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Author Archive | Edible Sarasota

How The Naked South makes dinner easy, fun, and light

There are two things I’m always looking to do to make dinner fun, easy, and not too heavy: 1. Turn appetizers into meals, and 2. Make it on the grill. This recipe accomplishes both. Anyone who doesn’t despise mushrooms enjoys them stuffed. (I’ve heard those mushroom-hating people are out there, but I choose to believe that’s an urban myth, because who could truly despise mushrooms?) Stuffed things are just superior to non-stuffed things in general. Quail, pizza crusts, stockings — all benefit from adding the word stuffed. Mushrooms are no exception. These were inspired by my love for pizza and my love for not feeling how I do after I eat pizza.

Key Components:

I’m so excited to talk to you about coconut aminos. This product is truly amazing (until research comes out that it’s bad, which is always possible).  It’s the sap tapped directly out of the coconut tree and aged with sea salt, creating a sort of sweet and salty soy sauce without the soy. It’s naturally abundant in 17 amino acids (the building blocks of protein), B-vitamins, vitamin C, minerals, and a probiotic! And it tastes delicious, addictingly so. In case you’re wondering, amino acids are important because they repair and rebuild muscle tissue, help to enhance overall brain and nervous system function, and assist in boosting the immune system and physical energy levels. Find it next to the soy sauce and tamari in health food stores such as Earth Origins and Whole Foods.

Millet is an underutilized, gluten-free grain that is as versatile as it healthy. It can be soft and creamy or slightly crunchy and fluffy, depending on how you cook it. One thing that sets millet apart from other healthy grains is its particularly high content of magnesium, which research shows can lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack.

If you are someone who doesn’t consider mushrooms a favorite food, you may want to reconsider. Mushrooms are so good for you. Most interestingly, research is finding that Portobello mushrooms provide vitamin B12, which is typically reserved for animal products and is an important vitamin to include if you’re eating more vegetarian meals. Mushrooms are amazing for immune system support and are anti-inflammatory. They’re also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant boosting phytonutrients.

Millet-Stuffed Mushrooms with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Yield: Makes 4 mushrooms

Millet-Stuffed Mushrooms with Tomatoes and Mozzarella


  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 packed cup arugula, lightly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup cooked millet (or cooked quinoa)
  • 4 large Portobello caps, gently wiped clean
  • Basil, for serving
  • Toasted rustic bread, for serving (optional)


  1. To cook the millet: Rinse ½ cup millet thoroughly. Combine with 1 cup water and pinch salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes. Turn off heat, place dry paper towels under lid and let sit 5 minutes. Fluff with fork.
  2. Combine tomatoes, arugula, olive oil, coconut aminos, and garlic in a large bowl. Add cheese and season with salt and pepper. Add cooked millet (or quinoa) to tomato mixture and toss to combine.
  3. Prepare a grill for medium heat. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper. Fill each with tomato-millet mixture and carefully transfer to grill.
  4. Cover grill and cook until cheese melts, about 4 minutes. (This can also be made in an oven set to broil. Arrange mushrooms on a baking sheet and transfer to oven and cook until cheese melts.) Top with basil leaves and serve over toasted bread, if desired..

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.



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Breakfast for the busy in The Naked South

Oatmeal has long been one of my favorite breakfasts. My grandma would regularly make it for me with brown sugar, whole milk, and plenty of butter. It was more like a creamy soup with a scoop of slow-cooked oatmeal drenched in salty, sweet, buttery goodness. This version is a little less indulgent, but just as tasty and comforting. Plus, like many households, mornings are busy around here. So the simpler the breakfast, the better. This soaked oat-and-chia combination is quickly stirred together the night before and popped in the fridge, making breakfast while you sleep. It couldn’t be more perfect for smoothing over hectic mornings.

Oat and Chia Porridge

Key Components

Oats are a fabulous grain for people who are trying to eliminate or reduce gluten in their diet. Even oats that aren’t labeled as “gluten-free” are better tolerated by people with gluten sensitivities. But gluten doesn’t need to be a concern to start incorporating oats into your regular diet. With a high fiber content and unique antioxidant compounds, they are particularly beneficial for heart and digestive health. Soaking the oats, as we do in this recipe, makes them even easier to digest and therefore reap all their rewards.

Chia seeds are becoming more and more popular as the news of their benefits beyond sprouting into adorable “pets” (remember the Chia Pet?) spreads. Firstly, chia is one of the few plant sources to contain all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein (a status typically reserved for animal products). They provide plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3s. Like most nuts, seeds, and grains, soaking them helps release all their powers.

Overnight Oat and Chia Porridge with Mango and Coconut

Yield: Makes 1 serving

Overnight Oat and Chia Porridge with Mango and Coconut


  • ⅓ cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ⅔ cup almond milk (preferably homemade)
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (preferably grade B)
  • 1-2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut


  1. Combine oats, chia, and almond milk in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight (8 hours).
  2. Top with mango, coconut milk, syrup, and shredded coconut to taste. Eat. Be happy.

Recipe Editor Charlotte Abrams serves up weekly recipes for "inspired food your body will appreciate" in her new column. The Naked South.About The Naked South with Charlotte Abrams
Charlotte’s mission is to teach, inspire, and empower you to make small changes toward a healthier diet while enjoying all the deliciousness food has to offer. The healthy eating “rules” are always changing and everyone’s body has a different relationship with food, so The Naked South focuses on variety and moderation. No rules, no judgment, just inspired food your body will appreciate.


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One of the many access points to Siesta Key Beach


With its cool, powdery sand made of 99
percent pure quartz, the barrier island is
a coastal paradise that is home to as
many natural wonders as visitor hot spots.

