Pinecrest Gardens' Green Market is one of the few of its ilk that runs year-round. Though the market offers local fruits, vegetables, honey, and baked goods during the slow summer months, it gets into full-swing around now.
We took a walk through the green market this past weekend (It is held Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and found a host of local eats ready for Sunday supper in addition to the stands filled with farm fresh produce from Homestead and Redland.
What pleased us the most was the fact that so many products were being made right here in Miami. This is a trend that we hope you'll encourage by checking our some of these vendors -- including a few that you may not have heard of until now.
Roc Kat Ice Cream Company
Allan Vino had a successful legal career in New York when he and his wife decided they wanted to try something new. So, just a few months ago, they moved to Miami and started Roc Kat Ice Cream Company. Now, Allan devotes his time to his three passions -- food, music, and animals. Roc Kat ice cream is made in Miami using local artisan ingredients -- many of which Vino picks up from his neighbors at the green market, like local honey and tropical fruit. His hand-churned ice cream flavors vary by what's available, but we discovered a delightfully tart pumpkin cheesecake, chocolate hazelnut, and coffee and doughnuts (made with doughnuts from Mandarin Gourmet). Cups are $4 each. Be sure to drop a few coins in the collection box for local animal charities while you're there.
If the name sounds familiar, it's likely you saw Proper Sausages on Blue Collar's menu or recall chef Danny Serfer tweeting about these hand-crafted sausages. Freddy & Danielle Kaufmann started making sausages after Danielle, originally from England, complained that the United States had very little in the way of "proper sausages." What does one do when faced with a challenge? Start a sausage factory, of course. Proper Sausages uses only quality meat cuts from heritage pigs for their pork sausages (four for $12). Varieties change, but recent offerings included a mint and garlic lamb sausage (four for $14) in addition to two pork selections.
Cutler Bay Hot Sauce Company
Tony Crapello's dream in life was to make a really good hot sauce. After years of experimentation, he came up with the right blend of habanero and scotch bonnet peppers. Soon, friends craved it and Crapello turned his passion into a business. Now, Cutler Bay Hot Sauce Company makes seven different varieties, but all are still made in Cutler Bay and the business is still family run. (That's Tony's son Domenick, wife Angie, and daughter Lindsay at the hot sauce tent.) Sauces are $5 for one, $20 for a gift pack and about fifty cents from each bottle of hot sauce is donated to Wounded Warrior Project.
Surf & Turf Catering
The key to the freshness and low prices of Mark and Alfredo Valdes' Surf & Turf Catering is all in the family. One nephew runs a boat out of Everglades City, where the best stone crabs are found, while another nephew catches fresh fish and lobster out of Key West. $17 gets you a pound of sweet claws -- plus a side of rice, cole slaw, or vegetables. That translates into some good snacking for game day.
Laurie's Pantry Granola
Last December, Laurie decided to make some home-made granola for a holiday treat. That single bag of raisin nut granola turned into a business, as people wanted more -- and were willing to pay for it. Laurie's Pantry is a flavorful granola, packed in reusable mason jars. Traditional flavors are supplemented by seasonal varieties. We really love the Witches' Brew, which has a hint of licorice. ($10 per jar, take 50 cents off when you return your jar for reuse.)
Hani's Mediterranean Organics
If there is such a thing as "goat cheese supplier to the stars", then Hani Khouri deserves that title. Hani's Mediterranean Organics farm in Redland provides some stellar chefs with cheese. Now, you can buy direct at Pinecrest Gardens. Hani and his wife Mary Lee offer fresh goat cheese ($12), labneh ($10), falafel, and stuffed grape leaves. Get to the market early for the best selection.