Where do you live?
In the High Pines neighborhood.
How long have you lived in the area?
Just over five years.
Where are you originally from and what brought you to town?
I grew up in the house my parents still live in, a mile and a half south of here. I came back to town to work for Mayor Gimenez to do economic development and because my wife and I were attracted to the opportunity to raise a family here.
Please share about what you do for a livelihood or what keeps you busy during the week?
Now, I am the head of development for Terranova. We develop, own, manage, and invest in commercial real estate.
How did you go from working for the city to the private sector?
For about a decade after graduate school I worked on commercial real estate transactions at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, where it was my responsibility to finding new uses and new users for about a decade after graduate school. I loved that work. I moved to Miami to do similar work for Mayor Gimenez. While I was working for the county, I got to know Stephen Bittel [Chairman and Founder of Terranova]. I wanted an opportunity to be more than an advocate on the government level, but to actually transform neighborhoods and the street life in Miami, and I was grateful to have the opportunity to work for someone who is both a visionary and a very astute investor.
What current projects are you excited about?
We’re opening a food hall on Meridian Avenue just steps from Lincoln Road, called the Lincoln Eatery. It will have an eclectic assortment of 16 different purveyors of food. We are targeting an opening just after Thanksgiving.
Where do you see the biggest growth in Miami real estate right now?
We are re-developing the Pepsi Bottling Plant in Doral, a 24 acre site in Doral, it’s consistently the fastest growing city in Florida and one of the fastest in the Country.
How often do you come to the Pinecrest market?
As often as I can, not often enough.
Do you have a market ritual? If so, please describe.
First stop is always LNB. I Say hello to Walt, who I’ve known since nursery school. I like to do a lap and see what’s new. It’s hard to resist the temptation for a gluten free chocolate cookie from Zak the Baker. And, I like to take time to run into friends along the way.
What’s your favorite thing to buy at LNB Grovestand and why?
My favorite smoothie is the Sapodelicious. I love Jackfruit and all your seasonal fruits. I had seen Jackfruit but didn’t get to taste it until I saw Adena break down a whole fruit a couple years ago. I like that there is a little bit of funkiness, it’s meaty, tastes like Juicy Fruit gum and I love propagating the seeds in my back yard.
Are any of the trees growing?
I had about 10 trees in pots. I gave most to friends. I have one planted that’s about four years old. It’s a vigorous grower. I just topped it off – it was already 15 feet.
A favorite activity I enjoy with my kids?
Hanging out at the Beach at Crandon Park.
The best deal at the market is:
The LNB fruit is unrivaled in quality.
What is the market missing?
I always wished there was a simple way to identify which of the produce is local. I would love to know what’s grown within 100 miles. Also, I am really into fermenting things at home. I think there is an opportunity for lacto-fermented vegetables at the market.
What’s your favorite place in Miami?
Fairchild Garden. Whenever anyone comes to town that doesn’t know about Miami, the first place I suggest is the garden. It’s my happy place.
Do you have a family recipe that you would be willing share?
I started a vegan diet in January and have been cooking at lot at home. This weekend, I made spicy garden quinoa. I boiled quinoa and mixed it with freshly sautéed winged beans, sweet potato leaves, malabar spinach, onion, tomato and turmeric. The flavors came together beautifully, and it was bright yellow from the turmeric. I served it with fermented celery stalks that I started two weeks ago, a side of our homemade red sauerkraut, black beans and tortillas.
What’s the area’s best-kept secret?
You can eat all the mangos you want without buying them, if you’re willing to go for a walk through the residential areas during mango season.
A worthy splurge:
Heirloom seeds for the vegetable garden. I recently bought several dozen packets of unfamiliar vegetables and beans to experiment with in my backyard garden. I ordered them from rareseeds.com which I learned about through the Mother Earth news website.
Is there a question that you would like to ask the LNBs?
You have been investing the Pinecrest market and building the LNB brand and developing a loyal following that is enthusiastic about what you sell. To me, it seems like the sky is the limit. Where do you see yourselves going from here?
(A+W) This week, we are launching local pickups. We hope this will enable us to share with more people in South Florida. Soon, we will start shipping nationwide.
Is there a challenge or something you’d like to share with the community?
Beyond shopping at farmer’s markets, and supporting csa’s, how can ordinary people help support more local farmers and locally based food based businesses?