Breakfast at Sungarden Café


A waterfront community rife with restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream parlors, boutiques, and even a Sunday evening drum circle, Siesta Key is home to the top-rated beach in the country. With its cool, powdery sand made of 99 percent pure quartz, the barrier island is a coastal paradise that is home to as many natural wonders as visitor hot spots. On Siesta Beach alone, amid the sea oats and against the glimmering backdrop of the Gulf of Mexico, there is a bevy of wildlife—from snowy plovers and seagulls to sea turtles and manatees. Onshore, in Siesta Key Village, rental outlets provide equipment for adventurers seeking to fish, kayak, snorkel and scuba dive. It is just as easy to find an upscale martini bar with craft cocktails at night as it is to discover a breakfast café with freshly squeezed orange juice the next morning. Sun-kissed patrons can experience what free-spirited life is like on Siesta Key and why the beach is unparalleled in sandy perfection.

Sculputure welcoming you to one of the resorts on the key


Food is at the forefront of the Siesta Key experience. There are award-winning upscale restaurants interspersed with ultra-casual seafood spots throughout the village. Diners can indulge in the Edible Lifestyle while wearing flip-flops and Bermuda shorts or stilettos and little black dresses. Pocket change can buy a scoop of homemade ice cream at a local parlor, and a truly authentic and high-dollar Italian entrée is just footsteps away. At the end of a decadent dining night, there are cozy cottages and inns as well a luxurious homes and apartments for rent. Whether visitors are soaking up the rays, sipping drinks in the restaurants or spying on shorebirds at sunset, Siesta Key offers a slice of heaven for every taste.

Clockwise: Carved wooden head sits in the village; Infused pineapple vodka at Eat Here;
Casting a net out for some bait; Oyster’s at Siesta Key Oyster Bar { SKOB},Photo by
Kathryn Brass-Piper; the iconic yellow lifeguard stand at Siesta Key’s public beach.


Few beaches are as well preserved and naturally majestic as Siesta Beach—which can be walked barefoot any time of year without burning one’s soles. The sand, like the community, is perpetually cool. The charm is in the villagers—those who live on the Key year-round and those who have vacationed here seasonally for generations. Siesta Key has real estate options for every buyer or renter. Quaint bungalows, Old Florida–style beachfront hotels, high-rise condominiums and grandiose modern mansions keep Siesta Key’s real estate enviable and diverse. Waterfront villas with stunning sunset views are nestled near penthouse suites that overlook the entire Gulf of Mexico. With easy access to the beach and a truly pedestrian-friendly village, visitors can be car-free as well as carefree.

Clockwise: Tuna at Ophelia’s on the Bay, Photo by Peter Acker; Pizza at Flavio’s
Brick Oven, Photo by Kathryn Brass-Piper; Craft cocktails at Eat Here;
grab a cup of coffee at Lelu’s in the village; Photo by Peter Acker


A seafood seeker’s dream, Siesta Key features some of the most mouthwatering Gulf-grown menu items in all of Southwest Florida. Fresh catches are integral to the Siesta Key culture, and raw bars filled with oysters and other ocean-picked delicacies are peppered throughout the landscape. Fish tacos, lobster rolls, grilled shrimp, seared scallops and grouper sandwiches pair with tropical daiquiris and fruit-infused martinis. With its island ambiance and eateries that suit both the laid-back foodie and the sophisticated gourmand, Siesta Key is a flavor mecca to be savored.


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Beagle Bay Organics



Sauerkraut from Bradenton’s Beagle Bay Organics, that is.

Operated by Keith and Kelly Pratt, Beagle Bay Organics specializes in sauerkraut. And this isn’t your favorite hot dog vendor’s condiment. The kraut made by the Pratts is raw cabbage with Celtic sea salt that’s fermented for four to five weeks. Their product is certified organic. The idea behind Beagle Bay got started in 2004, when Kelly Pratt was experiencing some digestive problems that prompted her to search for help online. She found out that adding foods like sauerkraut to her diet—in addition to other diet changes, such as avoiding processed foods—could help her feel better. She and her husband, both former zookeepers (yes, zookeepers!), began to make their own sauerkraut.

A farmer here in Florida tried their product. “He said, ‘Make more, and I’ll sell it,’” Kelly Pratt says. That’s what prompted the Pratts to rent space in a tiny kitchen and then, eventually, the warehouse space they use now in East Bradenton. They process their product in 55-gallon drums but each batch is handmade, so there can be subtle taste differences. That adds a homemade taste to the product, the Pratts say.

The sauerkraut is made simply with cabbage—sourced from Gamble Creek Farm in Parrish when in season, otherwise from other parts of Florida, Georgia, or the Carolinas—and Celtic sea salt.

Many customers buy Beagle Bay sauerkraut for the recently touted benefits of fermented foods. Kimchi, some kinds of yogurt, kombucha, and unpasteurized sauerkraut like Beagle Bay’s contain probiotics, or healthy bacteria that helps your gut digest foods better and improve immune health, according to the Health & Nutrition Letter from Tufts University in Boston. Although fermenting food to preserve it began eons ago, fermented foods have received more attention recently for their health powers. In fact, the sauerkraut made by Beagle Bay is considered a “live” food that will continue to ferment and bubble over time. Although most people will enjoy the company’s sauerkraut within a few months, you can keep it longer for a stronger taste. In fact, the Pratts have one customer who likes the tangy taste of sauerkraut that’s fermented for two years.

The company’s tagline is “Live cultured foods for daily health.” Fermented foods are becoming more mainstream, Kelly Pratt says.

The name of the company doesn’t come from an actual place called Beagle Bay but instead from the Pratts’ two beagles (among other pets they have), who seem to enjoy any kraut they can get. The image on Beagle Bay’s jars shows a cute beagle “baying” at the moon, just like any good hound.


