Review: Pinecrest Gardens Farmers' Market

This market inside the lush Pinecrest Gardens is home to as many as 65 vendors during the high season, which begins December 1 and ends in mid-May. One of them is Copperpots, a tiny company owned by Tom Wilfong and his girlfriend, Vanessa Safie. Together, they produce jams and marmalades with flavors including rum raisin, apple butter, jalapeño, and pineapple five-spice. The pair also prepares local strawberry and mango jams when the fruits are in season.

Copperpots' products are always made in small batches with all-natural ingredients. An eight-ounce jar goes for $7, and a four-ouncer costs $4. By 2 p.m. the day we visited, the couple had already sold out of their most coveted flavors: apple butter and pineapple.

Another vendor is Zak the Baker, a bread-maker who specializes in handmade sourdough. Zak Stern, who founded the bakery, arrives at the market at 9:30 a.m. His breads typically sell out within a few minutes, and by 10 a.m. he has already cleared his stand and left.

Shoppers should arrive as early as possible. The first hour is the best time to grab locally produced foods.

Later in the day, the market is studded with tents peddling a variety of items, such as imported Tuscan olive oil and commercial Colombian Oma brand coffee. "There are many vendors at Pinecrest making so many different things," Wilfong says. "It's important to find the people who are there because they are passionate about what they do, not the ones that are there just for the buck.

The Market Company operates this market, along with ten others across Miami-Dade. Their mission is to attract people from the surrounding community. So it offers variety: olive oil, coffee, barbecue, smoothies, ice cream, jams, bread, produce, and many other items. It's a model that the company has already perfected. It's also another reason why you have to show up early. By the afternoon, the parking lot is typically full.

Pinecrest Gardens Farmers' Market, 11000 Red Rd., Pinecrest. Open year-round, Sundays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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