From Farm to Market: The Wholesome Journey of Gratitude Garden Farm
There are lots of local goodies to be found at Delray’s GreenMarket: whether you’re going for your weekly farm fresh eggs, 100% grass fed beef, raw butter and milk, artisanal baked goods, fresh cut flowers, or any of the other offerings from the 50+ vendors in attendance. The offerings of Gratitude Garden Farm have long been a market favorite. People love their produce so much, it’s no wonder they also supply their mushrooms, sprouts, and turmeric to 120 restaurants throughout South Florida.
Gratitude Garden Farm started as a backyard project for founders Joseph and Tawna Chammas. Joseph had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and wanting to make a lifestyle change for his health, pursued growing organic food. Many foods (including mushrooms, sprouts and turmeric) have healing benefits for the body, which Joseph intended to capitalize on to complement his modern-medicine regime. Soon, neighbors wanted in on what Joseph and Tawna were growing, and they quickly ran out of farming space.
Now, on 5 acres in Loxahatchee Groves, Gratitude Garden Farm thrives. The name Gratitude Garden is an ode to Joseph and Tawna’s gratitude for a “second chance at life,” as they called it.
Of course, there was a lot of learning and re-learning between growing produce in their backyard and the growth scale they’ve achieved now. Mushrooms in particular are known to be a fickle food group to grow, and the Florida heat certainly doesn’t help. The creative solution? Custom grow rooms built inside shipping containers where the mushrooms can flourish. The process starts with pellets, water and added nutrients being bagged, sterilized and inoculated. The bags sit for 2-3 weeks before they’re finally brought to the grow room to flower. After that, they’re distributed to restaurants from Miami to Palm Beach County, and of course, are also up for grabs at the Delray GreenMarket.
Along with their specialty of mushrooms, GreenMarket patrons can also reap the medicinal benefits from Gratitude Garden’s organic turmeric and microgreens. Both are packed full of vitamins and minerals, along with tasting great.
The green market takes place on Saturdays in Old School Square. The Summer GreenMarket operates June and July from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the Winter GreenMarket operates October through May from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.