You can find Beagle Bay’s products at Whole Foods Markets around Florida as well as some in Georgia. The products are also sold at The Chop Shop in Bradenton, The Island Market in Anna Maria, and Locale Market in St. Petersburg. The BeachHouse, MarVista, and Sandbar Restaurants, all operated by Ed Chiles locally, include Beagle Bay sauerkraut in some of their signature dishes. And Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach buys Beagle Bay products, says Keith Pratt.

While Beagle Bay has eager fans, one challenge the Pratts have is overcoming the sour image that some consumers have of sauerkraut. “The word sauerkraut is our biggest hurdle,” he says. The company tackles this head on with the T-shirts that employees wear while working—the shirts say ‘Got kraut?’ The Pratts also will use different but still accurate names for what they make, such as slaw or cultured vegetables. And of course, sometimes it’s just a matter of tasting the product so people can experience firsthand how it’s different.

In addition to its original flavor, other varieties include carrot and dill (a hit with kids, Keith says), caraway, jalapeño, garlic, and kimchi. The kimchi version includes garlic, ginger, onions, and organic red pepper. It’s more Americanized than kimchi made in Korea, but it nevertheless packs a powerful flavor and aromatic punch, the Pratts say.

To expand their product mix, the Pratts will soon also sell beet kvass, a kind of raw juice featuring beets and other flavors.

Looking for a way to enjoy Beagle Bay’s sauerkraut without the hot dogs? The Pratts use it a condiment on eggs or in salads or wraps. You can also include it in sandwiches or try other creative uses. One to two tablespoons a day will deliver their kraut’s probiotic benefits, Kelly says.


Florida Orange Sauerkraut Salad

Beagle Bay Organics
4501 Manatee Ave W #105, Bradenton

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Championing Sustainable Seafood



Fresh, local seafood should be synonymous with Florida, yet the water-abundant Sunshine State is the country’s largest importer of aquaculture products. It is a reality that has never made sense to the eco-conscious leaders in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. And the behavior simply isn’t sustainable anymore.

Enter the Blue to Green effort, spearheaded by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation (GCCF) and its Bright Ideas on the Gulf Coast (BIG) initiative. The idea is to develop the region’s fairly hidden “blue economy” and promote its goldmine of natural resources.

The GCCF regularly awards environmental grants, and the BIG program helps pair innovators with the right resources to create new businesses that stimulate economic growth. Together, these collectives see the area’s water as the next frontier, not only for conservation purposes but also for generating revenue streams.

“One of the facts that people are increasingly becoming aware of is that a healthy economy all starts with the health of our waters,” says Greg Luberecki, a spokesman for the GCCF. “A number of different groups are already starting to work in this area to locally source more seafood and to create value-added processing of seafood right here in our community, instead of exporting it out and importing it back in at a much higher price.”

Marine scientists, seafood purveyors, philanthropists, and independent restaurateurs (like Steve Phelps of Indigenous and Ed Chiles of the Sandbar, Mar Vista, and the Beachhouse) are all becoming part of the conversation. Phelps and Chiles help by incorporating local seafood into their menus. They see the economic and ecological potential in the GCCF’s endeavors, and they want to speed up the change.

“At the foundation, we commissioned a research scan of the marine science business cluster in our region—an economic cluster study. Simultaneous to that, we were looking at different ways we could help inspire and fund innovative approaches to economic development and social entrepreneurism in our community,” Luberecki says.

Florida currently imports $2.6 billion worth
seafood each year. However, Sarasota
is worth an estimated $11.8 billion
economic value alone.

This led to the Gulf Coast Innovation Challenge, which called on marine innovators in various fields to develop their own blue economic plans. Thirty-one teams uploaded videos detailing their ideas for solutions and, on July 31, a GCCF panel will announce the finalists. Five teams could be selected to receive $25,000 in grants and complete their prototypes. If an overall winner is chosen in November, that team could receive up to $375,000. This money will help protect the area’s coastal ecosystems and bring local seafood into the international spotlight.

It is a little-known truth that no other region in the country besides Southwest Florida has three national estuaries that are as close together as Sarasota Bay, Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor. Manatee County is home to Florida’s oldest operating commercial fishing village, Cortez. Sarasota has Mote Marine Laboratory, which is one of the world’s premier marine research institutions. There is a huge market for the area’s nautical gems.

The GCCF’s Blue Economy report has identified the full scope of the region’s marine cluster and provided a blueprint for advancing its economic development—from producing more aquaculture products to exporting expertise in the fields of water monitoring and coastal ecology. There are thousands of jobs to be created and tens of millions of dollars to be made.

Florida currently imports $2.6 billion worth of seafood each year. However, Sarasota Bay is worth an estimated $11.8 billion in economic value alone (in terms of jobs, tourism, recreation, and property values).

In Cortez, grey striped mullet is a top export. Mullet roe is exported to Europe or Asia for as little as $10 per pound, yet that same Gulf Coast–raised mullet is re-imported to restaurants across the United States for more than $100 per pound. The cycle is steadily being broken as mullet bottarga is produced locally and showing up on more area menus. Processing seafood like mullet locally reduces food’s ecological footprint and drives economic opportunity.

Caviar is expensive and overfishing has endangered the wild sturgeon population. But Mote Marine Laboratory has figured out a way to responsibly farm the Siberian sturgeon that produces best-selling caviar. Southeast Venture (Seven) Holdings recently purchased this caviar operation and licensed the water technology from Mote. Seven Holdings and its Healthy Earth brand are dedicated to developing sustainable agriculture and aquaculture operations.

The Seven Holdings / Mote pairing is one of the region’s first examples of commercializing research and public-private partnerships. There is much more ahead.

