Local Heroes 2015 Winners: Frontrunners in Food
Their quest to create a sustainable food economy is what binds our area’s beloved artisans, farmers, chefs, restaurateurs, purveyors, and humanitarians. Because of these leaders, the Sarasota-Manatee-Charlotte culinary industry continues to thrive each year. To celebrate this flourishing, we honor the Local Hero Award winners of 2015. Edible Sarasota nominated them, the readers voted online for them, and their names were officially announced in March at the Edible Institute’s Annual Publishers Meeting in New Orleans. Heartfelt congratulations to all!
Farm/Farmer: Geraldson Community Farm
A 20-acre certified organic farm in Bradenton, founded in 2007, Geraldson is a grower of everything from lettuce, beets, and turnips to herbs, watermelon, and squash. In addition to producing crops, the farm also serves as a resource for local collaboration and education. During the growing season from November to May, a community-supported agriculture program allows the public to purchase shares of the farm’s fresh vegetables. Geraldson produce is also found on the menus at area restaurants.
"People who love to eat are always the best people."
- Julia Child
Chef/Restaurant: Steve Phelps (Indigenous) and Paul Mattison (Mattison’s)
Two of Sarasota’s most lauded, locally minded chefs share this category. Paul Mattison is the restaurateur/chef behind Mattison’s Catering Company, Mattison’s City Grille, Mattison’s Forty-One, Mattison’s Bayside at the Van Wezel and Mattison’s Culinary Adventure Travel (a venture that offers hands-on cooking experiences). Steve Phelps is the chef/owner of Indigenous in Sarasota’s Towles Court Artist Colony. For the second consecutive year, Phelps is a James Beard Foundation semifinalist nominee for Best Chef: South.
Beverage Artisan: Darwin Brewing Company
With its craft ales and lagers, Darwin Brewing Company in Bradenton is one of the area’s most innovative beer hubs. Chef Darwin Santa Maria, owner of Darwin’s On 4th in Sarasota, hails from Peru and brings the flavors of South America’s Amazonian and Andean Regions to his libations at the beer garden/production facility.
Food Artisan: Tanya’s Toasted Oats Granola
A regular vendor at the Sarasota Farmers’ Market, the Largo-based Tanya’s Toasted Oats Granola is known for its all-natural, old-fashioned products. Owners Tanya Brown and DeLisa Drake create more than 50 flavors of gourmet granola by toasting oats in organic coconut and sunflower oils. There are gluten-free and sugar-free varieties, too.
Food Purveyor/Market: Whole Foods Market
Always a reliable source of organic, sustainable products, Whole Foods Market is a global health food store with a neighborhood connection. In Sarasota, the market is known for sponsoring area events, donating to nonprofit organizations and supporting food banks. Also, there is always a demonstration or educational opportunity onsite.
Nonprofit Organization: All Faiths ood Bank
Combating local hunger is the aim of Sarasota’s All Faiths Food Bank. Initiatives include the Sprout Mobile Farm Market, which delivers thousands of pounds of produce annually to those in need; and the Campaign Against Summer Hunger, which helps keep low-income children fed during the summer months. All Faiths is a member of Feeding America and the heart of the hunger relief system in Sarasota and DeSoto counties.
"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."
- Mother Teresa"