| February 11, 2009 | 12:21pm
Meghan "The Forager" Tanner is a South Florida organics dealer. She provides the freshest produce and ingredients, local, exotic and otherwise, to forward thinking, quality-minded chefs. She's an Allapattah-market mainstay, a Homestead hustler, a Redland raider, a South Dade trafficker pushing heavy weight up the interstate. I recently rode out with Meghan as she did what she does, here's how the day went.
Our first stop, around 8 a.m. on a Tuesday, was at Cooseman's of Miami, they are a "specialty produce" business and have a worldwide growers distribution network. Check out their website's produce list, it includes such items as Japanese finger sweet potatoes, sunchoke root, crookneck squash and Hungarian wax chiles. Here go pictures of the Cooseman's crew and the items Meghan picked up from them for her client, Chef Michael Schwartz of Michael's Genuine Food & Drink. Meghan shops the Allapattah produce district for Schwartz six days a week and hits the farms twice a week.
Next, we went to an open air warehouse in the Allapattah Produce Market
, close to Cooseman's. It was in Miami's urban produce district roughly around NW 12th Avenue, just north of Jackson hospital. It's a great lively scene over there that feels like a Miami vegetable version of the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. People hustle, bustle, call out prices and pack and move boxes to a steady tune of multilingual cultural exchanges.
Meghan bought some stuff from this dude (above), then she packed up her truck bed and we drove about a block away to an indoor market where she bought double yolk eggs. This next image is looking through a box of smoked fish.
Meghan took the goods, dropped them off at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink then we made plans to meet around 11 a.m. and head down south. Our first stop was Burr's Berry Farm.
These strawberries are incredible. Burr's has been at the same spot doing the same thing since 1960 and it's about 23 or so minutes from downtown, I highly encourage you to sample their wares before you die so you can know what kind of greatness comes off that Dade County dirt.
Next we went to Robert Barnum's Possum Trot Tropical Fruit Nursery. Robert offered us a fresh grilled hamburger lunch, served with homemade french fries, a three fruit salad and dandelion wine. Here goes worker Marco grillin' it up.
The food was great. Meghan bought some fresh passion fruit from Robert, and we hit the road to Teena's Pride, aka Borek Farms, for organic, heirloom tomatoes.
Michael Borek, who is in charge of the farm's daily operations is
pictured above on the left. Teena's Pride, named after Michael's mother
Teena Borek, produces an amazing variety of tomatoes of different
shapes, sizes and colors.
Our final stop of the day was Margie Pikarsky's Bee Heaven
. This place had a great, natural vibe to it and Margie's love of farming is immediately apparent. This next picture is of Margie holding some kind of tomato I never heard of, check out those farmer hands though.
So that's what Meghan "The Forager" Tanner does, here's how she got there:
"I was born in Richmond, Virginia, but my family's from Dade. We moved to Orlando when I was 15, then I went to school in North Carolina and then I moved to Miami. The whole organic movement down here is just starting, so people who have experience, this is the place to be. I used to work for Paradise Farms, Michael (Schwartz) was the Chef at Afterglo, we met at Bee Heaven where I lived in a tent for six months and worked for room and board. I was the first employee at Michael's Genuine, as a cook. I quit, went off to Costa Rica for a while, came back and he said 'I have this great idea,' that's how I became a forager. Organics have the most flavor, the freshness, it's a world of difference, the feedback is like 'This is real food, you can taste the food."