“We are raising awareness and we are hopeful,” Luberecki says. “This is just the beginning.”

The Gulf Coast Community Foundation
601 S Tamiami Trl, Venice

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Amidst the sweltering heat of a midsummer’s night, cool off and refresh the senses with a scoop of fresh icy-cold sorbet and a fluffy citrus-kissed sopapilla drizzled with orange blossom honey. It’s a simply-dreamy summertime dessert!

Summer Sorbets

Abundant sun-ripened seasonal fruit provides the base for summer sorbets. Take advantage of market stands overflowing with sweet berries, juicy peaches, tropical mangos, and tart cherries by turning them into frozen treats bursting with fresh flavor.

Sorbets (sor-BAYS) are not only healthier and lighter than their cream-based cousins (ice creams, gelati, sherbets), they are also quicker and easier to make. This is because sorbet is made using a flavored sugar syrup base instead of a more labor-intensive custard base. The concoction’s characteristic smooth texture results from churning air into the base mixture, which is where an ice cream machine comes in handy. If this step is skipped, the result is an icy texture more typical of a granita.

While sorbet’s sugar syrup base is traditionally created with equal parts sugar and water, the following recipes feature a honey syrup base. Honey is a less refined sweetener, and offers beneficial antioxidant and antimicrobial properties that are not present in table sugar. Its signature flavor, combined with seasonal fruit and a touch of floral essences, is the secret to these magical frozen delights


Blueberry-Lavender Sorbet

Peach-Rose Sorbet

Easy Sopapillas with Citrus Zest


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Marcello’s Ristorante



“I use garlic and olive oil like a condiment,
the way most people use ketchup and mustard”

“I use garlic and olive oil like a condiment, the way most people use ketchup and mustard,” says Marcello Aquino, clearly a culinary genius.

If you’ve already eaten at Marcello’s Ristorante, the cozy, unassuming gem nestled into the tiniest of shopping strips on U.S. 41, then you don’t need one single word of this article to convince you how special this nine-table Italian eatery is.

If you haven’t eaten there, please don’t. It’s already hard enough to snag a table among Marcello’s devotees and one bite of his mealtime magic would undoubtedly work its spell on you too, leaving you helpless to do anything but join the rest of the legion camped outside the door all day, nose pressed against the glass, just waiting for the burners to fire up.

Marcello is a quintessential New York Italian chef, with bold words and big flavors, and his restaurant a reflection of a time when folks gathered at the family’s favorite neighborhood boîte for simple dishes with robust flavors, waiters who remember your favorite order, truly stellar wine choices and ingredients from local markets meant to remind you of what fresh food tastes like.

His dishes are uncomplicated and straightforward, which feels like a new sense of culinary ingenuity in today’s society of foie gras foams and yuzu pearls. To be clear, simple does not mean Marcello’s is serving elementary fare. Quite the contrary. Marcello uses just a handful of easily recognizable ingredients (tomatoes, parsley, garlic, wine, lemon, butter) to create dishes that even an advanced home cook would need years and years to master.

It’s because he’s fearless. Where some would use a splash of this and a dash of that and others would prepare their entrees ‘just so,’ Marcello goes in whole hog, paying no attention to measurements and minutia. There’s no mistaking the lemon in his Limonata. His veal medallion is pounded so perfectly thin you could use it as a paper towel. His cioppino is a boat of fresh shells and seafood in a tomato broth so absurdly delicious that it seems absolutely reasonable to ask for a barrel of it to take home to bathe in. Some people are just born with talent. Whitney was born to sing. Ernest was born to write. Marcello was born to cook. Period.

To understand the restaurant is to understand

Marcello. Because he is the restaurant. “I built the entire restaurant myself, with my own hands. I screwed the sheet rock to the wall,” he explains. “I built myself a job. It’s a place for me to cook. The restaurant is small, so I can be hands on and cook everything myself.

I’m the first guy in and the last guy out. I’m the one with the keys.”



He’s also the one with the pots, pans, oven, grill and fryer in his open kitchen, which he manages all at once in the style of an old-fashioned one-man band. Marcello stands in a small square, roughly the size of an SUV. On one side stretches a small counter which serves as his prep and serving station. Against the other wall lies a full-service kitchen that can’t be longer than the man’s wingspan. The flames from the burner spike higher than his head and the pasta water acts as his sous-chef, becoming a base for sauces, the constant companion that doesn’t leave his side.

Marcello’s is built around freshness. Each day, Marcello picks up fresh catch from Walt’s Fish Market and his specials board reflects what’s good. Season and weekends are generally too busy for Marcello to create dishes that require too much time or energy, like risotto—which he refuses to par-cook ahead of time—or rabbit, dishes he saves for the upcoming slower days of summer. There is a menu that boasts tried and true Italian favorites, which are absolutely wonderful, but the specials are, well, special.



The servers at Marcello’s are also spectacular.

They know their stuff. They recognize you when you walk in. They remember your last conversation. They know your favorite bottle of wine. They don’t rush you. They want you to enjoy your experience. “I like cooking, they like serving. We find it fun. We like people coming in for a good time,” Marcello adds matter of factly, which you would think would be par for the course at restaurants, but alas, good servers and good chefs are few and far between.

“It’s not that I am an awesome chef with all the secrets,” he says. “It’s that I do it the right way: smaller, simpler things done right.”

Yeah, uh huh. If you say so, Marcello. Your secret’s safe with us.

Marcello Ristorante
4155 S Tamiami Trl, Sarasota


Marcello’s Grilled Pompano Livornese


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Summer Grillin’



Summertime in Southwest Florida is in full swing—the sun is blazing, the cicadas are buzzing, and the scents of sea salt and freshly cut grass linger in the still air. It’s the quintessential season for lounging under a fan, sipping an icy drink, and firing up the grill for a quick-to-cook, easy-to-eat meal! What better dish than grilled kebabs to complement this easy living? Showcasing tender chunks of flame-kissed meats (or seafood, tofu, even cheese) interspersed with juicy, charred summer produce, kebabs offer a meal on a stick, ready to be enjoyed one succulent bite at a time.

