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Building a Better Market

Buying produce in the supermarket has become more and more of a drag lately. Take a supermarket tomato, for example: even the best looking in the bunch are usually as flavorless as they are over-firm. Then there's the hot peppers, which are almost always laced with fuzz and mold around the stems and going wrinkly all over. And don't even start on fruit like strawberries and cantaloupe, which seem to always go straight from under ripe and bitter to rotten without hitting anything edible inbetween. But we don't have to take it, people. There are ways to buy local, organic produce without stepping foot into an over-priced specialty mart. Just head to the Las Olas Chemist on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. — that's when the Las Olas Outdoor Gourmet Market holds court.

The greenmarket, run for four years now by the same folks who organize the stellar markets at Lincoln Road and Upper East Side Garden in Miami, is a wealth of locally grown organic and conventional produce. There you'll find fresh Florida-grown tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes; citrusy bell peppers and crispy spicy ones; eggplant, beans, squashes, and dozens of varieties of leafy greens. In addition, you'll also find specialty goods like artesenal vinegar blends, baked goods from local businesses like Storks, fresh Italian-style pasta, local honey, fresh flowers, and specialty salts. And if you're up for a little dining while you shop, there are vendors selling ready-to-eat products too: pick up a great Key Lime pie for now or later, grab a bowl of black bean and mango salsa, or just munch on fresh ceviche made from wild scallops and watermelon or swordfish and pineapple. One thing's for certain: you'll have a hard time going back to the supermarket.

Find the market at 1201 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. For more information, visit
Sundays, 9 a.m., 2009

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John Linn

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