Kale yeah! Salads are no longer the side piece. As consumers become more ingredient conscious, chefs and restaurateurs across the globe are being pushed to think beyond traditional proteins, and experiment with ethnic flavors and greens-based dishes to accommodate varying palates. Caesar salad, move over and make room for quinoa and farro bowls topped with spicy broccoli, roasted chickpeas and basil.

This month happens to be National Salad Month, and thankfully, here in Florida, we’ve got an abundance of fresh greens and vegetables to mix and match to whip up amazing creations. We’ll start with three places in town to get your salad fix.

Forks up. . . let’s eat our way to summer.

1. The Sanctum Cafe


Dish: Savage Salad – Organic greens, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, eggplant and corn – all roasted and tossed with bell peppers, sweet onions, carrot ribbons, celery, jicama, zucchini, peas and pepitas. Served with rosemary dressing.

Local Fare: Corn from Long & Scott Farms (Zellwood, Fla.), Deer Park Peaches (Saint Cloud, Fla.) and salad greens and microgreens from The Greenhouse (Apopka, Fla.).

Favorite Salad Ingredient: “Roasted cauliflower is one my favorite toppings!” – Chef-Owner Chelsea Savage

2. The COOP


The Skinny: The new salad bar costs $9.99 per person and includes an endless amount of offerings, such as locally-sourced greens and vegetables, proteins and house made dressings.

Local Fare: The COOP is trekking around the state and shopping with Alderman Farms (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and L&M Farms (Palatka, Fla.).

Favorite Salad Ingredients: “I like the grilled vegetables and the specialty salads that rotate daily at the end of the bar. One of my favorites is a Hoppin’ John Succotash that Whitney makes and a few more are grilled asparagus, roasted tomatoes and feta cheese.” – Chef-Owner John Rivers

3. Dixie Kharma
Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

Dish: Hail Kale Salad – Garlicky kale, blackened corn, pickled beets and watermelon rind and smoked tempeh

Local Fare: In this salad, Dixie Kharma’s uses Florida-grown corn and watermelon. When available, they toss in baby kale grown in their pallet garden located in front of Market on South.

Favorite Salad Ingredients: “We love to mix it up. Local ingredients are our first choice. Everything from peppery greens and herbs are a must. Pickled veggies, fruits and roots, heirloom beans and grains are also great.” – Dixie Kharma crew

Greens Guide  

Here’s a handful of local shops to visit to stock up on greens, grains and vegetables. This list is in no way inclusive of our local offerings in Central Florida, so comment with your local go-to store! 

What To Buy Right Now

Bell Pepper | Blueberry | Cabbage | Cantaloupe | Carrot | Celery | Cucumber | Eggplant Grapefruit | Guava | Mango | Mushroom | Orange | Papaya | Peaches | Radish | Sweet Corn | Tangerine | Tomato | Watermelon

Seasonal Recipe – Taverna Opa Orlando’s Watermelon Feta Salad Pizza
Taverna Opa Salad


  • 1 Watermelon slice
  • 1 Oz. Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 6 Kalamata olives, sliced
  • 5 Mint leaves
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Balsamic glaze


  • On a cutting board, slice the watermelon in half
  • Place the flat side down, and cut a one-inch thick slice, then cut into five slices
  • Plate on a round dish and add feta cheese, olives, mint leaves and drizzle with balsamic glaze

Snack on,

Chauniqua Major, but we’re friends so call me Major!


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I can’t tell you how much I really love the Magnolia Square Market, a German market and deli run by the Hollerbach family in Sanford, Florida.

You may be familiar with Hollerbach’s Willow Tree in historic downtown Sanford, but right around the corner is this hidden gem of a German market, featuring authentic German deli meats, bratwursts, cheeses, beers, German chocolates, and even gluten-free baked goods. Now, you can take all the German sausage and sauerkraut fun from Willow Tree home with you after the night is over.

Theo Hollerbach has always dreamed of having his own German Deli. When he grew up in Kyllburg, Germany, he lived with his mother and grandparents, who owned a small butcher shop in his little town. His mother was also one of the first women to become a certified butcher in their area. Ever since his journey to America, he has always longed for the smells and tastes of the little town he was a child in. Now, he finally has the opportunity to bring his memories to life with the Hollerbach’s Magnolia Square Market.

I especially love all the different imported chocolates and house made cakes and pastries here.

The staff here were all very kind and gracious with suggestions as well, helping us find just the right deli meats and allowing us to sample different cuts to find out their taste. On a recent visit, we got quite a few sandwiches and meat cuts to go, and they even stored it for us at the restaurant to keep cold until we were done with dinner at the Willow Tree.

Definitely check out this market the next time you are in Sanford, especially while waiting for a table at the Willow Tree.











Hollerbach's Magnolia Square Market on Urbanspoon

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Around the corner from Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe in historic downtown Sanford is this hidden gem of a German market: Magnolia Square Market. They feature authentic German deli meats, bratwursts, cheeses, beers, German chocolates, and even have gluten-free baked goods.

Everything is very clean and new here, I think it was recently built. On one side there is an entire section with home-brewing materials and grains so that you can bring home the joys of the Willow Tree Cafe with you and make it yourself. They even have classes that you can sign up for to learn more about home-brewing. You can even buy a “boot” and other beer mugs as soon at the Willow Tree.