No matter how you spear them (kebabs are said to have originated with soldiers grilling meat on their swords over an open fire!), kebabs’ flavor possibilities are as varied as the summer evenings are long.

The recipes here feature the fresh tastes of the Mediterranean, where the tradition of enjoying skewered, grilled meat dates back to ancient times.


Greek Chicken Kebabs with Tzatziki Sauce

Grilled Feta & Veggie Kebabs

Grilled Peach & Angel Food Cake
Skewers with Honeyed Mascarpone


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There’s nothing quite so charming as a farmers’ market. There’s easy banter floating in the air, mixing with the aromas of fresh savory crepes, chocolates, plants, and handmade candles. Wandering from booth to booth one can stock up on supplies for dinner, gifts for beloved pets, unique home accents, and stylish handmade accessories.

These are a few of our favorite things.

Sarasota Farmers’ Market


We like to start a morning at the market with a giggle. Drew of Sarasota Candle Company is not only a talented candle craftsman, but he’s also something of a comedian. The candles are beautiful and natural with names and flavors ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. The floating coconut candles are filled with palm wax and who could resist a sky-blue candle named for a Sarasota Breeze?

Sarasota Farmers’ Market


If you’re looking for a hand-held, fast food treat made with good-for-you ingredients, look no further. Roverta’s crazy crepes are lovingly made to order using fresh, seasonal produce. These are an incredibly popular choice and people line up for their favorites. There’s a variety of savory and sweet options like bacon, egg, and cheese or banana and chocolate with fresh whipped cream.

Venice Farmers’ Market


Did you know that pickle juice is purported to cure heartburn, hangovers, and reduce PMS symptoms? We learned this fun fact perusing Pickles Plus’ page—on Facebook, that is. Pickles Plus has been a staple at the Venice Farmers’ Market since 2005 and the “plus” in Pickles Plus is raw, unprocessed honey and some utterly yummy homemade preserves. Come for the pickles and stay for the plus—you’re sure to enjoy this booth as much as we do.

Sarasota Farmers’ Market


Sarasota Sorbet features fruit sorbets served in their natural shells but there’s plenty more to this booth than just frosty confections. Mary is an inspired chocolatier and you can’t go wrong with flavors like key lime truffles, sea salt and caramel, or our favorite extra-spicy sweets: chocolate covered with ghost pepper salt!

As their banner declares, “Life is uncertain, eat dessert first!”

Sarasota Farmers’ Market
Phillippi Farmhouse Market


Calling all carnivores: Dave of Big D’s Jerky has you covered with his high-quality, all-USDA, no-filler dried meats. Big D’s has a variety of flavored beef jerkys, from teriyaki to peppered, but he also carries more exotic options such as elk, venison, and buffalo. We like to keep this enjoyable jerky on hand as a post workout snack or to curb late night munchies.

Sarasota Farmers’ Market


Aquaponics is the term for an incredible symbiotic system whereby plants extract nutrients from waste water created by fish, thereby purifying the water, which is then recycled back to the fish. David’s Aquaponics utilizes hundreds of tilapia housed in David’s backyard to grow the fresh spinach and lettuce that he then sells at the market. Who needs an entire farm to be a farmer? Not David!



Boca Grande Farmers’ Market
305 Wheeler Rd
Friday 9:30am- 1:30pm


Bradenton Farmers’ Market
Old Main St (12th St W)
Saturday 9am–2pm

Bridge Street Market
Historic Bridge St
Sunday 10am–3pm


Ellenton Farmers’ Market
6750 US 301(Rocky Bluff Library)
Saturday 9am–2pm
Year Round

Ellenton Sunday Market
5309 29th St E (Ice & Sports Complex)
Sunday 8am-2pm


Dearborn Street Market
348 W Dearborn St
Thursday 9am-2pm
October- April

Englewood Farmers’ Market
Historic Dearborn St
Thursday 9am–2pm


North Port Farmers’/Craft Market
14942 Tamiami Tr
Saturday 8am–2pm
Year Round


Punta Gorda Farmers’ Market
Taylor St
Saturday 8am–1pm
Year Round


Central Sarasota Farmers’ Market
4748 S Beneva Rd
Saturday 8am- 1pm
Year Round

Old Miakka Farmers’ Market
Old Miakka United Methodist Church
1620 Myakka Rd, Sarasota
Saturday 10am–2pm
Year Round

Phillippi Farmhouse Market
Phillippi Estate Park
Wednesday 9am–2pm

Sarasota Farmers’ Market
Main St & Lemon Ave
Saturday 7am–1pm
Year Round

Siesta Key Farmers’ Market
5124 Ocean Blvd
Sunday 8am–2pm
Year Round

The Market at Five Points
First St & N Pineapple Ave
( Five Points Park)
Wednesday 10am-2pm


Venice Farmers’ Market
Nokomis & Tampa Ave.
Saturday 8am–12pm
Year Round

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Siesta Key’s only beachfront campground



Waking up outdoors feels like magic. It’s even more sublime if you’re doing it on Siesta Key and Evan Gastman is making breakfast. Gastman—the chef at The Cottage and The Hub, both on Siesta— slides a rectangle of foil with crimped-up sides onto the blistering grate of a propane grill set up at campsite number 20 of Siesta’s county-owned Turtle Beach Campground. Inside the package:  lets of sea trout, bathed in lemon juice and a touch of Liquid Smoke and decorated with kosher salt and long strands of dill. Over top goes an upside-down, crazy-hot cast iron skillet, creating a small pocket of extreme heat. Little clouds of hot air waft here and there away from the grill. The foil sizzles. Stomachs rumble.

