The joys of the fall seasonal green markets -- even the best of the full-time, year-round markets -- are upon us once again. It's a chance to sample the best foods, fruits and vegetables fresh from harvest. Or try a new treat by South Florida's very own local artisanal chefs.
That includes newcomer Amber Fitzgerald, creator of Amber's Raw Plant Based Organic Food out of Delray Beach. Fitzgerald began selling her hand-made raw vegan snacks, kombucha, salads and lunches at the Boca Raton West Green Market just a few months ago and has already earned herself a reputation for making some of the best kale chips you'll ever sample.
A vegan, Fitzgerald has been a life-long healthy eater. Originally from Gainesville, she grew up eating stuff most kids would turn their nose up at -- dehydrated vegetable snacks and raw, sprouted breads and crackers. You know, the type of food you probably didn't get a chance to try when you were younger.
"I always thought it was weird when my mother would make it, even though I ate it and enjoyed it," Fitzgerald told Clean Plate Charlie during a recent interview. "But now I know how lucky I was, and I'm so thankful."
Each of Amber's Raw Plant Based Organic Food items are made using locally-sourced vegetables, everything from her spirulina superfood "balls" to the healthy, nutrient-packed salads and entrees she sells from her stand at the green market priced $3 to $12. To stay true to the all-organic mantra she promotes, nuts and seeds are ordered through a distributor that pedals only raw, unpasteurized and organic goods.
Fitzgerald's favorite spot to score groceries isn't as close as you would think, however. She loves to travel north to The White Rabbit Organic Farm in Vero Beach. It's where she'll get fresh spirulina to make her spirulina superfood snacks, tiny balls of liquid spirulina, hemp seeds and wild harvested bee pollen rolled in sesame seeds.
Aside from healthy treats, cookies and energy bars, Fitzgerald is perhaps best known for her kale chips, which come in several flavors including banana almond butter dream, coconut curry and sweet and spicy sesame. There's also a delicious dehydrated "Cheez-Its" chip pack that tastes better than the real thing, a combo of jalapeño, brazil nuts, red pepper, paprika, onion and garlic.
Hungry for more than a snack? Fitzgerald also makes one mean raw vegan lunch. One of her best-sellers: a raw-eaters take on the cheese steak. Dubbed the "Hawaiian Cheese Steak" it's a combo of fresh sliced pineapple, lettuce, avocado and tomato paired with a marinated portobello mushroom and topped with a spicy cashew cheese sauce, between two slices of dehydrated onion bread.
For more information on Amber's Raw Plant Based Organic Food visit the Facebook page, or visit Amber at the Boca Raton West Green Market on Sunday, November 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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