What part of town do you live in?
Pinecrest – since ’91
Would you share a little about your family?
My wife, Robin, and I have two boys that are 37 and 35 who live in Orlando and St Pete. And, we have five grandkids.
What brought you to town? Where are you originally from?
I was born in Miami and have lived in the South end of town my entire life. I lived at my nursery in Homestead for 11 years.
Please share about what you do for a livelihood or what keeps you busy during the week?
I do two things. I’m in the nursery business. My wife and I have a wholesale container nursery right off US1 near Coral Castle. I’m also a psychotherapist. So, in the evenings, and various times of the day, I see people for one on one therapy.
Which came first? The therapy or the nursery?
The nursery came first. Getting into my own personal therapy got me into the career of being a therapist.
Have you ever drawn any parallels between the two businesses?
I’ve attempted to draw many. The nursery business is therapeutic for me and I think that plants are healing for people – whether it’s simply looking at them, or actually being the person who plants and takes care of your yard. Once upon a time, I was treating older adults in a hospital setting. Because I’m a horticulturist, I would have them plant seeds and watch them grow. Since these people were going to be under our care for an extended period of time, they would actually be able to see something from their efforts.
What do you grow in your nursery?
I grow interior foliage. I grow some exterior material and there is a huge market now for something called spring tropical color.
What is Spring Tropical Color?
Plants that might be a landscape item for us down here, are sent around the US and Canada for use in private yards, patios or public spaces. And then in the fall when the temperatures drop, they throw it all away and then redo the same thing again the following year.
Who are your customers?
Independent garden centers, retail wholesalers and local landscapers.
How have you seen the nursery business change over the last 30 years?
The biggest change is the box stores getting into it. We went from a cottage industry to monster nurseries. The biggest one in the United States is out of South Dade. A lot of local nurseries are completely dependent on selling to them.
Do you have any tips for our readers looking to put something in their yard?
Yes, please use a professional. The biggest problem for homeowners is finding the right plant for the right place. They put things that have different water requirements right next to each other or things that need sunlight and shade in the same place. Landscaping is the only thing you will do to your house that will cause it to increase in value through time. You put a new stove in your house or a new refrigerator and it starts decreasing in value from the day you put it in. As landscapes mature, they cause a home to increase in value.
How often do you come to the Pinecrest Market?
Every week that I’m in town.
And what’s your ritual when you come?
Honestly, for the most part, I come straight to you. I get my tonic and I leave.
How long have you been drinking our tonic and why?
A year and a half. I have a genetically bad back and I also work out a lot. I do both cardio and weight work. I also do something called collagen hydrolysate (aka bone broth). I started taking turmeric in a pill form before I ever knew about your stuff. It’s about reducing cellular inflammation. Your tonic is so much more concentrated and has more active ingredients that you’re ever going to get from one of those little pills. I haven’t had a back issue in many months. It’s been a long time. This is the longest period of time that my back has been stable in forever. And what’s the only difference? The only difference really is your tonic. My wife drinks it every day, as do I, and I’ve turned a number of people onto it. I coincidentally even ran into one of my good friends, who is a very holistic human being, and she opens up her refrigerator and there it is, your tonic, sitting inside of her refrigerator.
How much do you drink each day and what time of day do you drink it?
I drink eight ounces every day around 6:00 in the evening.
What do you think the market is missing? What would you like to see?
I’ve never even thought about that. I guess more prepared healthy foods. I’m trying to eat more whole foods and stay away from processed stuff. I’d like more food that was really healthy – maybe macrobiotic.
Where do you go out to eat locally and what do you get?
Seasons 52. They always have stuff I can eat there. And Matsuri for Japanese – I avoid the rice and get sashimi and vegetable soup. They have a great conch that’s sautéed with what seems to be green beans or maybe it’s cactus.
Where do you go for a special occasion?
Capital Grille. When I go to there, my diet is going to get busted up. I’ll get a steak. Their mashed potatoes are ridiculously good. And then, their desserts are also ridiculous… or the cheesecakes.
What do you like to cook at home?
Mostly fish and vegetables. I have a recipe that’s my own ‘freak out’ recipe that people who cook say, man, you can’t combine those things together. It’s like taking different cultures and mixing them in the same dish. I take a brush and put toasted sesame oil on both sides of salmon. I take a dijon – like a Grey Poupon – and smear that on there too. And then I take dill and sprinkle it all over the top. And it’s unfreakingbelievable. I bake a 2-3 pound salmon at 375 for 25 minutes. I cut it up after it’s cooked so it doesn’t dry out.
What’s the area’s best-kept secret?
Not that it’s a secret, but the tour at the Biltmore Hotel is so interesting and I absolutely love it. You learn more about Miami than you ever knew and it’s led by people that are so knowledgeable.
What’s a worthy splurge?
Besides Capital Grille – Vacation. A week from today, we’re leaving for Budapest and Prague for a week. That’s a splurge. I’ve got to get more information from you Sunday on how to take the tonic with me.
(A+W): If you are checking a bag, we have frozen the concentrate into ice cubes and filled an insulated Kleen Kanteen (or similar). It stays really cold for a long time.
Do you participate in any community or philanthropic events that you would like to share?
Robin’s raising money to give to homeless kids at South Ridge High School. That’s her baby right now. If you would like more information or to donate, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . I am the past president of the Nursery Association for the State of Florida. I have given incredible amounts of time to the nursery association over the last several years.
Is there a question you would like to ask the LNBs?
Are there other products like your tonic, that are restorative, heart healthy that you are working on?
(A+W) For sure. We are planting more medicinal plants and working on recipes that encourage more people to try new things. One of our favorite sights is kids drinking our rainbow smoothies. As colorful and attractive as they are to kids, they are getting so many good fruits and kale – without knowing it.