The goal today is simple. A group of guys has gathered to hang out, catch some fish and eat them. Gastman is doing the heavy lifting on the cooking end. Scott Dolan of Big Water Fish Market is on hand, too, delivering  lets from his collection of exceptional Gulf species when the  sh aren’t biting. And Todd Piper, the manager of Siesta Sports Rentals, has brought kayaks and other gear to keep everyone afloat.


But before they can go fishing, they need to wake up. Coffee helps, as does a jug of Bloody Marys. As the  sh on the grill smokes away, Gastman cracks eggs into a small Tupperware box then shakes the plastic to break up the yolks. He pops the lid o a jar of sriracha and dumps a dose over a mix of mascarpone and more lemon juice. Once the  sh has cooked through, Gastman flips the cast iron right side up and tosses in a thick brick of butter. The eggs go in next.

“It’s a twist on the same dish with smoked salmon,” New York native Gastman says about this morning’s recipe. “It’s an homage to my childhood.” The result blends the subtle smoke from the grill, the soft richness of the slowly scrambled eggs and the smooth lactose of the cheese.

And that’s just breakfast. While everyone is chowing down, Gastman’s already working on lunch, mixing a whole box of Morton salt with egg whites and chopped dill and chives into a thick slurry. He spreads a quarter of that paste onto the bottom of another foil pouch then places a whole bar jack on top of the mixture. He covers the glistening fish with the rest of the salt. After just a few minutes on the grill, the salt blend has already begun forming the brown crust that will encase the fish’s flesh and keep it moist as it bakes.

Breakfast has disappeared. Lunch will be here soon. For now, there’s nothing to do but hit the water. Grab your reel.



Corvina with Fresh Eggs, Spicy Mascarpone & Crispy Bagel Chips



Herb & Salt-Crusted Whole Bar Jack with
Summer Vegetable Quinoa Tabbouleh



Cast Iron Snapper and Grilled Fingerlings &
Corn Salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Big Water Fish Market
6641 Midnight Pass Rd, Sarasota

Siesta Sports Rentals
6551 Midnight Pass Rd, Sarasota

The Cottage
153 Avenida Messina, Sarasota

The Hub Baja-Grill
5148 Ocean Blvd, Sarasota

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July thru September

Barbados Cherry
Hot Peppers
Malabar Spinach
Muscadine Grapes
Passion Fruit
Seminole Pumpkin
Southern Peas
Sugar Apples
Surinam Cherry
Yard-Long Beans



Summer Fruit Tonic


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It’s in the Bag



With the first heat wave of June comes the simplicity of summer. It’s just too hot for too much fuss. We crave breezy boat days, long naps, and easy eats. And there’s no easier way to enjoy the flavors of summer than with fish in a bag. Fancier folk call this en papillote, meaning in parchment, but that would require effort to pronounce, so let’s stick with fish in a bag. Regardless of the name, the method is the same and incredibly simple: Fresh fish, aromatics, and vegetables are layered together within a folded parchment pouch and baked. The fish gently steams with the chosen accompaniments yielding moist and flavorful fish. We’re talking jaw-dropping flavor and melt-in-your-mouth moisture. Maximum results from minimal effort while leaving plenty of time for beating the heat—now that’s summer eating at its best.


Steamed Grouper with Corn,Tomatoes & Basil

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Sea Purslane


Kevan Main has recognized the potential for a seafood crisis in the U.S and is doing her best to alter that course.

“It is really important that we start to produce some of the seafood that we are eating,” says Main, PhD, a scientist with 30 years’ experience in aquaculture, and director of the Mote Aquaculture Park located on 200 acres east of I-75 in Sarasota County. “Ninety-one percent of the seafood we eat in this country is imported.”

Main and her team of Mote Marine Laboratory staff, students, and volunteers are conducting ongoing research in aquaculture,  rst devoting their attention locally to bringing aquaculture-derived products to the Sarasota market but with aspirations to share their technology on a national level.

“There really has been a lot of pushback against any kind of aquaculture,” says Main. “We have land-based catfish production, trout production in raceways, and tilapia production in ponds and tanks. But if we go through the food  sh, we are almost done with what we do in this country.”

The aquaculture team at Mote is currently focused on a Florida Sea Grant–funded project in aquaponics—the marriage of aquaculture and hydroponic growing techniques— to raise  sh and grow edible plants in a symbiotic, closed-loop system.


While the concept of aquaponics is not new, until now the focus has been on freshwater operations. But Main’s team has successfully added an important dimension to the mix: the ability to sustain in-land marine aquaponics focused speci cally on saltwater  sh and sea vegetables. And though traditional aquaponics is focused on the production of edible plant products with the  sh viewed as a by-product of the process, Main is taking a di erent approach.

“I wanted to make it all about the  sh and the plants were an additional product—not a by-product, but an additional one,” she says. Recirculating technology combined with an additional level of  ltration in Mote’s system allows them to sustain larger amounts of fish than a traditional system.

“The marine aquaponics is a simpler approach to recirculating technology than we normally use, and it’s more complex than traditional aquaponics,” explains Main. The plants and fish are being reared in brackish water (Main refers to it as “halfstrength seawater”) and the system is extremely water-conscious.

“The marine work we are doing here it is 100 percent recycled,” says Main. “So, every drop of water that comes into the system has to be filtered and reused.” An on-site freshwater well is used to replenish any water lost to evaporation.

“In saltwater, it’s a whole lot more complex,” says Main. “The filtration is harder to do, the equipment harder to maintain.”

