Patty and Mitch

Where do you live?
We live in the Redlands.

How long have you lived in the area? 
We’ve lived out here for 32 years.

Where are you originally from and what brought you to town?
Mitch moved here in the late 70’s and bought the property, where we live, to start his first company. His company sold dish gardens (miniature landscape scenes). That’s how we met! I was the buyer at a nursery in Kendall and he would come by with his truck and I would buy things.

Please share about what you do for a livelihood or what keeps you busy during the week?
We started Living Colors Nursery in 1993. We are now a 15-acre facility, specializing in bromeliads and orchids. We are known for our variety of 20 different colored guzmania bromeliads and pride ourselves on growing a high-quality plant that will hold up indoors. In the growing facilities, we specialize in integrated pest management (vs harsh chemicals) which means we take natural insects and harbor them into the nursery to combat the bad insects. It’s a really cool symbiotic environment.

How often do you come to the market?
I am at market almost every Sunday. I take off some weeks in the cooler weather because of my involvement in the Scouts.

Do you have a market ritual? If so, please describe.
My market ritual starts on Friday. We start by putting together a beautiful assortment of plants and the special orders that people call me for during the week. I leave my house at 6:15 AM on Sunday morning and it takes about an hour to set up my 10 x 10 booth. I will probably have music playing while setting up – anything from easy listening to Coldplay to Moody Blues (I try to keep the hard rock down to the afternoon.)  

What’s your favorite thing to buy at LNB Grovestand and why?
My favorite thing is a hug from Adena. Besides that, I like the rainbow smoothie and really enjoy the benefits of the Turmeric Tonic. I have arthritis in my back and it helps a lot when I use the tonic. When I am having issues with my back and I drink the tonic in the morning, by later in the afternoon I feel a lot better. It works that fast for me.

What have you made with ingredients bought at LNB Grovestand?
When you have bananas, I make my mom’s famous banana bread. (Recipe is below)

What’s your favorite thing to buy at other stands at the market?
I enjoy getting cut flowers each Sunday from Sidney. I also like the natural soaps and products from Reeny’s Butterflies, Blooms & Bees. I have purchased many of the soaps as gifts and I like the candles from Fatima.

For parents: A favorite activity we enjoy with our kids?
For many many years, I have been active with the PTSA at my kid’s schools. I found that being an active parent within the Miami Dade Public School system aids in the productivity of my kid’s academic life. I think that when parents get involved, it keeps them in touch with what’s happening, and helps to teach kids to give back to the community.

Most-frequented local restaurants and what dish to order:
We really like to cook – when we go out, we like Thai and Asian food. We like Bangkok Cuisine in Homestead. We order the spicy beef salad and green papaya salad.

For special occasions, I go to: 
North! We like Seasons 52 (way up in Coral Gables).

What’s the area’s best-kept secret?
John Pennekamp Park offers kayak rentals and you can go through the lagoons area. They have various levels and it is not expensive. We recently went with family visiting from out of town and it was so fun. The water is crystal clear and it’s a wonderful experience.

Rainy-day activity:
I like baking and crocheting. I recently started arm knitting .(making blankets from yarn with only your hands)

Do you participate in any community or philanthropic events that you would like to share? 
Scouting in general is very dear to my heart. I went through the scouting program as a young girl and have continued it for both my kids. Until Hurricane Andrew, it had never occurred to me how much the life skills I learned come into play. I remember Mitch asking me where I learned all these things. My daughter has received the highest honor –  the Gold Award and my son is in troop 69, within a year of becoming an Eagle Scout.

If you would like readers to be able to contact you, how should they get in touch?