One of my favorite items from this shop was the chocolate rum balls, decadent, rich chocolate cake balls that were just amazing. I picked up a few other chocolates and some gelbwurst and leberkase deli meats that were recommended to me by a very friendly fellow patron at the market. The staff here were all very kind and gracious with suggestions as well.

Check out the posts also from Leon of LakeMaryFoodCritic and Magnolia Square Market’s own blog by an American Girl in a German Deli.


Photos around the shop

Hollerbach’s Magnolia Square Market on Urbanspoon

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All the great Asian markets in Orlando are located either near downtown in the Mills Avenue / SR 50 area or on the west side at Pine Hills at the 1st Oriental Market. Although small Asian Markets have existed through out the east side of Orlando for a while now, the newly opened Eastside Asian Market is the largest one to open to date and is a welcomed addition for those living on the east side who need to buy their Asian goods without traveling far.

Eastside Asian Market sits just east of the 408 exit on Colonial Drive in a newly built plaza next to the BP gas station. They also operate under the name “Farm Fresh Produce” in the same building and are aptly named so as they have quite the selection of fresh vegetables and fruits both local and out of state. The market is sparkling clean and new, stocked with the essentials of Asian cooking from soy sauces, noodles, rice, dried mushrooms, and more. The even have a large selection of ramen for those of you who are on a tight budget or going to UCF. Though they are not as large as the ones downtown or on the west, their selection should be sufficient for most shopper’s everyday needs.

Eastside Asian Market is owned by a local family here in Orlando who are devout Buddhists and vegetarians. You will notice that they have a large variety of vegetarian items at this Asian market including the veggies and fruits, they have tofu products and “faux” meat items that spice up the typical vegetarian diet.

They also quartered off a section of the market into a cafe with a developing menu specializing in Taiwanese dishes and, all of course, vegetarian. At their cafe, they currently serve boba milk tea, taro slush, flavored black tea (passionfruit, mango, strawberry, lychee), shaved ice, fruit slush, fruit smoothies, special buns, egg rolls, dumplings, egg pancakes, and are still adding items as time goes on.

On a recent Friday afternoon, I had the chance to try the famous vegetarian “special buns” (2 for $4.99). The recipe is a secret and has been made by the owner Ronald’s father for over 20 years at home as a treat. The special buns were delicious, spicy flavored slices of tofu and mushroom in sweet “mantou” wheat buns. I also had the deep fried dumplings (6 for $3.95) and they were also vegetarian and pretty delicious, not unlike the korean mandoo dumplings that I have had served in New York. I washed everything down with a nice cool cup of flavored passionfruit black tea.

Overall, I think Eastside Asian Market is an awesome addition to the life on the east side of Orlando and hope they continue to bring fresh produce and food to Orlando.

Eastside Asian Market
12950 E Colonial Dr, Ste 106
Orlando, FL 32828
(407) 615-8881


Florida Oranges!





Instant Ramen aisle!


The Eastside Asian Market’s Cafe


Menu 1


Menu 2


“Special Buns”


Special Buns, they are delicious…


Fried dumplings (vegetarian)!

Passionfruit tea

“Special Buns” …#winning
Eastside Asian Market on Urbanspoon 

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It’s Monday night. In a parking lot outside of Stardust, a crowd has gathered. Booths line the edges of the lot selling jewelry, farm fresh eggs, plants, breads, and even the fortune written in the wrinkles of your palm hand. A musician strums his guitar on the make-shift stage while the audience looks on, enjoying their freshly made meals and the night air in the Audubon Park community, deep in the heart of Orlando.

The Audubon Park neighborhood is home to Stardust Video and Coffee, Blue Bird Bake Shop, and a few other great shops on the corner of Corrine Drive and E Winter Park Rd just north of the Orlando Fashion Square Mall.

Every Monday night from 6pm-10pm, Audubon Park Community Market is held in the parking lot of Stardust Coffee, where one can find “Ourlando community’s source for the best selection of truly local food, from produce and other farm goods to prepared foods, grocery items and meals.”

At the Audubon Park Community Market, truly a “night market” in Orlando, you can find food that is locally grown, raised, caught or made right here in Florida emphasizing freshness and sustainable practices. Whether its cage free eggs sold through Chef Tony Adams and Big Wheel Provisions, or artisan bread from Olde Hearth Breads, to ocean caught fish from Wild Ocean Seafood (from the same people who brought us Dixie Crossroads), local is the key ingredient to all of these vendors.

On this visit, I saw some old friends, like Mark Baratelli of giving away pants of dispair from the Apathetics in exchange for signing up for his email list serv, and bought charmoula, a African marinade and dip, from Big Wheel Provisions (apparently one of the top 11 things you must eat in Orlando according to Orlando Weekly). I also bought some fresh home made gnocchi and black olive bread from Olde Hearth Bread Company.

This weekly gathering of friends, local food, local art, live music and more takes place in the Stardust parking lot at 1842 E Winter Park Rd. Every Monday, from 6pm to 10pm, creating a place where people can come together.
Audobon Park Community Market from Big Wheel Provisions on Vimeo.

Big Wheel Provisions
Fresh eggs and charmoula!


Wild Ocean Seafood

Mark Baratelli from

Olde Hearth Bread Company

Black olive bread from Old Hearth!

Olde Hearth Bread Company on Urbanspoon


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