It all starts with three round, 872-gallon, black-bottom tanks containing redfish. The water from the tanks is moved and filtered to remove solid waste and break down harmful ammonia. The nutrient-rich water is then gravity fed through four “raceways”—42- foot-long by four-foot-wide raised planters with water flowing through the bottoms—of sea vegetables. Any nutrients the plants don’t use are filtered through a screen and fed back into the tanks. The solid waste (sludge) created during the filtration process is utilized as fertilizer for an additional on-site project growing wetland plants (currently mangroves).

Clockwise: Sea wort being grown through aquaponics;
Homegrown raised Pompano; Kevan Main, PHD showing
off her aquaponic system; Purslane and sea wort ready to
deliver to Indigenous Restaurant; In the lab gathering research.

The recirculating and filtering technology has also allowed Mote to work within the strict federal and environmental regulations Main considered a major cause of the delay in developing successful marine aquaponics systems in this country. Meeting these standards bears an additional cost to production.

“If you have to filter and clean all that water, then you are going to be spending more to produce the product than someone who is growing [fish] in another country and just sending that water out into the ocean,” Main says.

To support a market for aquaponicsproduced fish, consumers must be willing to forego the idea that wholesale seafood should be cheap, and be willing to pay more for the socially responsible and sustainably produced option.

The system has the potential to grow many species of marine fish, but this particular phase of the project is focused on redfish, because of its hardy nature. And while there are currently plenty of market-size redfish in Mote’s tanks, before they make their way to fishmongers and restaurants around the Tampa Bay area they’ll be moved to a purging tank to eliminate any off-flavor compounds, which can give the fish a muddy taste (quite common of fish in recirculating systems). Main plans to begin to test market small numbers of red drum this summer.

Since this is not a commercial operation, a limited supply of product will become available to the public for just three to six months. Although Mote’s redfish have yet to hit your market, the sea purslane growing in the majority of the raceways has been offered since January, with success at the downtown farmers’ market and with some local chefs. The money from sale of the veggies and eventually the fish will continue to go back into project.

The current funding for the project ends in February, but Main is hopeful her requested funding will allow her team to fine-tune the technology and expand the local marketing side of the product.

“My vision is that you would have small farms—maybe one in Sarasota—but it’s focused on producing fish and vegetables for the local market and niche marketing it into places that want to highlight sustainable seafood,” says Main.


Even though it grows abundantly in Florida, wild harvest of the plant is discouraged due to its importance to coastline stabilization and until Mote’s aquaculture team came on the scene, you’d have been hard-pressed to find it in any local food markets. With a unique salty, peppery flavor and long shelf life when refrigerated, this sea vegetable is good raw or sautéed; to complement a salad or jazz up a stir-fry or grilled piece of fish or seafood.

Find Mote’s sea purslane for purchase at Peter Burkard’s stand at the Sarasota Farmers’ Market downtown on Saturdays.

Mote Marine Laboratory
1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota


Chiogga Beet and Red Ribbon Arugula Salad
with Lemon Verbena and Purple Haze Goat Cheese

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B’s Cool Treats



In her bright yellow and burnt orange 1979 Good Humor truck, Brenda Zook peddles sweet nostalgia. She is the guts and the grins behind B’s Cool Treats— the kind of business that lets adults relive their youth and children make the most of theirs.

Zook carries more than 40 high-quality frozen treats (including locally made artisan popsicles from Pop Craft Pops) to neighborhoods, businesses, birthday parties and employee appreciation gettogethers throughout the Sarasota-Manatee area. Zook loves the gig she stumbled into; it is one she never expected would find her.

“How it started was, one Saturday morning, my partner was reading the paper and saw this ice cream truck for sale and said to me, ‘This is what you ought to do,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, right,’” says Zook, 62, who had spent 25 years in the electronics industry. “I was scared. I had a regular job at the time with good benefits.”

“One thing about my job
is no one’s ever grumpy
when they come up to
my truck, which is nice.”

But Zook was looking for a career move when the newspaper ad appeared. She went to check out the truck. She vacillated. She didn’t buy it at first. Then, she took a class at the Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County about how to start and manage a business. A year after that, the same truck appeared in the paper and a different owner was selling it. Zook took it as a sign. That was in 2011—the year everything shifted.

“I knew what I needed to do,” Zook says. “I wrote a business plan.”

With her new ride—a vintage truck with an original cold plate freezer and a recently installed compressor—Zook was ready. She understood the wheels, as she had serviced her own cars in her youth. She also got regular checkups from her buddies at Burks Transmission & Service. She started cruising into neighborhoods.

“I still remember that first day when I went out in a neighborhood and turned on my music and started driving down the street. I was kind of embarrassed that I was bringing that attention to myself,” Zook says.

Nerves aside, she visited the same neighborhoods at the same time each week and garnered regulars. Then came food trucks, farmers’ markets, summer camps and corporate events. Zook is known for selling the Good Humor line’s éclairs and chocolate chip cookie sandwiches, and Blue Bunny’s drumsticks and bomb pops, among other old-fashioned delights. She has six $1 items but the average price is $2.50. She even serves a dog-friendly ice cream.

“One thing about my job is no one’s ever grumpy when they come up to my truck, which is nice,” Zook says. “I feel like I’m always making friends.”

B’s Cool Treats


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Nicole Leffler is equally comfortable bicycling around Costa Rica as she is summering with family in Croatia but when she’s behind the counter at her health and wellness store, Wild Ginger Apothecary, she truly appears to be in her element. Nicole becomes animated as she extolls the benefits of the many natural and unique products that line the rough-hewn wood shelves. The store is divided into sections: Health, Home, Hair, Body, Beauty, Scent, and Skin. There’s even a Learn section and a Drink section. Chalkboards with quotes from the likes of Jack Kerouac and Yves Saint Laurent reflect some of Nicole’s philosophies regarding embracing life and using nature as a balm for the spirit as well as the body.

