Friday, August 1, 2008

Organic and Farmer's Markets (Updated 7.17.11)

Here's a selection of local sources to pick up fresh farm produce so you can savor seasonal veggies from local farmers and also support them. I love going to them and wish I lived closer to one so I can go everyday.

In Asia, there are farmer's markets everyday and people like to shop right before they go home to prepare their meal. There is a LOT of choice and everything is so fresh and gorgeous smelling, it is intoxicating and a feast for your eyes and nose. Here's my post, Hong Kong Market where you'll see fish so fresh, they're still swimming.

Mark Bittman, The Minimalist, New York Times columnist wrote a great article about "Eating Food that's Better for You, Organic or Not" that reflects so much of the same philosophy I have - "that the organic question is a secondary one" when we don't eat enough vegetables in the first place!

photo: Irene Sperber, Fruit & Spice Festival

Well, now you have wonderful fresh vegetables, I hope you'll try my simple, easy and delicious stir fry with an Asian twist.

Here are two sites that provide nationwide information:
Local Harvest
Punch in your zip code for Community Supported Agriculture farms that sell subscriptions to receive regular delivery of seasonal crops.


South Florida sources:

New addition! Here are 2 groups that may interest you, if you know of any others, please share with us by emailing me at

South Florida Food Swap: I made kimchi to swap with Marie's (founder) aji (Colombian chili sauce) but didn't quite make it to the swap cause I was on my way to Hong Kong. You can find out how it all works as well as upcoming swaps in your area!

South Florida Foodies: This is a closed group, you have to request to join but what a fun group of foodies! They organize gatherings at the latest, trendiest, yummiest restaurants. An upcoming gathering is an 'Avant Garde Pot Luck' in a private penthouse apartment for just 30 and I got in!

Wow, amazing how many new fresh farmers' markets have sprouted since I last posted this!

Bee Heaven Farm: organic farm started in 1955. They now offer CSA program through Redland Organics. They can be found at Gardner's Market, Pinecrest Sundays from Jan. to April.

Coconut Grove Organic market: They have prepared dishes and desserts, not cheap but good. Go early so it's fresh and the vegetables don't get wilty. I believe my favorite bread, mango and date from Key West is available there. Be prepared to wreck your diet because once you start the loaf, you cannot stop.

Coosemans Miami, Inc. Specialty Produce. 1111 NW 21st Terr, Miami, FL 33127 (305) 545-0824
I just met them at the Food & Beverage show (10.26.2010) with their beautiful display of fruits and vegetables. They were bursting with color and so fresh I asked if they were 'real'!! They insisted I try the famous "Electric" flower called Szechuan Button, grown in Africa and China! Makes your mouth and lips tingle, very weird. CALL before you go, they cater to restaurants, so EARLY shopping hours! is a new site for organic fresh produce. Sounds like Erika is doing a great job of getting into different locations. We talked about cooking classes to use her produce.

Green South Miami, Farmers Market is a brand new market as of Dec.4, 2010. I first heard about this when a board member of this organization attended my cooking class at Miami River Wall. Here's great writeup of it's launch.

Hani's Organics: I met Hani, the goat cheese farmer and his lovely family at Fairchild Tropical Garden when I did a cooking demo there. He was a big hit, long lines wait for his Mediterranean lunch offerings. Mango and Lime did a great writeup.

Josh's Organic Market
The Living Foods site does a great job of showcasing it, not sure why Josh does not have a website. I've met Josh and he does an incredible job with getting unusual produce including Durian! They had to wear leather gloves to cut through the spiky outer skin, dangerous but ooh so worth it. It is a forbidden fruit to transport in Asia because of its pungent smell, I won't even tell you what they call it there (not pleasant). It's definitely an acquired taste. I love it, it's very creamy and the consistency is like a very ripe avocado. My mom makes a delicious glutinous rice with coconut milk and durian, very rich but yummy. You never know what Josh brings out.
Peter Kastan & his new plant towers!

Jungle walls is the most exciting 'farm' started by Peter Kastan. They are vertical, hydroponic (no soil) plant walls for interior or exterior and pretty amazing and beautiful. I am very lucky he hosts my Wok Star cooking classes at Miami River Wall. He recently started standalone self contained plant towers which you can purchase from him or rent them with ready planted herbs, edible flowers, really anything you want. He literally just brought these in, so the plants are still seedlings but are growing FAST. I LOVE this idea, I think it will be very successful for chefs who want to have fresh herbs to garnish their dishes. Easy for apartment living and really anyone who enjoys having fresh veggies right at their fingertips. Best part, you don't have to remember to water them, it's on a timer and all the nutrients are at the bottom of the tower. It goes to my whole philosophy of keeping things simple and easy. If you have a garden, scroll to bottom "Grow Your Own Veggies" for tips and techniques for home gardeners.

Little River Market Garden is only supplying produce to Michael's Genuine Food & Drink restaurant currently. But take a look at her site for the csa program.

Laurenzo's Market: 16445 West Dixie Hwy, North Miami is where I do my produce shopping when I give classes. I also list them on my handouts as a resource for getting fresh local produce. They also have a separate deli with freshly made pasta, cakes, everything Italian. Their cafeteria offers typical Italian food from pizza, pastas, daily specials to my fav Greek salad.

