It’s a great day when the first product and price list for the coming growing season arrives in our inbox. This week, Loxahatchee Groves’ SWANK Specialty Produce heralded the start of many more great days ahead, and we got a little tingle knowing we no longer have to endure the constant 140 character teasing from farmers markets and seasonal food feasts up north (yes, you @menwhodine) and feel left out of the party. What MGFD Miami chef de cuisine Bradley Herron is most excited about may not impress most of you and may at first glance seem mundane, but sorry, they are simple yet special commodities down here when able to be sourced locally. “Vegetables!!!!”, Brad blew up my email yesterday. “From SWANK, mostly lettuces. Maybe a few veggies like cucumber, beets, fennel. I’m thinking probably lots of fermented things, so local cabbage for kraut and eppers for Harissa paste, hot sauce, fermented chili paste.” Now we’re talking. We checked in with owner Jodi Swank to see what her outlook is for the season from the supply side and snagged some shots from seeding a couple weeks ago.
TGK: What kind of season do you expect?
JODI: We expect a very good season as we are entering our 11th year. Can’t tell what mother nature has in store. We take it day by day. But we can say our customers are quite anxious to begin receiving SWANK farm local produce again! We’ve gotten several new prospective, although we never know if they will mature into a supportive customer.
TGK: Who has stood by you?
JODI: Of course, Michael’s Genuine – Cafe Boulud, Palm Beach, 32 East, Delray Beach, 3030 Ocean, Fort Lauderdale… The demand is in pretty much everything we grow, but especially our lettuces. Our growing is seasonal and therefore, there are always new products coming and going – it’s always fresh!! Our vegetables baby and full size are a big hit !!! We are producing more and more veg every season.
TGK: What are you excited about product-wise?
JODI: We are trailing some varieties of lettuces from a high quality breeder. Can’t say who or what at this time, but we’ve been trying to get these varieties for a several years now. We have several new items in trial this season. we don’t like to list our new items this early since we’re not sure whether they will work or not, but I can say, shelling beans are new this season in multiple varieties and purple Brussels sprouts are still a work in progress.
TGK: What else is going on up there on the farm since we last visited?
JODI: We are really fine tuning our Swank Table events for 2013 and are thrilled to have Michael’s Genuine host April 7, 2013 with the entire team, benefiting the James Beard Scholarship foundation.