I’m going with “Third time’s a charm” on this particular project. A few years ago I did a post about the Verde Garden Market in Homestead close to Homestead Air Reserve Base. There are 22 acres and a farmers’ market adjoins it. They had completely refurbished the market to add a commercially approved kitchen and an area where they could serve food, put in a number of picnic tables and display area for art as well as places for the fruits, produce, and a couple of refrigerator cabinets. I was so excited when I toured and told as many people as I could. Unfortunately, things never took off, nor did the next try at it.
Last week, I was back with the group that is now in charge, which is a combined program. Redland Ahead (I have posted about then before, too) is a non-profit with goals to:
- Work in unison with FIU to provide support to the FIU’s Agro-Ecology program in South Florida in expansion of the newly awarded FIU Hispanic Land Grant University status.
- Support the training of underserved populations and Veterans to become farmers & explore careers in Agri-business in programs offered by FIU and UF (TREC).
- Support training to improve the profitability from existing or future crops through university and private development of incubators, commercial kitchens and other ventures in the Redland community.
The main farming program provides up to a year of training and then the opportunity of a low-cost lease on acreage to begin farming. In general, the individual starts with approximately one-quarter acre and can expand up to four acres. The products can then be sold at the Redland Community Farm and Market at Verde Garden and other venues.
The commercial kitchen option is available for someone who may not be interested in farming, but may have a talent for, and desire to be in, a culinary career. Small batch producers who create baked goods, candies, jellies, and so forth can use the kitchen at the market and sell there. Perhaps someone wants to develop their own line of sandwiches, soups, or other hot items, and operating a food truck or opening a café is not feasible. A part time arrangement at the market is a workable way to begin. Currently, Tuesday through Thursday 12:00-4:00 p.m., is when Phillip Bryant and Veronica Valdivia are on-site with Johnnie’s Pit BBQ. Since the market is open seven days a week, other food vendors will be welcome.
Redland Community Farm and Market is open 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., seven days a week. Twice monthly Friday night events are also held with extra art, music, and food choices. The purpose of the Friday night events is to extend the regular hours from 6:00 – 10:00 p.m. and help spread the word about the market. A special note, as of this post, is road construction at 127th which was the most direct route. The detour is from 288th onto 132d through a residential area to SW 280th St. Detour signs are posted.