Things are growing in Loxahatchee. That's where Jodi and Darrin Swank of Swank Specialty Produce grow some of the most beautiful and desired vegetables and herbs on their hydroponic farm.
Though farming isn't easy in South Florida, the work pays off. The produce from the farm, which includes 200 varieties of vegetables, edible flowers, and microgreens, can be found in nearly every South Florida farm-to-table restaurant.
Jodi Swank personally delivers the goods to the toniest kitchens, starting with Miami in the beginning of the week, then working her way up to West Palm beach on Thursday. Not a restaurant? Swank also sells direct to the public, in season.
Swank also hosts a farm-to-table dining series at the farm. The Swank Table, led by the Swanks with resident chef Lindsay Autry, brings together some of the best toques in South Florida for lunches and dinners -- many of them with a charitable component like the Hot Pink Lunch to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the Wearin' O' the Green Salad brunch to benefit the Red Cross.
Jodi Swank's green thumb is attached to a good heart, and all of South Florida benefits.
The most influential person in my career has been... Obviously, Darrin Swank. He has taken farming to the next level. His passion, expertise, and knowledge have all found a place in me.
When I'm alone and in need of comfort (and no one is there to watch or judge), the one food or drink I turn to is...Tate's chocolate chip cookies. Can't live without them!
What does the Broward/Palm Beach food scene need more of? More participation in the local food movement. Support your local farms.
You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it? Nutella. That stuff is horrible!
You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name, and what do you serve? If I had unlimited funds, I surely wouldn't open a restaurant! I'd travel and visit other restaurants around the world!
Where do you see yourself in five years? Happy, healthy, and tending to my three beautiful, growing children and our expanding business.
Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting?
Mick Jagger (whom I've had a crush on since I was 5); Michelle Obama (because I simply love what she's doing with the White House garden and for the food system); Judith Olney (foodie and food author); and Jimmy Fallon (my favorite comedian -- to spice up the party with his humor).
New Times' Best Of Broward-Palm Beach 2013 issue arrives June 13. To celebrate, Clean Plate Charlie is serving up 30 of our favorite tastemakers -- restaurateurs, chefs, bartenders, and other foodies who make the South Florida food scene what it is. We'll start with number 30 and lead up to South Florida's number one. All previous 2013 Tastemakers are listed below.
22. Vaughan Lazar of Kapow!
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.