Mr. Green Dean is quite elusive.
It was hard to get the farmer of exotic vegetables to answer our interview questions. And forget about a picture of him or even his full real name beyond, "My name is Dean."
No matter--the important thing is that we know the name of his alter ego--Mr. Green Dean...and we love the vegetables he grows--purple carrots, black radishes, rainbow Swiss chard, and Romanesco Veronica, to name a few.
A few years ago, Mr. Dean ran a landscaping nursery, Tropical Treescapes. Then, on the advice of a close friend, he started to grow some vegetables to increase revenue.
Hence, in October 2008, Mr. Green Dean's Vegetable Farm was born. Mr. Dean's produce is not organic, since certification isn't easy to achieve, but the veggies are sustainable--healthy and locally grown.
New Times: Were you a foodie before starting Mr. Green Dean's?
Green Dean: I have considered myself to be a good cook since college, and have always been adventuresome in my cooking. Because I'm growing some things that I and most people have never heard of it is been a good experience and a way to expand my cooking palette.
What is the most exotic vegetable you grow?
I believe it is a tossup between Romanesco Veronica (a cross between a broccoli and cauliflower that is truly one of the most beautiful vegetables you will ever see, plus it tastes really, really good), and a snake gourd, a Caribbean vegetable that somewhat resembles a snake made out of a cucumber that you cut open and stuff with meat or rice and bake. It makes a very interesting presentation when you serve it on a plate.
Which of your vegetables sells the most?
Lettuce--I grow between three and five different varieties of fairly exotic lettuce that people really seem to love. Add to that I can give instructions on how to make it last three weeks in a refrigerator.
We noticed there are some recipes on your site. Whose recipes are they?
Some were my personal recipes that I got from my mother, some were taken off the internet, some came from my Caribbean friends.
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Do you supply any local restaurants?
In the past I have sold to The Forge, JB Kitchen and Grill, Essencia at the Palms Hotel, Michael's Genuine, and several others. Because my production has been down over this past year, I have not sold as much to the restaurants as I had wanted to. The demand is there, I just can't produce enough quality product.
Order directly from the website and have your items delivered, or call 786-325-3936 to find out which farmer's markets you can pick up your Mr. Green Dean's at.