Mango and Lime, a Miami blog wrote about a chef who grows all his own produce and keeps bees on the roof! Seems like this is the way to go for many chefs now. New York Times wrote about same story, only 5 months later!
- I met Jayne Rosenbaum, President at an event at Oleta Park promoting organic fresh produce.
305-868-2136 email:

photo: Irene Sperber, Fruit & Spice Festival

Paradise Farms host the Slow Food dinner series with chefs in their outdoor kitchen and beautiful garden. Only available for purchase to restaurant chefs. Chef Michael Schwartz of Michael's Genuine Food and Drink has been heavily involved with this series. Everything we've had at Michael's has been fabulous quality and delicious like the Duck confit and Crispy Beef Cheeks. Michael trains his staff so well that when you get up, they refold your napkin!

Redland Organics
They have a fall program where you can buy 1/2 or whole box of a variety of seasonal organic vegetables and fruits at a local pickup point. Visit their site for details. I know people who are very pleased with their farmshare.

Redlands Market: I probably have over 30 photos from my visits to this market. Many wonderful Mexican ingredients like Calaloo leaves and cactus as well as the usual produce but very fresh and cheap. We eat at the MANY Mexican food stalls. I'll blog about this, so stay tuned as they say. (don't think there's website, I couldn't locate it.)

Redland Fruit & Spice Park : This park holds many events like fruit and vegetable festivals, cooking classes, Asian Cultural events etc., so visit their site for their calendar.

Robert is Here: celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2010. Wow, Robert has really got a little empire going there. You have to visit to believe it. I've visited many times, probably have over 70 photos from all angles.

Roots In the City: Go support this wonderful progam in Overtown started by Chef Michael Schwartz and Michel Nischan. Contact them to see when they start up in the Fall. specializes in delivering organic produce, grass fed beef from north Florida to restaurants. Their site is not up yet so take a read here about what they do. It's a small, small world because I met the owners separately.

Teena's Pride: they specialize in heirloom tomatoes as well as other produce. They also have a CSA program.

Thai Temple: Whenever there is a festival at the Thai Temple, there are usually vendors selling Thai fruits, vegetables, herbs and orchids. My favorite festival there is when monks from all over the world congregated there to celebrate the Temple's anniversary. The food was from just one or two local restaurants, less choice but the Thai curry, Pad Thai was EXCELLENT. Whereas the New Year festival was a bit more commercial and you had to really make your selection carefully. There are wood bench seats under trees in their orchard garden. It's also very serene and calming to hear monks chanting, bring a cushion, it's mostly sitting on the floor. It is amazing how many people I bumped into that I knew, small world.
The Market Company operates many Farmer's market in Miami-Dade including Upper East Side at 66th Biscayne Blvd. at Legions Park, Aventura Mall, Lincoln Rd., Brickell Village and many more.

TropTree: I met Dean Richardson at the Toyota Venza event on Lincoln Road where some of his unique veggies were showcased by restaurant chefs. His specialty is growing unusual veggies like Red Noodle Long Beans. I want to go visit his farm when it's not so hot. Sign up for his weekly Virtual Farmers Market flyer, he doesn't have a website yet, so email him: or call 786-325-3936. Umm Blue Spice Basil sounds interesting. He doesn't even harvest till he knows what you want!
Common Asian veggies. Plate of Bok Choy

Well, if you have a garden and want to grow your own veggies, think about growing some Asian ones. I sent off some Asian veggie seeds to Carolyn, who's starting a 'Wok Garden'! I'm so excited, honored and thrilled cause she's going to document their progress and we get to see how she stir fries them.

Carolyn is an avid gardener who promotes "growing your own food and live better." She's got tons of tips and techniques for home gardening on her blog, so go check her out.

If you don't have a garden, you can still grow your own veggies! See Jungle Walls above, there's a FABULOUS plant tower idea for us busy folks: low maintenance, self sufficient, ecofriendly way to have fresh veggies and herbs whenever you want them all year round!

Wok Star on WLRN

A night when many press were there, Myriam Rojas (friend and assistant),
Carli from Miam Herald (to my left),
Food News & Views radio host, Linda Gassenheimer is 3rd from the right.
Rene Gonzalez, architect and Marguerite Gil (radio host, freelance writer)

Linda attended one of my first Wok Star class held at Bulthaup in Miami Design District when I first moved up from Key West in 1993. I met Linda many years ago in Key West at her book signing for Keys Cuisine and since my move to Miami Beach, we keep meeting up at events around town. Linda has published 7 books and does an amazing job of juggling her radio show, personal appearances and writing. I didn't realize the extent and scope of her work until I heard her on a Slow Food Miami panel recently at the Gable Stage, Biltmore Hotel. Gosh, maybe I should start working on my book, Wok Star!

Wok Star on WLRN
Whet your appetite for upcoming Olympics
WLRN NPR 91.3 FM or online
Thursday, August 7: 1:30pm-2:00p

Listen to my interview with Food News and Views, host Linda Gassenheimer : Chinese cooking expert Eleanor Hoh whets our appetites for the upcoming Olympics with Chinese cooking tips and a look at fast food Chinese style.

