Leslie and Harvey Stern

Where do you live?
We live in Coral Gables. We moved here five years ago. We used to live in the Falls area and then in Kendall.

How long have you lived in the area? 
I was born here, and Harvey’s been here about 47 years – since his parents moved here.

How did you meet?
We met while I was working for Burdines as a Department Manager. Harvey got a temp-job one Christmas and I saw him and decided I wanted to meet him. I just pursued him! I introduced myself, we got friendly and then we went out.

Please share about what you do for a livelihood or what keeps you busy during the week?
Well now, I am working for Zak in the Deli.

My background is in merchandising. I worked for Burdines department store for 20 years. It was an incredible place to work. Then, I worked for Evenings Delight Fireplaces, for 28 years, and was the office and operations manager. Now I apply those skills at the deli.

At Zak’s – I’m working in the deli, up at the front – working with customers, greeting and working the register, and doing some administrative work. It’s hard work! I had never worked in a restaurant before. I have a new admiration for people who work in restaurants.

What’s it like working for your son?
We have separate realms. I don’t report to him – he’s in the bakery and I’m in the deli so we don’t overlap much.

How often do you come to the market?
I go once or twice a month. Harvey goes every week. He loves doing the market, working with customers, and talking about his son’s products.

Do you have a market ritual? If so, please describe.
I go around and talk with all the vendors that I am friendly with, like you both – I talk with Victor, and Sybil, Jason and Mel and the pizza guy. There are a lot of vendors that we know, because we’ve been there for so many years.

And then – I will work in Zak’s tent and give Harvey a break so that he can eat lunch and sit down. It’s a long day.

What’s your favorite thing to buy at LNB Grovestand and why?
The Sapodelicious – I think it’s delicious! Last week I tried the Roselle smoothie and it was very very good. Now it’s a hard choice to make between the two of them.

Harvey is drinking the Turmeric Tonic – He’s been reading up and studying about turmeric and thinks it’s a really great thing to be drinking.

What’s your favorite thing to buy at other stands at the market?
Sometimes, I buy sausage links from Babe Froman to cook at home. We usually broil it, sauté onions, and put it on Zak’s baguette or ciabatta.

A favorite activity I enjoy with my kids?
Eating out!

The best deal at the market is:
The produce, the greens and tomatoes – especially from Margie. I know where it’s grown because I have been down there many times. Zak lived there, on her farm, in a teepee for six weeks.

I wish the market had:
More seating.

Favorite market story:
I remember when Zak first started and used to bring his guitar. His friends would come, and they would sit and play. That was really a lot of fun. It livened up the market. People really liked that.

Most-frequented local restaurants and what dish to order:
There are so many places. Right now, we go to Bulla in the gables – it’s tapas and we get all types of different things there. There’s a restaurant on the Miami River that we like, called Crust. It’s Italian – Harvey likes their octopus salad a lot. And, their service is amazing – it’s a husband and wife team.

Do you have a family recipe that you would be willing share?
Harvey doesn’t eat red meat, and I don’t eat fish. So, we eat a lot of chicken, pasta, and a lot of salads. One thing I make is my mother’s chicken soup. 

You start with whole fresh chickens, a lot of dill, carrots, celery, onion, and leeks.  Add everything to the pot and let it cook for 3-4 hours or longer.  You have to let it cook for hours – the longer the better. If it needs it, I’ll add a little bit of chicken bouillon at the end. The trick is a lot of dill!

Take the bones out and put most of the chicken back in. Then, put it in the fridge – it’s always better the next day, reheated. 

What’s the area’s best-kept secret?
The program that Harvey goes to, during the week, is really amazing. It’s called the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Miami. People don’t know about it – we tell people all the time and encourage a lot of people to go. They have classes for 50 and older. It’s a very incredible program.

They teach all different things – history, politics, music, film, art, languages – even mahjong. They have great teachers. Harvey took a class on History of South Florida by a local historian. Now, he keeps repeating a class taught by a fantastic woman who’s a PhD in International Relations. She talks about what’s going on in the world and international politics.

You can sign up online.  The sessions are six weeks long and about $50 a class. 

A worthy splurge:
Travel. Travel. Travel. Israel is next.

Rainy-day activity:
Movie, or indoor shopping.

The most romantic spot around:
Well, you have to be near the water. Key Biscayne has so many beautiful places.

Do you participate in any community or philanthropic events that you would like to share? 
I am a cancer survivor and very involved with the American Cancer Society’s East Kendall Relay for Life. It is taking place, March 10, in front of Baptist Hospital. It’s a huge event that we fundraise for all year. The big event takes place 12 noon – 9 pm. There are about 70 different tents set up around the lake with food, activities, music, and things for kids.  We have raised a lot each year and it’s a lot of fun.

Do you own your own business or offer a service? Would you share a pitch about yourself or company with the community?
A pitch? Zak is so well known in the community now.

Harvey and I are so proud, we just burst with huge smiles and our heart is overflowing with what Zak has been able to bring to this community. He is so passionate about everything being at a certain level. We are just overwhelmed with what has happened.

So. if you want good food that is made from scratch, come to Zak’s. You’re not going to find food that is made with this kind of love anywhere else. People don’t often take the time to make food from scratch anymore and it is incredible when you do.

Is there a question that you would like to ask the LNBs?
I’d like to know what a typical day is for you. I like to know more about the farm and the operation of the farm. I have a great admiration for the fact you are so involved. You just don’t find that much anymore, and I think that it’s amazing.  

A+W: Adena is on the farm 2 or 3 days a week picking fruit to ripen for sale and smoothies, harvesting and making turmeric tonic, developing new recipes for what’s in season and all the other tasks it takes to get to the market each week. Marc, Adena’s dad, runs the daily operations on the farm.  Walt splits time between jewelry design and getting our new commercial space off the ground.