Grove Green Market: Local, Farm-Fresh Produce on Thursdays

Miamians will soon be able to shop for local, farm-fresh produce on their way home from work Thursday evenings without schlepping all the way to Homestead, thanks to the Grove Green Market.

The market, which premieres December 5, will be open every Thursday from 2 to 8 p.m. in the Coconut Grove Playhouse parking lot.

Nick Bernal of local foraging company Seasons Farm Fresh decided to start the market to give Miami residents and local farmers a chance to meet weekly and get to know each other.

"I'm born and raised in Miami and live in Coconut Grove. I work with local farms and think of myself as a link between the farmers and the community. When you buy local, you not only provide sustainable produce for your family but you give back to these farms."

Bernal is aware that Coconut Grove has an established farmers' market on Saturdays, but he says his is different. "Yes, there is a farmers' market on Saturdays. It's a good market, but their focus is on organic produce and prepared items and isn't always local. Our focus is 95 percent local. The money goes back to farms 35 miles away so these farmers can put food on the table. We're also doing our market on Thursdays so the farmers can actually come in person after their work is done for the day. We're trying to make this the market with the most active participation from real farmers, because no one is going to have more access to information on how the produce is grown than the people who grow it."

In addition to produce straight from the ground, the market will feature vendors selling local honey, olive oils, grass-fed beef, spices, and juices. There will be about 40 vendors in all, including Seasons Farm Fresh, Coconut Grove Farms, Urban Greenworks, Green Garden Organics, Michael Borek Farms, Hani's Mediterranean Organics, Freakin Flamingo Jams, Siggi's Organic Farm and Apiary, and Three Sisters Farm.

Bernal will also invite Grove shops to participate in the market, with the help of the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District. "When you have a farmers' market, people stay in the neighborhood and shop or have dinner or a few drinks. It's good for the community in so many ways."

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