Green is the New Black

Green is the New Black
By Lisa Quinn


Just in time to celebrate Earth Day, beginning on April, 24th and running into July, is a new Green Market, sponsored by the Riverwalk Trust. The market will feature fruit and vegetables, baked items, seafood, cheeses, pottery, and other goodies!  Chosen to run on Saturdays so as not to conflict with the Urban Gourmet Market held every Sunday on Las Olas Boulevard, the Green Market is a welcome addition to the downtown area. The goal for providing the market was to activate the Riverwalk and to provide a great service to the downtown and surrounding neighborhood residents. Genia Ellis, The Riverwalk Project Coordinator states this will be a fun experience offering a little bit of everything. Bring the entire family for a sampling of healthy fresh food and unique products.

Some of the vendors who will be there to meet and greet you are Marci Boland, “The Mastermind” behind L’Hermitage Catering and Gourmet Emporium. L’Hermitage has 3 divisions: catering, a café and a gourmet store. Specializing in specialty items, hard to find spices, and natural and organic foods and products, Marci states she fell into this line of work, “backwards” when she had to fill in as head chef on a yacht she was working on over 20 years ago. Ms. Boland even has her own label, stating she creates items that she feels are superior in quality that what you’d find in a regular supermarket. She also has many gluten free items. New to the store, is a free cookbook exchange, where one can come bring a gently used cookbook and pick up another for their collection.

Robbie Bell, of Speckled Dog Pottery loves working with his hands. A church organist for many congregations in South Florida, he started as a pottery collector over 20 years ago and enrolled in a pottery class 6 years ago at a friend’s suggestion. The focus of his studio and products are functional ceramics and states functionality was key because “he likes food”. Recognized by NBC6, The Miami Herald and winner of two recent art awards, including Best in Show at Art and Jazz in the Park right here in Ft. Lauderdale, Robbie is rightfully proud of his pieces. A graduate of Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, Robbie hugs his speckled cocker spaniel, Sara (hence the name) and shows his studio; a marvel of color; with pots, dishes, teapots, bowls and cups; just a small sample of what will be on display at the market.

Just Mioduchoski, of Steve’s Stone Crab Claws, runs a family owned and operated business, celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2010. Specializing in the freshest Florida stone crab claws, New England Stone Crab Claws, Key West Pink Shrimp, Florida Lobster Tails, crab cakes, bisques, chowders and a variety of fish including Grouper Filets, Mahi Mahi and Yellow Fin Tuna steaks, the business operates from various roadside locations, farmers markets and green markets throughout the tri-county area, from Florida City to Juno Beach, Florida. The yummy stone crab runs for about $10 a pound.

Jodi and Darrin Swank, of Swank Specialty Produce, is a purveyor of the finest HydroNatural greens, herbs, and specialty produce. Using a technique combining hydroponics with natural, sustainable agriculture, HydroNatural, the cultivation of plants in nutrient-rich solutions, uses less water and land than traditional farming. No fungicides, herbicides, or pesticides are used as well as no sand, grit, or dirt so the harvested product is cleaner. The plants are harvested live with the roots attached, enabling them to stay fresher longer. Properly stored, the plants last up to three weeks! Swank states that herbs and specialty greens are tenderer and better tasting. Darrin Swank comes from a farming background; his grandparents in Pennsylvania were a big inspiration. Also an inspiration was the Hydroponic exhibit at Disney’s Epcot Center. Jodi states that the Swank system is just as high tech and evolved!  Locally grown, Swank Specialty Produce serves local chefs at local restaurants, hotels, caterers, and the markets of Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. They also are represented in the West Palm Beach Green Market.