The Best Places To Explore Miami’s One-Of-A-Kind Farm-To-Table Cuisine.




Fried Green Tomato Burrata at Essensia

J wakefield

Interior of J Wakefield


Fruit at Robert Is Here


Schnebly Redland's Winery

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By: Gretchen Schmidt & Shayne Benowitz

Is your breakfast table filled with colorful papaya and starfruit, toast with red mangrove honey, eggs from chickens that roost amid palm trees, and tea flavored with backyard lemongrass and decorated with hibiscus?

Welcome to Miami, where farm-to-table cuisine means juicy heirloom tomatoes in the middle of winter, mangos and jackfruit in the summer and fresh greens year-round. Here, chefs embrace the bounty of fruits and vegetables that flourish in South Miami-Dade’s agricultural district.

The rules are different here. Because of South Florida’s subtropical climate, the growing season is the opposite of what it is in the north and midwest. In the summer and early fall, farmers market offerings are more sparse than their northern counterparts, showcasing tropical produce like mango, avocado, dragonfruit, yuca and okra. But from November through April, markets are overflowing with local tomatoes, beans, eggplant, peppers, strawberries and greens. This is also the season for long lines for fruit shakes and other treats from farmstands like Knaus Berry Farm and Robert Is Here.

Paradise Farms was established roughly 18 years ago specializing in organic produce and edible flowers sold to restaurants. Located in the heart of Homestead, about 45 minutes south of Downtown Miami, the farm supplies many chefs and farmers markets with local fruits and vegetables, herbs, eggs, mushrooms and other produce. . The farm changed ownership a few years ago, but kept the original spirit alive continuing to follow the farm’s biodynamic system. They’ve also added to their programing, aligned with their sister property The Sacred Space in Wynwood, and layered in additional holistic wellness principles like feng shui.

In Homestead, you can sample authentic tropical farm-to-table dining – and drinking – any time of the year in a lush, palm-lined outpost in South Dade at Schnebly Redland’s Winery & Brewery and its RedLander Restaurant helmed by chef Dewey LoSasso. Your meal might include mahi-mahi ceviche and salad made with Malabar spinach or guava-basted chicken wings. Accompany your meal with avocado or passion fruit wine or a Big Rod coconut ale, all made onsite at the winery.

Bringing the Farm to Your Plate

James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz is credited with making fresh, local ingredients the star of the show when he opened Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami’s Design District in 2007. Since then, he has added Harry’s Pizzeria in the Design District, Coconut Grove and Downtown Dadeland, Ella in the Design District, and the newly opened Tigertail + Mary in Coconut Grove. Sources for produce include organic Verde Community Farm in Homestead and the urban Little River Cooperative in Little Haiti.

Elsewhere in Miami and Miami Beach, many chefs count on local farms to supply their seasonal produce and get them from harvest to plate as quickly as possible, preserving freshness and maximum flavor.

At Malibu Farm at the Eden Roc Hotel, the new outpost by the iconic Californian restaurant, they are incorporating locally sourced produce whenever possible. In Coral Gables, Seven Dials, a cozy British pub, is departing from fish and chips and incorporating seasonal fruits and vegetables into their menu that changes with market availability. Keep an eye out for local, farm-to-table dinner events hosted by renowned chef Allen Susser, who regularly hosts intimate plant-based dinners in collaboration with the independent bookstore and cultural hotspot Books & Books.

Chef Laurent Tourondel finds tasty ways to incorporate local ingredients at LT Steak & Seafood at The Betsy – South Beach, concocting a dragonfruit “salpicon” with lemon ricotta gelato and lime honey.

Backyard Gardens

Chef Niven of Ghee, located in Dadeland and the Design District, is growing the ingredients for his Gujarat inspired cuisine at his two-acre farm in Homestead, Rancho Patel. The South Florida climate is similar to India, so he can focus on the ingredients that compliment his style of food, while incorporating local favorites as well. The vegetable kofta uses “calabaza,” the Saag Paneer incorporates local greens, and there is a signature chaat, a favorite Indian snack, made with plantain.

The pioneering farm-to-table restaurant, Essensia at The Palms Hotel & Spa, takes local love a step further. While they’ve relied on farmers like Teena’s Pride for heirloom tomatoes and other produce, they also grow their own herbs and vegetables in an organic garden behind their tiki bar. Thai basil, lemongrass, lemon balm, Cuban oregano, edible flowers and vegetables all find their way into recipes and cocktails on the menu.

Backyard garden herbs and produce from Little River Cooperative are featured prominently at 27 Restaurant and The Broken Shaker cocktail bar at the Freehand Miami, where the menu constantly changes to highlight the best of fresh local fruits, herbs and some creative surprises you wouldn’t expect to see on a cocktail list

Happy Hens

For pasture-raised eggs from hens that happily forage and feast on fresh fruits and vegetables, many chefs rely on the local Sun Fresh Farm and Ranch. At Wynwood’s Alter, 2018 James Beard Award Best Chef South finalist Chef Bradley Kilgore uses them in his signature Soft Egg, a barely poached egg with Italian truffle pearls, scallop and Gruyere foam with a caviar topping optional.

At EDGE, Steak & Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami, chef Aaron Brooks – a big proponent of putting fresh, local food on the menu – farm-fresh eggs are essential in his Caesar salad and as part of “morcilla a la plancha,” grilled blood sausage. Back at Seven Dials in Coral Gables, chef Andrew Gilbert, uses only local eggs for his tikka-sausage Scotch eggs.

Plant Power

When fruits and veggies are the showstoppers, nothing but freshly harvested produce, hours from the fields or groves, will do. At Plant Miami, an upscale vegan restaurant at the Sacred Space in Wynwood, the team tracks down the best of the farmers markets and Homestead farms, turning their discoveries into delights like a starfruit tart with macadamia mascarpone and coconut ceviche tacos. Other vegan restaurants with a similar approach include Plnthouse at 1 Hotel South Beach, Full Bloom Vegan and the Planta in South Beach.

Artisan Love

For a true taste of authentic Miami, look for local artisans who’ve made a name for themselves and whose products appear on menus and at farmers markets. These include rustic bread maker Zak the Baker, bacon heroes Miami Smokers, encased-meat gurus Proper Sausages, bean-to-bar crafter Cao Chocolates, Amla Miami baked goods, and Little Havana favorite Azucar Ice Cream. Local breweries J. Wakefield Brewing, Wynwood Brewing Company, Concrete Beach Brewery and M.I.A. Beer Company often use local fruits in their beers.

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