In what part of town do you live?
I’m near Coconut Grove. I’ve been in Miami, on and off, for over 30 years.
Where else have you lived?
I’ve been going to Montauk for the summers for the last eight years or so. It’s a job that I work in the summer – a bar tending gig at a place called the Surf Lodge. It’s a live music venue. Montauk is a nice town and a good escape from Miami for me.
What keeps you busy during the week when you’re in town?
Recently, I’ve been going to help my friend with the Million Orchid Project at Fairchild Tropical Garden. I’ve been enjoying that. And, then working out at the gym and playing golf when I have the time.
I know you’ve been working on an innovative hat design, how’s that going and can you share about the idea?
I’m working to get a patent on the idea. It’s a magnetic hat where the structural element of the hat is a magnetic material and you’re able to use interchangeable patches or panels depending on which sports team or branding you want to show. It hasn’t been an easy project.
How long have you been working on it?
I’ve been working on it for five years and been trying to get the patent for three.
What’s that process of getting a patent like?
I started writing things up on my own and realized I needed a lawyer. So, I’ve been working with a lawyer for a little over three years. First getting it all written up wasn’t an easy process and took six months. Now, we’ve been going back and forth with the examiner for about a year and a half. They give you their opinion and base their judgment on what’s been applied for in the past and what’s similar to your idea.
What advice would you give someone looking to patent their idea?
You have to have an understanding of what’s been applied for and what’s out there. And, definitely shop around for the right lawyer. Half the battle is getting on the same page as your lawyer. They don’t really have an understanding until you explain it to them – and that’s not always the easiest part of the process.
Over the last five years, what have you learned – or what might you do differently?
I feel like I spent too much money on inventory. I made so made so many hats -because when you manufacture anything overseas there are such high minimums. Even though it seems cheaper, it’s essentially the same final price you would pay in the U S. And, it’s likely they’ll send you a sample that looks good, but when it’s manufactured, it’s not always the same.
You mentioned the Million Orchid Project. What is that?
It was started by my friend, Jason Downing, who is the head orchid biologist at Fairchild Tropical Garden. Essentially, we’re installing and planting a million orchids in Miami Dade County over a five year period. I started volunteering two years ago and have planted over a thousand orchids.
How do you install an orchid?
There’s different ways, depending on which kind of orchid, because there’s so many varieties. Ground orchids, obviously plant in the ground. But most orchids thrive if you attach them to trees. Depending on the variety of orchid, it can be grown on various materials. First, you remove the material from the root system and then attach it to the tree with twine. Once it’s attached, it takes time, rain, and a certain environment for the specific plant to thrive. Eventually it attaches and can live for many years.
What do you enjoy about it?
I’m all about it, man. Many of these plants were considered native to our environment but were eradicated with civilization. So it’s really a blessing to reintroduce them to their natural habitat. I’m still learning and it’s better than signing up for a class and going to school.
How often do you come to the market?
I try to come every Sunday when I’m in town.
What’s your ritual like when you come?
I like to come to LNB Groves and have a smoothie and speak to you about new and different things happening. Then, I like to see Pam at her stand (V&B Farms) and then just try to interact with the local farms. Mostly, just trying to buy and support local.
What are your favorite things from our stand?
While they last, I love the avocados. Your mameys are fabulous. The smoothies are great. I love the Fruit Roll-Ups. And the Turmeric Tonic has really helped me. And then, I like interacting with you all. With as much negative things that are happening, it’s a positive thing to support local farms.
How does the Turmeric help you?
Various things for inflammation, I’ve had some foot surgeries and it helped me get through without taking too much synthetic medication. And, I know it’s good to cleanse my liver as well, so I just enjoy it. I know that it’s not an easy process to make and also to grow all those ingredients. It’s great!
What do you think would make the market better?
Where do you like to go out for food?
That’s tricky for me. I cook my own food. That was a decision I made about five years ago. That way, I know what I’m putting in my body. You can go somewhere and they’ll say something on the menu and then all of the sudden it’s something else. When I eat out, maybe I’ll have lunch at the Last Carrot in Coconut Grove. I trust the food there.
What do you typically cook?
I eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but I do eat fish.Typically, I’ll saute some vegetables, make quinoa, or recently I found something called teff and I’ve been mixing it with the quinoa.
What’s Miami’s best kept secret?
Free Yoga at Peacock Park in the Grove on Tuesdays and Thursdays from six to seven.
What’s a worthy splurge?
Going on a boat.
What’s a fun rainy day activity?
Have you read anything recently that you recommend?
I recommend everybody read Sadhguru’s book Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy .
What community events are coming up that people should know about?
Art Basel for sure. That’s coming up in December. The whole week brings culture to the city. I like to interact with other artists and creative people.
We typically ask if people would like to pitch something they are working on, is there anything you would like to share?
I would encourage people to go and volunteer at Fairchild and help out with the orchids. It’s a big project and there’s a lot happening.
Is there a question you’d like to ask us?
You know, I’m just happy to contribute to this. I’m happy you guys are still going to the market and still doing it every Sunday.
Is there something you might like to ask or challenge the community?
Eat more local. It’s always been a goal of mine to grow my own food. I aspire to be like you guys in the future.
Any final thoughts?
I’m just trying to be a better person every day.
(A+W) Thank you so much Andy. See you on Sunday.