Locally grown vegetables, fruits, and flowers from about nine farms or homes around South Florida were looking good and affordable at the soft opening of The Upper Eastside Farmers' Market at Biscayne Plaza this past weekend.
The market was organized by the Terranova Corporation and the two-year old Urban Oasis Project
, whose mission is to make fresh local food accessible to everybody. One of the project's founders, Art Friedrich, told us, "We're just trying to hit all kinds of underserved neighborhoods. So this is a really nice crossroads area, you've got El Portal, Miami Shores, Little Haiti. We really love this kind of venue with a mixed clientele, people from different income brackets. "People from every demographic get excited about fresh, local produce."
Friedrich noted that when he moved down from to Miami a few years ago, he was shocked. "In Boston you can go to five different farmers' market any day of the week, and then I came here and there's like two in the whole county."
The Urban Oasis Project is creating a network and a movement. In hope of making all Miami dedicated to eating locally grown goods, the group runs the Liberty City Farmer's Market, which has been meeting at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center (6161 NW 22nd Ave., Miami) from noon to 6 p.m. since December. Besides markets, the Project hosts potlucks at different gardeners' house every month. Also available are workshops on how to raise veggies, make sauerkraut and bread, and cooking techniques.
Most notably, the Urban Oasis Project has planted 30 four by eight foot starter gardens for low income families in Liberty City, and even offers follow-up assistance. Talk about generous and amazing!
The market is open every Saturday from from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 81st Street and Biscayne Boulevard. Urban Oasis provides a $10 matching program for all users of EBT cards, which means you get $20 worth of produce with the first $10 you spend. There will be more vendors and even grass-fed beef sliders in upcoming weeks, oh, and we got free reusable totes!
|There's plenty of honey from Bee Heaven Farm. |
|They had a particularly nice selection of leafy greens. Not easy to find in South Florida. |
|Much of the produce was sold out by the end of the day. |
|There were so many beautiful veggies. |
|The avocados were grown in someone's home. |
|Pretty snapdragons were only .75 cents each. |
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|Three Sisters Farm was there and told us how to eat black sapote - when it's very overripe. Also, the folks had allspice and gave us a nice recipe using only cornmeal, allspice, and water. Simple is good. |