Where do you live?
Where are you originally from and what brought you to town?
Born and raised in Miami. I moved down to Key Largo, in January, to be closer to my business.
Please share about what you do for a livelihood or what keeps you busy during the week?
I own and operate a smoke shop, better known as a ‘head shop’, in Key Largo. It’s part of a franchise called Holy Smokes. We were supposed to open the weekend that Hurricane Irma hit – and instead I had to board up the shop. Luckily, we were spared and able to open two weeks later. We’ve been rocking ever since.
What’s it like running a head shop with the marijuana laws changing?
As state regulations ease up, head shops see a 30% increase in revenue. With things changing, I feel there’s a lot less scrutiny towards this industry. Now we see the closet smokers coming out. We have a wide range of customers from doctors to lawyers and teachers. It’s been an interesting ride!
How often do you come to the market?
Every Sunday! At least I try to.
Do you have a market ritual? If so, please describe.
I wake up early Sunday morning to make it to Davie by noon – it’s about a 2-hour trip from Key Largo. I visit my friend Moti, who operates Scooby’s farm. They raise goats and chickens. He does everything very humanely – and is a great guy. I get a gallon of milk, some eggs and veggies. From there, I shoot down to Pinecrest – arriving around 1:30. I always arrive as you are closing. When I get there, I go to Bee Heaven and LNB. I may visit Zak for a loaf of bread or a pizza if I am craving one.
What’s your favorite thing to buy at LNB Grovestand and why?
I always get a large smoothie – about 70% Tropikale and 30% Sapodelicious. It’s a great way to get those greens in. I don’t shop at supermarkets, so I am there to get whatever organic and local fruit is in season.
I love your sapodillas. I go bananas over your bananas – but you don’t have those this year. Your avocados are on check and everything you grow is quality.
What have you made with ingredients bought at LNB Grovestand?
I used to be raw vegan, which was one of the easiest diets for me – as I am always on the go and there is no prep involved. For about a year I was a fruitarian – and that was how I met you guys 7 years ago. I eat most everything in a raw sate. I have cooked a couple things that you taught me – like mojo yuca.
What’s your favorite thing to buy at other stands at the market?
Anything from Bee Heaven – they carry a wide variety of locally sourced produce. I get a lot of carrots, tomatoes, peppers, squash and what ever they have in season.
How did you get interested in healthy living?
I feel diet governs our mood, thoughts and decisions. As a society, we have kind of abandoned where our food comes from. We’ve given that responsibility to corporations and supermarkets and don’t often look twice.
When I was 22, I noticed that I didn’t feel good. I was tired, lethargic and sure I wasn’t supposed to feel this way. One night around 2 am, I was watching a health food documentary on Netflix and had one of those stoner-eureka moments. The next day, I bought a juicer and went to Whole Foods and bought $500 dollars of produce and did a 15-day juice fast. I noticed instantly that I had a lot more energy, was losing weight, my testosterone was through the roof – I felt on top of the world. After the fast, I looked for a transition back to food and that’s where I learned of alternative diets.
A favorite activity I enjoy with my kids?
I have a two-year-old son. We get out on the boat at least once a week.
I wish the market had:
More local farmers. Ironically, that’s what a farmer’s market is supposed to be – and it seems like it is a bunch of resellers. I know a lot of farmers in the Redlands and wish they would all be there.
Favorite market story:
It’s not one story. It’s about connecting with the farmers and learning about new varieties of fruits and vegetables. It’s always a new experience – very rarely, do I go and not learn something.
Recently, the most interesting was from Bee Heaven. It’s called green sapote. Margie told me that her tree did not have fruit for 12 years. It’s like a miniature, palm sized, mamey.
What are your hobbies?
I created all the soil in my garden, everything for my mango trees and my vegetables. I’ll use up to 15 different inputs – from quality compost, to pumice rock for aeration, peat moss for water retention, different rock dust like gypsum – and then I add worms to bring it all together. There’s no place to source a lot of these ingredients locally, so I had to ship them in.
One of my ideas is to make and sell various kinds of soil and compost. If there was a local place to get this, it might start a growing revolution.
Most-frequented local restaurants and what dish to order:
Ghee in Downtown Dadeland. I like the lentil fritters. Their vegetarian dishes are great.
Plant Food and Wine in Wynwood. I appreciate what they are doing.
For special occasions…
I like to host a party – with catered food, a live band or DJ, and have a good time. For my birthday, and the opening of our store, we had a live reggae band – Luna Live.
Do you have a family recipe that you would be willing share?
I recently made marijuana black sapote brownies with sapote I bought from you. We sell a magic butter machine at my shop. I threw about ¼ ounce of herbs and coconut oil into the machine and it simmered for about 8 hours on very low heat. I strained it and used in the brownies.
What’s the area’s best-kept secret?
If you’re coming down to the keys – check out Transylvania Avenue. It’s a private entrance to the ocean that will take you right into John Pennekamp park – where you don’t have to pay to get in.
Also, there is a full moon party in Islamorada. It’s the best beach party that I have ever been to.
A book and a joint. You can print that.
The most romantic spot around:
There’s a great Turkish restaurant on the beach called, Byblos. It’s very low lighting – they have big pillows.
Do you own your own business or offer a service? Would you share a pitch about yourself or company with the community?
Come to Holy Smokes for any of your smoking or vaping needs. With nine locations, we’re able to outbid our competitors. My location is at mile marker 103 in Key Largo. I just acquired a small piece of land, right outside my shop, that I have converted into a vegetable garden with benches. People can come, rent a hookah and enjoy the vibe.
If you would like readers to be able to contact you, how should they get in touch?