Walter Chefitz.

In what part of town do you live?
We live in Palmetto Bay.

How long have you lived in the area?
I grew up in Pinecrest before it was called Pinecrest. I moved away for college in Boston, then to Los Angeles for seven years, then to New York for seven years, and then finally moved back to Miami.

What brought you back to Miami?
Adena brought me back. We were dating long distance for a year while I was still in New York. Our families have known each other since Adena was five. My dad was their rabbi, and they were the farmer family that always brought us boxes of fruit.

Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’ve had many careers. It seems that I’ve changed every seven years or so with the current one being the longest. My background is in design and ergonomics. I started in the software business, creating streaming audio and video applications – before Youtube. From there, I ended up becoming a jewelry designer, moving to New York, and designing in house for David Yurman for many years. And then, I married a farmer, bought a bakery, and have focused on growing the product side of a family farm.

How do you compare the three careers?
With software, the goal was to make an online experience better. With jewelry, it was to change an emotional experience. Every time you put a piece of jewelry on, my goal was to change your mood. Food is the most rewarding because it’s a true need. It changes you on every level – it can be spiritual. And, it has led to developing community, which is probably the most rewarding of all.

How did you go from designing software to designing jewelry?
My mother’s family has been on the retail side of the jewelry business for over 100 years, in New Orleans, so it’s in my blood. I was a bit bored with software, and looking to take a night school class. I enrolled at Santa Monica College in a jewelry class and quickly realized my ideas exceeded my ability to fabricate. So, I taught myself CAD and started 3D printing jewelry in 1999. When I learned about Yurman, I was enamored with his business – he was doing something new, not just with jewelry but with the business side too. They were the only company that I wanted to work for. So, I won a competition using a rendering of a piece of jewelry that did not exist, parlayed that into an interview, and eventually worked my way up to design director.

Are you still designing jewelry?
Not too much, I’ve been so busy with other projects. I have designed a few engagement rings for market customers. I love that process, first learning about them as a couple, then about their interests and setting out to design the missing piece. I feel like people only describe what they are looking for based on what they have seen on friends and in magazines. I set out to make the piece that they could not describe but fits them perfectly. It’s like solving a puzzle.

And now, with the market business, are you using those puzzle solving skills?
I’m designing on a bigger scale, mostly machines. I have been making machines for the farm and our bakery. I made a turmeric washing machine that shortens the time it takes to wash 1000 pounds of turmeric from 20 hours to 2 hours. When I watch it work, it’s the same gratification as looking at a finished piece of jewelry. I don’t feel like I created it, I feel like it came through me.

What will your next career be?
I haven’t really thought about what’s next..maybe creating a magazine. I enjoy putting together this newsletter. This is the 148th one. I’ve been growing with that process and learning how to ask questions, but really learning how to listen. My dad always said, ‘you have something to learn from every single person you meet, no matter who they are.’

What does the market mean to you?
The market is community. I’ve reconnected with old friends and made so many new ones. We look forward to it all week. And now at our drive through, it’s the same energy. At the end of the weekend, we are exhausted and happy.

What would make the market better?
Getting rid of the rules. We have to get every product that we want to bring to the market approved. That means, we can’t experiment and try new ideas using the produce on our farm. One of the best things about our drive through is that we can come up with new ideas and try them the same week.

What’s a worthy splurge for you?
Traveling to see friends.

What’s a good rainy day activity?
Designing and making things.

What local restaurants do you enjoy?
Madruga for the chicken salad sandwich, Chana for the whole fried snapper with red curry (ask for the eggplant well done), Hole in the Wall for the seared tuna on salad, Chalan on the Beach for aguadito de pescado, and Babe’s Meat & Counter for their Montreal smoked meat reuben.

What’s Miami’s best kept secret?
Edible South Florida Magazine.

What advice or challenge might you have for the community?
We are all going through a difficult time. A challenge would be to reframe the difficulties as opportunity and find a way to grow from this together. 

How can readers be in touch?