In recent weeks, you may have noticed that the amount and variety of vegetables available from produce vendors has been on the rise—and rest assured it will increase even more in the coming weeks.
“The only way to offer produce year-round in Florida is to ship it in from around the nation or from outside of the country, which is what the supermarkets do,” said Delray GreenMarket Manager Lori Nolan. “But that’s not what we’re all about. We focus on locally grown and sourced produce.”
“I tell people, it’s the beginning of the season,” said Manny Guerrero, who helps GreenMarket shoppers at the Thomas Produce booth. “The people who’ve been coming here for many years—they understand. They know the harvest is just starting.”
As the largest independent, family-owned vegetable grower in the state of Florida, Thomas Produce brings a cornucopia of Florida-grown vegetables to market once the winter harvest is underway. On a recent Saturday, Manny was offering squash, eggplant, green pepper, cucumbers, green beans, avocados, and pablano peppers. He also had some “imports”—Fuji apples from Washington, sweet potatoes and red potatoes from North Carolina—but was careful to point out the origin of those items to customers.
At the Alderman Farms organic produce booth, owner Jimmy Alderman was pleased with the variety he could offer.
“Usually around Thanksgiving, all the crops are coming in here in Florida. So right now we’ve got just about everything, really—all the varieties of tomatoes, eggplant, squash—and for the next four to five weeks we’ll have fall corn,” he said. “It’s bi-colored organic sweet corn, grown right here in Palm Beach County.”
Meanwhile, Manny at Thomas Produce expects to have 17 different kinds of tomatoes eventually, including the heirloom varieties that his wife Cindy is growing in pots right now at Thomas Produce headquarters off Clint Moore Road west of Boca Raton.
The Delray GreenMarket has several other produce vendors, including Green Cay Farms and Volker Farms. Our newest addition, Hornbuckle Family Farm, specializes in citrus fruits, and they’ll have fresh squeezed juice for sale by the quart starting this weekend.
Just think: we’ve already been the envy of much of the U.S., enjoying fresh-picked local vegetables in November. And it’s only going to get better!