Nicole believes that products should be sampled and tested before purchase and she always has fun goodies behind the counter such as morsels of spiced stone-ground chocolate or a top-selling natural deodorant or tiny vials of serum from the skincare line that she swears by. Nicole prides herself on weaning people off of chemically enhanced and animal-tested products by introducing them to natural alternatives that are just as, if not more, effective than their toxic counterparts. Nicole has a degree in business management and is also a certified holistic health coach and has taken many hours of continuing education classes in natural cosmetics and skincare.

Nicole is originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and she grew up visiting her grandmother in Sarasota. After spending time studying yoga in Costa Rica and visiting family in Germany and Croatia she has chosen to settle in Sarasota, giving in to what she calls that overused but nonetheless true hash tag: “I live where you vacation.” She’s made a home in Gulf Gate, setting up shop and setting about creating a neighborhood collaboration of local businesses. Nicole introduced Gulf Gate to “First Friday,” a business open house held the first Friday of every month from 6 to 9pm, and the event has been a great way to introduce people to the store and to other businesses in the area.

Wild Ginger Apothecary has been known to serve delicious and nutritious Kombucha Cocktails at these fun events. Nicole recently expanded her concept by building a yoga studio and wellness center called Wild Ginger Lifestyle two doors from her store where classes ranging from Pilates to Qigong are available to the public.

Nicole plans to offer a rotating display of local art in the studio as yet another way to emphasize her support of shopping small and local. On Saturday mornings at 9 a group of people gather in the store for the weekly “Get Waisted” meetings, where they learn about healthy weight loss and natural detoxification. Nicole’s passion is evident and the Wild Ginger Apothecary Lifestyle is staging a healthy revolution headquartered in Gulf Gate Shopping Village.

Wild Ginger Apothecary
6557 Superior Ave, Sarasota




Bottomless pints of Florida-made craft beer. Small plates of gourmet fare from local celebrity chefs. Live DJ–spun melodies. Serious revelry. This is the Summer Chef Jam—the off-season’s hot annual offering at the Shamrock Pub in downtown Sarasota— and it is rolling into year six.

Every June to August, Shamrock owner Derek Anderson and the staff at Edible Sarasota magazine team up to create a community- centric ritual that has a tri-fold purpose: to introduce the public to area brewers, to bring attention to the chefs and menus from independent restaurants, and to kick up an otherwise sleepy patch of the Southwest Florida calendar.

When the snowbirds depart, the service industry feels the absence, and any boost for bartenders, servers, brewers, and restaurateurs fills the void in the balmy months. The Chef Jam has helped this cause since its inception.

Hundreds of people have attended the event. Patrons have learned about what beers go with what bites. They have later found themselves buying cases of ale from companies they might never have discovered otherwise. They have ended up visiting locales they never knew had such world-class artistes in their kitchens.

This year, nine chefs will be spotlighted one by one for nine weeks from 7 to 9 p.m. each Monday at the Shamrock, starting on June 15 and ending on August 31 (with a couple of breaks in between). There will be a Chefs2U food truck onsite (also one of the event’s sponsors) and various flavors of homemade artisan popsicles from Pop Craft Pops.

The culinary lineup is as follows: Darwin’s On 4th Chef Darwin Santa Maria on June 15, Jack Dusty’s Chef Caleb Taylor on June 22, The Cottage’s Chef Evan Gastman on June 29, Mattison’s Chef Paul Mattison on July 13, Louies Modern’s chef on July 20, Michael’s On East Chef Jamil Pineda on July 27, Made’s Chef Mark Woodruff on August 3, Indigenous Chef Steve Phelps on August 10, and a chef appreciation night by Chefs2U on August 31. The nightly cost is $25 for three plates, unlimited beers and a popsicle. The pub can only hold 50 people at a time, so seats are limited and sold on a first-come, firstserve basis.

Menus in years past have included dishes like spiced corned beef carpaccio with turnip kraut, a poached egg, rye croutons, pickled mustard seeds and Gruyere cheese fondue. The meal was paired with Swamp Head Brewery’s Hydroslide (a dry-hopped Kölsch-style ale made just a few hours north in Gainesville).

Complex, elevated flavors are always washed down with meticulously picked complements at the Chef Jam. It is a bold and beery bash.

Shamrock Pub
2257 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota




Shortly after the birth of her daughter seven years ago, Aneta Lundquist underwent a dietary renaissance. Compelled to improve the health of her growing family, the Sarasota mother began clearing out her pantry and consciously cleansing her body. She took a class on cooking wild fermented foods. There, she discovered the magic of kombucha.

“My passion is food and I’ve always been in the kitchen. But when my daughter was born, it made me look at my life from a different angle,” she says. “We started turning our life in a new direction.”

She and her husband, Eric, were running a boat-cleaning business in Wisconsin at the time, and Aneta Lundquist craved a career change. Kombucha kept calling her—this living, sparkling tea full of B vitamins, acids and organic enzymes that she had researched. She started making it by fermenting her own tea using a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). Her husband suggested that they sell the organic, handcrafted beverage.

It took Aneta Lundquist a year to perfect her four flavors: ginger, lemon-lime-cayenne, raspberry-hibiscus and orange-turmericcinnamon. Then came the packaging and labeling. Because the first recorded use of kombucha was in China in 221 B.C. during the Tsin Dynasty (when it was known as the “tea of immortality” and was said to be a cure-all for diseases), the Lundquists called their brand Kombucha 221 B.C.

“Kombucha has live enzymes and helps break down your food so you can absorb vitamins and minerals,” Aneta Lundquist says. “We have had … Read More

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