Under last night’s beautiful full moon, Muriel Olivares was transplanting tomatoes with her head lamp. It was almost 11:00 p.m. when she got in to write me back. I had many questions!
I had sent intern Renata Herminio over to Muriel’s new Little River Market Garden yesterday to say hello and snap some photos of what’s growing. We’re buying whatever we can get our hands on lately, from okra to this weekend’s batch of green peanuts fresh out of the ground. I myself had been meaning to pay her a visit like our foragers, including sous chef Matt, have been, but hadn’t yet made it over.
She’s in no way new to organic farming or to South Florida (we first met her working for Margie Pikarsky at Bee Heaven) but for the first time, Muriel is starting out on her own with Litter River Market Garden. What I find so interesting is that, we are the only restaurant with whom she is working, and for good reason. Focusing on her CSA program, she doesn’t have enough supply yet for the demand i.e. she doesn’t want to entice a chef and then not be able to sell them anything. So we are acting as both customer and consultant in a way, helping her understand what restaurants like ours want and how that relationship can be successful. If that’s not collaboration – or smart business – I don’t know what is!
In addition to being featured in Paula Nino’s story on women farmers in the current issue of Edible South Florida magazine, Muriel will be at this weekend’s Edible Garden Festival at Fairchild Tropical Garden. Here’s why you want to be there to meet her.