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Apr 2, 2008 12:15 PM

Buying Produce in Miami

Hello fellow Chowhounds,

Just moved into the Kendall area and am having a real tough time finding anything decent in the supermarkets around here. Publix and Winn Dixie just seem to have the bare minimum as far as produce goes, and what they have isnt even in great shape most of the time. I like getting creative in the kitchen with new ingredients and haven't had much luck yet.

Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions? I am especially interested in produce but any pointers will be helpful, including meat, seafood, and ethnic ingredients. Thanks!

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  1. Uh oh. Not sure where you're from and where your expectations of produce are, but Kendall isn't known for it's markets with great produce. You'll be reduced to paying exorbitant prices for produce at Norman Brothers, Gardner's and Whole Foods. If you're feeling adventurous, there's Robert is Here way down in Florida City.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lax2mia

      Norman Brothers is right in Kendall, has very good selection, and is not particularly expensive as compared to Whole Paycheck. at least. The Whole Foods in South Miami is also pretty nice.

      There are a couple good Asian markets in Kendall area but I no longer remember the locations as I don't get down that far south often.

    2. Welcome to my nightmare. During the season I gladly drive down to the Redlands for produce; I even found some good stuff at the flea market in Naranja. Winn Dixie is dire, and Publix has some issue with proper food handling; things are allowed to overheat on the loading dock or something. Those bagged salads go bad days before the 'sell by' date, and cucumbers?? Two days max from store to trash can.

      I pay the Wild Oats (now Whole Foods) on US1 in Pinecrest, or even the Wayside Market on Red Rd in Pinecrest. At least the stuff isn't moldy within two days. That being said, some Publixs are better than others, with Dadeland being the worst and Kendall Drive and 107th being the best. A recent pleasant surprise is the Tropical Supermarket on Sunset behind the Wendy's at around 108th. It's cheap, clean, and the produce has been handled properly.

      I've found Norman Brothers to be unreliable with respect to certain types of things, for example I've seen ancient fava beans and really bad lettuce there. It seems as though they're focused on the prepared foods now. The bakery never impressed me much. Good luck and let us know what you find.

      1. For gourmet produce AND local produce, I still would recommend Norman's Brothers. I found eggfruit (or canistel) and they're not found in Publix, Winn Dixie, Wild Oats or elsewhere even though it's a locally grown produce.

        Then there's Gardner's in Pinecrest, also gourmet, but their produce selection is not that great. Their farmer's market on Sundays is the saving grace if you're looking for produce in the area. But I still didn't see that much variety compared with Norman's.

        For cheap and abundance produce, I recommend heading down US 1 to Bargain Town. I've been there once and the produce all looked good. The farmer's market there seems to be extremely popular - and thankfully it's open 7 days a week (unless if somebody knows something I don't).

        And Robert Is Here is an interesting fruit stand. I spotted Ugli fruits there as well as lots of other local produce. I loved the idea of the honey sampling station there. Quite interesting.

        Wild Oats in Pinecrest is still a good choice to have in rotation. Either that, or if you want to do less driving, just go to Costco in Kendall and get that guava cheesecake. You might forget about this thread afterwards.

        1. I normally try to hit Lucky's Oriental market on Bird Rd and PK Oriental Market on Sunset are on the asian side of produce but different. If you take Krome off of Kendall there are a number of places to try including self pick. Peppers, tomatoes, strawberries when in season and some exotics. Winn Dixie on Bird Rd & 147th has fresh produce all the time and in good shape.The manager of produce there is very helpful

          1 Reply
          1. re: lynus

            Lynus, what is considered "in season" as far as produce is concerned?

          2. I like the farmers market at Gardners on US1 and 124th st. It's open Sunday mornings.

            4 Replies
            1. re: palmer65

              I am surprised no one mentioned Fresh Market in Coconut Grove. The service is oustanding. I had an assistant manager (that has moved on to the Publix Greenwise Market concept) He didn't have golden raisins and proceeded to run all over the market trying to find them including looking in the bakery and was so sorry he couldn't help me out he gave me a bag of regular raisins free. The quality is really good. The one in Aventura is not as good.

              1. re: jmdhsmiami

                Probably because driving from Kendall to the Grove for groceries is a bit much... Agreed that FM is great though, albeit pricey on some items that they shouldnt be. Then again, if you really want good groceries you make the trip.

                In Kendall, like many have suggested, your best bets are probably Whole Foods (Red Rd, between US1 and Sunset) and Gardeners (on Red Rd off US1 just after Sunset). There is also a farmers market in Pinecrest on Saturdays I believe that Ive not been to but Ive seen pics of and it looks impressive. Lucky's is also great for Asian items (on Bird Rd around 93rd st I believe)

                For meat/seafood, I know of 2 places but they will be a bit of a drive for you. First, for seafood you can check out Casablanca's Fish Market on 404 NW River Dr (just off I-95). They have a great selection at great prices, especially sea scallops - my favorite. For meat, try Laurenzo's Italian Market at 16385 W. Dixie Hwy in N. Miami Beach. Again, these are both kind of a hike for you (probably 30-45 mins each way) but Miami is somewhat lacking when it comes to fishmongers and butcher shops from what Ive been able to drum up.

                1. re: Blind Mind

                  I don't think Laurenzo's meat market is any better than Norman Bros. - definitely not worth trecking from Kendall.

                2. re: jmdhsmiami

                  I'm part of a slew of people that has had not so great luck with Fresh Market and definitely suggest approaching anything that's supposed to be "Fresh"carefully there. I even had a fish switched on me once (from fresh because I smelled it to stinking when I got home from shopping). However, their customer service is very good (money back as soon as the manager opened the packet) and they definitely have a fairly wide selection.