What part of town do you live in?
How long have you lived in Coral Gables?
Since the late 70’s. I got my first job at a radio station in Coral Gables. I’m from Miami Springs and have lived here since I was 12.
What were you doing at the radio station?
I was hired as an entry level reporter. I ended up staying there for six years – which is an eternity in radio.
What keeps you busy now during the week?
I spend a lot of time doing different things for Edible (South Florida). No two days are the same. It’s visiting markets, interviewing people, distributing magazines, going to events, and going to meetings.
Would you describe Edible Magazine for our readers in case they haven’t seen it?
It’s a quarterly print publication, plus online, plus social media. Founded by two women, now there are about 90 (different Edible) publications in North America. Each of the publications celebrates its own community, but we are all joined by a common mission of supporting local foods, farms, and artisans. What that looks like is very different from one publication to the next. We were the first in Florida, but now we have Edible Northeast Florida, Edible Orlando, and Edible Sarasota.
What’s your favorite part of the issue that comes out next week?
We focused on Italian foods and restaurants where the chefs and owners are from Italy. Not to disparage Italian Americans, but we seem to have a lot of restaurants right now where the chefs are presenting food that is truly and genuinely Italian. This is very dear to my heart, because in a past life I was in the retail shoe business with my sister.
We carried beautiful Italian shoes. The business lasted for 18 years. The best part of the business, aside from
gorgeous shoes, was making long lasting friendships with Italians. We had a cultural exchange. They would come here with their shoes, and we’d invite them to our house for dinner and vice versa. Not only did we gain a love of Italian food, but a love of Italian hospitality.
Did you find the same hospitality while putting together the issue in any of the restaurants?
Oh, absolutely. It’s an Italian spirit.
How do you come up with the idea for an issue? What is the process like?
We’re only quarterly so we can give some advanced thought to it. Our issues are seasonal, so we make sure that our recipes for any given issue reflect what’s available locally in the marketplace. I won’t write about mangoes in the middle of winter. That dictates a lot of the food part. Then we have a cover theme. We have a lot of excellent columnists. They are free to write about whatever they feel compelled to write about. But we do let them know the theme, for example, Italian.
After 10 years, where do you think Edible South Florida is going?
We aim to earn your trust through well reported articles, but I am absolutely looking forward to doing a little more advocacy on issues that are important to the community within the context of what we write about. That segues into this interview. Will we move the needle? I don’t know, but we’re nearly 10 years old. I think we may have a little more clout than we did nine years ago.
What do you enjoy most about it?
I like packaging it to make sure every story big or small has something the reader can either learn from, experience, or taste. I like to round up everything and put it in a package so that if this is interesting to you, you can find out more and do something about it. We have readers who range from really accomplished chefs to people who have yet to figure out how to chop an onion properly. But what they have in common is that they’re interested and they’re engaged. I have to write for all of those people. That’s a fun challenge for me.
How often do you come to the Pinecrest market?
Sometimes I go every other week, and sometimes it depends on other markets.
When you go to a market, what is your ritual like?
I visit markets for two different reasons. I visit a market personally because I like to shop there. I try really hard to source from the local markets. I love to bake, and I love to get eggs at the market because I genuinely believe they make better cakes and cookies. But if I’m putting on my business hat, I’m going for a different reason. I’m looking for new vendors. I’m seeing who’s selling what, and I get a chance to talk and visit with them and find stories. That’s really and truly where I get the source of my stories. I talk with folks like you and Bee Heaven or farmer Fred at Southwest Community Market and find out what’s going on, what’s growing and happening. And every single time I will find a story that may appear in the magazine.
What are your favorite things from LNB?
Nourishment in many ways. I love your rainbow smoothies. I got one the last time I was at the Gables market and not only was it delicious, but it hits the spot because it gives me that wonderful ‘brain freeze’. I get these migraines and I have found that brain freeze is really, really helpful in halting it.
What do you think our market is missing?
You know, I’m not shy about this stuff. Once upon a time it felt like there were more local farmers year round and now it seems to be much more about prepared foods. Is it still a farmer’s market? This is a very specific complaint that we get: A person calls me up and asks, ‘Where’s the good farmer’s market? I just moved here.’ And then I’m told, ‘I already went there, but that’s not the kind of farmer’s markets we have in Michigan, where I come from…’ We could all learn from some of what they are doing up there.