Rainbow Lettuce Wraps, Tiger Beer and prezzies for
radio hosts, Joe Cooper (Topical Currents),

Linda Gassenheimer (Food News and Views)
and Fred Tasker (wine critic)

Visit Linda's website for more information.

Pending approval, call in and you may win a Wok Star class certificate for two guests, value of $130.

Visit my PRESS page to see other media appearances.

You can download printable 3 FREE party dishes perfect for entertaining. Simple, easy and delicious dishes.

Updated -
During the interview, Linda mentioned many weird things like scorpions and insects offered on skewers in China. Well, I read in NYT's 8.2.08 about the new $25 million, 23,000 sq. ft. Audubon Insectarium, in New Orleans showcasing termites and bugs. Especially popular with kids who have this "love, hate" relationship with squirmy, slimy insects. There's even a wax-worm stir fry or crispy rice crickets to try! Please tell us about your visit if you go.

Free Beijing Olympic Recipes

It's summer but there's a LOT going on...

Watch Olympics and savor... Friday 8.8.08
"8" is a very lucky number in Chinese culture, so that's why Olympics starts on that day, in fact Ralph and I were married on Jan.8, 1988, oops, now you know we celebrated 20 years together!

Take a Wok Star class next Tuesday, August 7 at The Grateful Palate, just in time to learn in 3 hours so you can whip up your own favorite Asian dishes.

Or you can order a Wok Star Kit with my complete class and audio cookalongs (like I'm a private coach in your kitchen) so you can learn in your own home.

Here are FREE RECIPES for 3 simple party dishes, perfect for setting the mood while watching the Beijing Olympics with family and friends. Best paired with an icy, cold Tiger Beer (it's from Singapore where my mother was born).
Thai Curry Salmon, Rainbow Lettuce Wraps,
Singapore Chili Shrimp. Eleanor's healthy alternative to chip & dip. Perfect for any game night.

More FREE easy recipe variations, it's all there for you to relish -
Thai Curry Salmon using CurrySimple (ready mix coconut milk and paste, just open and pour). Available at Wholefoods and Wild Oats or directly from
Steamed ground turkey meatloaf with umboshi plums (another way to use your versatile wok)

Wok Star cooking classes


kitchen and closet design showroom
host Wok Star Eleanor Hoh

A perfect combination of socializing, entertaining and learning

Saturday, Aug.16, 12pm-3pm
$65 per person
4 dishes paired with Tiger Beer, Fiji Water and Prosecco

Click here for reservations and prepayment.

Spaces are on a first come, first save basis. Prepayment will guarantee your spaces. So, please do not leave till last minute and be disappointed when you cannot get in.

Wok Star Cooking Classes
I'm excited to announce 4 new venues hosting my Wok Star classes in Broward: Naked Grape Wine Bar, Wilton Manors; Hollywood Vine; Chef Jean Pierre Cooking School and The Grateful Palate. I feel quite honored to be The Grateful Palate's first cooking instructor to inaugurate the newly renovated space. For all those in Broward, take advantage of this exceptional chance to be in a really classy setting.

Just in time for the Olympics starting 8.08.08, very important and a lucky date in Chinese culture. This is a perfect time to learn how easy it is to make quick, easy exotic dishes in your own home and enjoy while you watch the Olympics with your family and friends. Spread the word and let's make this a happening! We need to work fast, so please reserve and prepay ASAP, details below.

Watch a CBS and Fox News Style File video or a slideshow of my class by
Miami Dish plus read a review by Mango and Lime as well as comments from people who have attended my event.

Rainbow lettuce appetizer with ground turkey, hoisin sauce & crunchy pumpkin seeds
Easy stir fry veggies with an Asian twist
Shrimp with asparagus, carrot & topped with cashews
Tilapia with zucchini, squash & bell peppers in spicy, brown bean

Join me for an unforgettable class and learn my simple, no-recipe technique focusing on quick, "easy style", weekday, 30-minute, one-dish meals with little clean-up. It's a very interactive, engaging class with many who will get to stir fry.

My Wok Star Kit will be available for purchase at the class. The Kit includes a preseasoned cast-iron wok set, instructional discs with my personal selection of Asian ingredients so people can go home and start implementing what they've learned in class. If you cannot make it to a class, the Kit has my complete class plus audio cook-alongs (it's like I'm a private coach in your kitchen).

You'll get tons of tips and information on brands of ingredients and where to pick them up in Asian markets. Many will get a chance to stir fry and ask burning questions about wok cooking. I'll bust some myths about wok cooking like throwing everything in a wok or using a flat wok on electric stoves.

You'll soon be able to make dinners with the whole family and enjoy eating together. Simple, healthy, weekday dinners with readily available ingredients that will entice even the pickiest eaters to an exotic and scrumptious dinner. Plus you'll save money eating out and gas money to get there. You can now create those favorite Asian meals in your own home and it's easier than you think.

Look forward to meeting you at this class...

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Visit Wok Star

Visit my website for Wok Star cooking classes or my Wok Star Kit.