margie Pikarsky of Bee Heaven Farm stayed home. “Since we won’t be there, we won’t be bringing fresh, local, organic veggies to the underserved, food desert neighborhood. And, we won’t be employing the local resident that helps us with the setup and breakdown each week. How does that help anyone??” she said.

Neighbor James Branson is thankful for the food.

Wednesday’s free food giveaway was a big hit with the neighbors. Three women staggered away with four grocery bags brimming with collards and other produce. Area resident James Branson was delirious about his full shopping bag. “God is good,” he exclaimed, pointing to the sky. “Give thanks for the food on the table!” Neighbors who came late were disappointed. By 1:20 p.m. the RITC tables were completely empty of produce and the tent came down.

Giving food away may work in the short term, but in the long term it’s not a solution to either the problem of permits and codes — or developing a local food economy. It appears the City of Miami doesn’t have an ordinance that specifically applies to farmers markets. Spokesman Santangelo called the situation with RITC “a good learning process” for market people to learn how to comply with existing regulations. Yet he gave no answer when asked how the city can help this market (or others) navigate the permitting process smoothly and quickly.

Fresh veggies up for grabs.

The local food movement is growing, but it’s a slow and painful process. For every step forward, it appears there are two steps back. Farmers markets are the best way for small local growers to find buyers, and for buyers to find fresh, local produce at a fair price, especially in underserved neighborhoods. Instead of trying to shoehorn market compliance into codes that were written to address different situations that don’t quite fit, perhaps a new ordinance needs to be passed to support markets and allow the local food scene to flourish. (While Miami takes a tough stance on code enforcement, South Miami willingly embraces its new grower supported market.) Whichever the city, the most important thing is to get fresh food into the hands of people who need it most and have grown to count on it.

In the Media:

Read about the protest at CBS 4, Local 10 and the Miami Herald here and here. Mango & Lime has a thoughtful post and an update about zoning and permits (at the bottom of the page). Read Dr. Marvin Dunn’s letter to the editor in the Miami Herald. Read Commissioner Richard Dunn’s letter to the editor here. Read about Dr. Dunn’s “Food Justice for Overtown” protest here. Read about Marvin Dunn’s negotiations with the Overtown CRA officials here.

RITC Farmers Market got media attention.

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Upper East Side Farmers Market is located on the north west corner of Biscayne Boulevard and 79 St.

The newest grower-supported farmers market has opened at the Biscayne Plaza shopping center in northeast Miami. The Upper East Side Farmers Market is managed by Melissa Contreras and the Urban Oasis Project, a local non-profit which is also involved with the Liberty City Farmers Market.

Red leaf butterhead lettuce

The market is small (only four tents) but carries a wide assortment of seasonal fruits and vegetables. All the food is locally grown (within 150 miles of Miami) from several farms and market gardens, and most of it is organic. The selection changes from one week to the next, and some things sell out quickly — so come early for arugula and callaloo. (Those sold out early two weeks in a row.) Some of the produce available last Saturday was sweet starfruit, stubby forked carrots, beautiful red leaf butterhead lettuce that looked airbrushed, bunches of dill and parsley, massive purple-top turnips, kale, and black sapote, just to mention a few things.

In addition to fresh produce, the market offers a wide selection of prepared foods, which also vary from one week to the next. Art Friedrich, co-founder of Urban Oasis, brought quart jars of brine-cured sauerkraut, and zucchini bread to die for. Oval loaves of artisanal bread lay in a basket next to local wildflower honey and Hani’s Organics baba ghanoush. On the next Saturday, bagged worm castings and bottles of worm tea (natural fertilizer) were available from Fertile Earth Foundation. The most surprising discovery was one-pound bags of rice, both white and brown, organically grown in Florida (in rotation with sugar cane) south of Lake Okeechobee.

Friends hanging out at the market.

I visited the market on the first two Saturdays it was open, and each time it was busy with a steady stream of customers. Melissa Contreras, co-founder of Urban Oasis, guess-timated that they had at least 100 shoppers on the first Saturday. Prices at this new market are a bit lower than what you might expect to see at a farmers market, plus they accept food stamps and match EBT purchases up to $10.

“The point of this market is to bring the communities together,” said Kelliann McDonald, spokesperson for Terranova, the center’s developer. She pointed out that the location is right between an upscale neighborhood and a poorer one. She envisions the market becoming common ground for both groups.

For several hours on Saturday, people shopped, tasted fruit, hung out for a little bit and told stories at this brave new market. Whether it will become a community hub remains to be seen, but one can only hope the people in the area, both rich and poor, will embrace the farmers and their bounty.

Look for the Upper East Side Farmers Market in front of Payless at Biscayne Plaza Shopping Center, located on the northwest corner of Biscayne Blvd. and 79 St. in Miami. Open on Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm until May 28, 2011.

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