Jason and Melanie Schoendorfer

Where do you live?

How long have you lived in the area? 
About 13 years in Kendall and South Miami before that

Where are you originally from and what brought you to town?
Jason: I was born here, so I guess it just happened.

Mel: I married a guy who was born here. Originally from Timmins, Ontario (aka home of Shania Twain)

How did you meet?
Mel: We met in Orlando at Starbucks. Jason was serving coffee. I was working for Disney and living in their compound. The only real escape (because I didn’t have a car) was the strip mall with a Starbucks.  It was the only place I could get a good coffee, and Jason was the one making it.

Jason: They threw some epic parties at the Disney compound. When I was in Orlando, I was going to school for audio engineering. Mel was DJ’ing at one of the parties. I pretty much had to meet her after that.

Please share about what you do for a livelihood or what keeps you busy during the week?
Mel: The last three weeks have been pretty much a blur. We just opened our first retail store, Babe’s Meat & Counter, in Palmetto Bay. We have our butcher shop set up, we make sandwiches, we’re trying to keep up with production and we’re doing farmer’s markets on the weekends.  We’re averaging 12-hour days, 7 days a week. We are always working together.

Jason: I’m living the sausage life.

How often do you come to the market?
We’re at the Pinecrest Market every Sunday year round.

Do you have a market ritual? If so, please describe.
Jason: I start at about 4:15 in the morning. I go to the shop, load up all of the market gear and all of the product, and try to get to the market as early as possible to set up. It takes a couple hours to set up our rig. It’s a lot of cooler full of sausage. Usually we’re done by 5 or 6, pick up our daughter – have a nice dinner and decompress.

Mel: I come in a little later. I bring our daughter to J’s mom, who will watch her during the day. I go pick up the bagels and bread and am usually at the market around 8. Pretty much as soon as people see me there it’s go go go.

What’s your favorite thing to buy at LNB Grovestand and why?
Mel: It’s a toss up between a Rainbow Smoothie and the good ‘ol Turmeric Tonic.

Jason: The tonic helps me recover at the end of the day when my muscles are fatigued – it’s give that extra little boost. I know the health benefits, but honestly I just like the flavor. I also miss the jackfruit. Maybe because I haven’t had it in a while, I’m really craving it.

What have you made with ingredients bought at LNB Grovestand?
Your curry leaf is a staple of our dry cure for our Montreal Smoke Meat. We subbed it out the bay leaf. It gives it something special.

What’s your favorite thing to buy at other stands at the market?
If we get a minute, a Gyro. …and some cookies from Zak.

A favorite activity I enjoy with my kids?
Friday night dance party – we turn on some music. Our daughter will play a tambourine and pretend to play guitar. The three of us will dance and sing until somebody passes out. 

The best deal at the market is:
Sybil’s coffee. And, for us the best deal is bartering with other vendors.

Favorite market story:
Jason: I thought it was pretty interesting the day I looked over at your booth and you had Lenny Kravitz and Rita Marley three feet from each other. I know Rita visits you often and it was the first time I had seen Lenny there. If they had just turned around, I wonder if they know each other – a musical connection.

Most-frequented local restaurants and what dish to order:
Blue CollarPho Tang and Caribbean Delite – their vegetarian chickpea and potato roti and the chicken curry paratha are really good.

For special occasions, I go to: 
Mel: A sports grill for some chicken wings. 

Do you have a family recipe that you would be willing share?
Crepes with sausage. I’ll fry up some of our maple rosemary breakfast sausage with onions and mushrooms and make some nice crepes – and top with maple syrup. The crepe is butter, milk, flour, a pink of salt and maybe some vanilla – It should be a very thin batter.

What’s the area’s best-kept secret?

A worthy splurge:
…a new showpiece meat curing cabinet for our shop.

Rainy-day activity:
Pajamas all day!

The most romantic spot around:
We work in a sausage kitchen. There are a lot of sensual things going on – stuffing, grinding and rubbing of butts….

What are your hobbies?:
Music. We pretty much have a home recording studio, a full drum kit, electric and acoustic and bass guitars, keyboards, and trumpets. The only thing we don’t have is … time. 

Do you own your own business or offer a service? Would you share a pitch about yourself or company with the community?
Mel: We couldn’t find a local mom and pop butcher shop and sandwich place. So, we started making sausage for ourselves. I grew up around it – my grandparents made sausage and salami, and cured their own prosciuttos. It snowballed from there. I worked at Joanna’s market for 10 years. I started in their catering department then took over the cheese case and when I left was a store manager. They taught me a lot – how to deal with suppliers and the basics for running a small shop. They are still super supportive of us. Now, Babe’s Meat & Counter is the mom and pop butcher shop/ sandwich place all rolled into one.

We brought in cheeses today, and we are working on our beer and wine license. Our goal is to make the things that we would want. We’re living our dream.

Is there a question that you would like to ask the LNBs?
How’s your retail spot going? We are really excited for what you are doing and creating there. And, how’s the farm recovering from Irma?

(A+W) Our retail location is amazing. It’s our playground. We are using it now for all of our market prep. It’s made everything more efficient and it’s so fun. The farms are slowly coming back after Irma.

If you would like readers to be able to contact you, how should they get in touch?
Mel: I prefer people to come to the shop. I like to talk to them, I can show off the space – I’m always whipping out meat from the back…

Address: 9216 SW 156th Street. Palmetto Bay – just south of the Ford dealer and north of the adult store.