Patty Blanco

What part of town do you live in?
Palmetto Bay.

What brought you to town?
We moved around a lot for my husband’s job and then they brought us to Miami. We were only supposed to be here for three years. And, 22 years later we’re still here.

Where are you originally from?
Originally from Chicago. My husband was born in Cuba and I was born in Chicago.

What do you like most about Miami?
The weather and the water. I love having the sun out all the time. We spend a lot of time out on the water. Miami is home now. And, my husband has family here, so that’s nice.

What keeps you busy during the week?
When the kids were at school, I was very involved. Now, I’ve been helping out my son, Walker, with his company, Deep USA. My daughter, Quinn, also helps out – so its very much a family thing. It’s a dive suit company for free divers. We sell wet suits, flippers, and apparel. When he gets orders, we help pack and send them out.

How’s it going?
So far, it’s going really well. We had a huge sale this past week. It’s a lot of word of mouth and it’s all about social media. That’s been helping drive interest.

How often do you come to the Pinecrest market?
We come as often as we can…unless we’re going boating early.

When you come, what’s your ritual like?
We first go to you guys and get our smoothies and whatever fruit is in season. Then we hit Flap and Coco for pickles. Then we’ve been going to the new guy (Dave) with the meatballs (at Polpette Di Paulina). We love the Italian and chicken meatballs. We buy enough for a meal for everyone in the house and take them home. We’ll go to Tammy, at Live Pawsitively, and get something from her. And sometimes we’ll get an orchid from the small booth across from you. Their orchids last forever and they’re a very good price.

What are your favorites from our stand?
Quinn, Walker and I get the Rainbow Smoothie. My husband gets the Jackson. We always get your Turmeric Golden Coins and we get the Turmeric Tonic. Everyone in the house will have the tonic. If I have a craving for something sweet during the day, or instead of a granola bar, I’ll have one of the Golden Coins.

What do you think the market’s missing?
More locally grown produce.

What do you love most about the Market?
Seeing that everyone’s happy. It’s a community. It’s fun and makes you feel like you’re in a small town.

What do you enjoy doing most with your kids?
Boating. We do a lot of boating as a family. It’s nice family time because we’re trapped together. There’s nowhere to go. There’s no phones, no TV, everyone has to talk to each other.

How did you all get into boating?
My husband, Lou, wanted to be a marine biologist and then he went to school for marine biology but never got the degree and ended up getting a business degree. Walker always loved fishing. My father used to take him fishing on the little lakes in Chicago. After five years here, we ended up buying a tiny little boat. Over the years we upgraded to larger boats because everyone was getting bigger and their friends were getting bigger. We probably go out at least twice a weekend, and during the week we try and get out as much as we possibly can. On the other side of Elliot, there’s a couple of reefs that we like to snorkel around and Walker takes the boat out a lot for spear fishing.

It’s actually how we met Levi, (Adena’s brother). And, it’s the main reason why we started coming to the market. Levi and Walker started diving together many years ago. When Levi would come and pick up Walker or drop him off, he’d have a huge cooler in the back of his pickup truck with all this fruit. We’d literally run out to the truck to see what he had – like Jackfruit and Dragon Fruit. We never had that in Chicago. We were just in awe of the fruit that Levi would pull out of the cooler. Then he started telling us about the markets where you guys were at. How cool is that? We actually just planted a dragon fruit and Levi planted some star fruit trees in our backyard.

Have you been planting a lot of fruit trees?
You guys are the reason why we have all the fruit trees in our yard now. And we have our gardens, which we had planted by Ready-to-grow-Gardens. Dylan Terry came out and put in the beds, and set everything up for us with irrigation. Once a year, if you want, he’ll come out and redo it for you. Now, I’ll do it myself. We’ve had the original garden going now for 10 years.

Where do you all like to go out for food?
My number one is LeBouchon in the Grove. And then we like all the Kush restaurants, but I especially like Spillover. The crab cakes are my favorite. Of course we’re pretty much regulars at the Hole in the Wall here on 144th. Try their tuna appetizer.

What’s Miami’s best kept secret?
We have the most beautiful reefs. I don’t think people realize how pretty they are. Walker discovered this beautiful reef last week and took us there – all the colorful fish are stunning.

What’s a worthy splurge?
Buying a tree for the yard.

What’s a fun rainy day activity?
Watching TV, Netflix. Quinn and I watching Big Little Lies.

Would you like to share a pitch about Deep USA?
They’re getting more into conservation, not just shooting fish, but shooting pictures of fish. They do a lot of photography and videos to get people aware of what’s down there. They’re teaching. And, the gear they make, the wet suits and fins, are handmade in Greece. Levi is working with them on some of their designs.

Is there a question you would like to ask the LNBs?
(P) How many years have you guys been in business and I know that you have a farm in Belize. Does any of your produce come from there?

(A+W) The farms were started by Adena and Levi’s parents in 1980. We’ve been at the Pinecrest market for 8 years. Our farm in Belize is a conservation rain forest. We grow some things for the local consumption, but the only thing we bring here are the cutting boards made on the farm. They are all made from fallen timber, and last year Jason and Mel, at Babe’s Meat & Counter, used the boards as the base for their holiday gift platters.