Before we ask for restaurant suggestions – your daughter, Katie, and her husband, Andy, have one of our favorite restaurants in Miami, The Seven Dials. What do you like to order there?
Thank you for mentioning that. Everybody loves the fish and chips, but I love spicy food and they have like a lot of Indian dishes on the menu. That’s what I look for. They have curry night, and Andy, because it’s a gastro-pub, gets to fool around with whatever he wants to fool around with. So I like to see what that looks or tastes like. If I’m down in Homestead, I’ll pick up strawberries at Knaus Berry Farm and bring them to the restaurant.
Where else do you like to eat?
I love Ghee. I think Niven is doing Indian food like nobody else in this country. And the fact that he’s growing much of it is just so special. We went to the opening of Salumeria 104’s second location. They’ve had one in Midtown for a few years. It’s very Italian, and it’s reasonable. You can get three different kinds of prosciutto. It’s just terrific.
What’s a worthy splurge?
What’s a good rainy-day activity?
Making bread. I think, for the home baker, making bread is a very rewarding thing. Also making a big pot of soup, like a big pot of chicken soup – whatever that looks like from your background. When I was sick last week, my son-in-law said I’ll be right there. And then he said, look on your doorstep and there was his chicken soup, which happens to have a lot of fresh dill and a lot of garlic and potatoes. Not that I could taste much of it. Our family recipe is very heavy on celery and carrots. If I’m inspired, I’ll put in little spaetzle dumplings – because that’s what my grandma did. But for a rainy day, making a big pot of soup or whatever is comfort food for you fills the house with wonderful smells.
What community events are coming up that you might like to promote or share?
Every April it’s national poetry month. We partner with the O, Miami Poetry Festival because we love their exuberance, their creativity and their crazy events to expose everybody in Miami Dade to a poem. They commissioned a Miami artist, Jesse Nite, to do something at Robert is Here in the papaya field. It’s called ‘Stay Gold’. It’s a huge sculpture, and it’s a permanent thing. It’s based on a Robert Frost poem. There’s going to be activities around it throughout the year. Now when you go south you will see this big ‘Stay Gold’ in the field. Within the negative space of the letters you’ll see the palm trees or the sunset. Another smaller project they’re doing is like the little Chiquita banana stickers. They’re making fruit stickers and each one has a little poem on it. They’re very colorful and very cute. The poems could be a few lines from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas or from elementary students. We’ve been helping distribute them. I’ll try to get you some. You can put them on your fruit. Go on their website omiami.org for the full list of many activities. They have more than one a day.
Would you like to share a pitch about Edible?
We are a free, advertisement supported, publication. It helps us when our readers support people who advertise with us. And if you’re a local business and you want to advertise with us, give us a call. Our readers are very loyal and they would rather support a local business versus something online.
Is there a question you would like to ask us?
How do you continue parlaying your wonderful community building skills? Do you have a bigger plan for building community, knowing as I know that you have it in your family’s genes? I’ve seen firsthand how you connect people in person at your stand. In other words, you’re not just selling fruit, you are community building.
(A+W) I was just listening to an interview about someone who started a community center and I was blown away and thought it’s something we could do. Imagine a community center with a full time farmer’s market – a place like Pinecrest Gardens, but every day with a roof. A place to get locally grown produce and see friends. I don’t know if we’re better suited to do it on the farm or closer to where the people are. Both have their advantages. Something to talk about. Also, we will be doing some pop-up days out of our commercial kitchen this summer with green jackfruit dishes. Adena is recipe testing now.
Is there a question you would like to pose to the community or words of advice?
I think the community and certainly our readers know that supporting small local businesses is more important than ever. I would urge them to do that.
What did I not ask you that you would like to share?
That’s always my last question too! Coming up on 10 years, it feels like we’ve really seen the needle move regarding the awareness of local foods, availability of local foods, great small entrepreneurial restaurants, and big good fine dining restaurants. There’s an awareness of our wonderful tropical fruits and South Florida owns that space! I’ve said it many times, but you and Adena have single-handedly introduced South Florida to Jack Fruit for which we are extremely grateful. We’ve seen it happening over 10 years and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.