Every January through March, the Coral Gables Farmer’s Market makes shopping a joy on Saturdays. Amid the luxury bridal shops of Miracle Mile and the swanky boutiques of Village of Merrick Park, there’s a chance during wintertime to get down to earth as well as provide for the cupboard.
It’s the height of South Florida’s agricultural season where most produce grows in the Redlands area, which is located southwest of the Coral Gables, about a 40-minute drive from downtown Miracle Mile.
Residents needn’t drive that far to enjoy the region’s bounty, however — although the drive is worth the occasional adventure – many Miami locals make the trek just for fresh strawberry shakes alone. Heirs to the Burr family, now long-time Coral Gables residents, still help support the Burr Berry Farm.
But closer to home, located just by City Hall — next to founder George Merrick’s statue — the Coral Gables Farmer’s Market features fresh grown produce as well as cottage industry breads, crackers, marmalades and treats to eat while shopping. Tai chi classes, as well as gardening workshops, complete the day. Ornamental plants are also on sale for those interested in sprucing up their home landscapes with local hardy foliage, including annuals and perennials.
With no shortage of chain supermarkets, Coral Gables still has roots in its humble agricultural origins. Founder George Merrick’s father, Reverend Solomon Merrick, operated a plantation near Granada Golf Course where avocados, oranges and grapefruits were harvested in the early 20th century. Today, lushly landscaped homes, parks and public spaces are still a testament to George Merrick’s vision of a beautiful place to live.
While South Florida’s pioneering farmers may have moved southward, the market brings the idea of earth’s bounty back to life, with fresh and healthy food available to all at affordable prices. Many top Miami chefs take advantage of locally grown ingredients; home gourmands can do the same.
More information about the farmer’s market is available at citybeautiful.net.
You can pre-order produce from Mr. Green Dean, who also offers great recipes about what’s growing just south of Coral Gables. Sign up for the mailing list for more information.
Also, don’t miss Edible South Florida for editorial on fresh, local eats as well as Slow Food movement news.
– Maria de los Angeles is a freelance wordsmith based in Miami.