Best Fruit and Veggie Van (2007)

The van in Little Haiti near a church

At night this space is an empty lot, desolate and spooky. By day it's a thriving mini farmer's market in the middle of bustling Little Haiti, usually staffed by Bernadette, a large Haitian woman who doesn't speak English but has a mile-wide smile. She and a few other Haitians sit under umbrellas and sell produce straight from Homestead out of the back of a van. Sometimes they stack crates of produce on tables, sometimes not. Onions, peppers, and muddy-looking root vegetable offerings come and go, but plump papayas, sweet pineapples, and tall stalks of sugarcane are mainstays. Occasionally Bernadette fires up a grill and roasts corn ears to sell, and another woman comes by to peddle housedresses. Pineapples go for around $3 to $4 (as opposed to $5 to $7 at Publix and Whole Foods), but feel free to haggle. Don't be surprised if you get your final tally in Kreyol — that's part of the joy and adventure of Miami, and of buying fruit out of the back of a van.


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