The Farmers Market on Curtiss Parkway attracts vendors from all over South Florida and some are local entrepreneurs making extra money by showing off their skills and talents.
Miami Springs resident Tony Palazzolo has been making dog treats for eight years and selling them at Farmers Markets, particularly in Coral Gables from January through March. His treats are called Lily’s Snacks and are named for his 12-year-old basset hound.
“Lily tastes all my creations,” said Palazzolo. “She’s my quality control taster. My wife Juanita helps with all the printing and labeling and I do all the baking in our kitchen.”
Palazzolo said he uses all natural ingredients with no additives and the treats are fit for human consumption — not that he recommends it.
“My 6-year-old granddaughter Briana has eaten all of these, fresh out of the oven,” said Palazzolo.
Palazzolo retired from being a purchasing agent for a South Florida company that manufactures poured slab structures for parking garages and stadiums.
“A successful day is covering my expenses and breaking even,” said Palazzolo, 73. “If I make a bit more, it gives me pocket money.”
Palazzolo said he enjoys meeting people and sometimes he gets to smile at human behavior. When he first started his business, he made all the treats in dog bone shape. Now they are triangular, round and other shapes that look like cookies.
“People are out for samples and they’ll walk by, pick up a treat, keep walking and take a bite,” said Palazzolo. “When someone mentions that they’re eating dog treats, they’ll come back and ask why I didn’t tell them. I tell them they didn’t give me a chance to say anything.”
•••Martha Fleitas attended Miami Springs Senior High School and has lived in the city since 1980. In her home she makes 100 percent natural soy wax candles. She started the business only last year and said the fragrant melted wax is good for massages.
“My son recently moved, so I removed all the furniture and make candles in his room,” said Fleitas.
Fleitas does all the work herself and some of her candles are available in a few Miami Springs businesses and other stores in the county. She orders most of her ingredients from North Carolina and Montana.
In the past, Fleitas worked for Dominicana Airlines for many years until it went out of business and then she worked for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.
“People from Miami Springs are supporting me a lot,” said Fleitas.
•••A mother of three, Claudia Lopez started her business, L.A.S.T. (for her children Lukas, Alyssa, Sofia and Tex, the dog) Crumb a year ago and sells cookies, brownies, pesto pasta, salty caramel, cinnamon rolls, chi tea latte, strawberry lemonade, pumpkin bread, banana bread and other delectables that she makes at home.
“I make a lot of stuff,” said Lopez, whose husband Albert is a Miami Beach Realtor specializing in waterfront property.
Lopez was a pharmaceutical rep for six years before her family grew with 6-year-old boy/girl twins, Lucas and Sofia, and 3-year-old Alyssa,
“I got laid off when I was pregnant with the little one and it was a blessing in disguise,” said Lopez. “Now I can be home with the kids and I bake at night. I don’t sleep.”
Mayor Zavier Garcia is a regular at Lopez’s tent. “I love everything she makes and I want to support the Farmers Market,” he said. “Everything is delicious.”
“I like being here because I have a kiddie area behind my tent for my kids and every other kid that wants to play here,” said Lopez.
•••Tim Lyke and his wife Blanca have lived in Miami Springs for 22 years and have a successful wholesale seafood business in Medley named Incredible Fish. His truck is always seen at festivals and other events providing seafood to support numerous local activities.
He’s successful without the Farmers Market, but he’s once again supporting his community by bringing his company truck to make his seafood available to residents.
“We enjoy the atmosphere and like selling quality seafood,” said Lyke. “We were asked to do it and we got busy quickly and now it’s a family affair that includes my son and daughter.”
•••Janette Schultz lives in Doral and has been selling her Wildtree products for five years. She was a high school teacher before she started having children.
“I bottle the products and also conduct freezer meal workshops where I teach people how to put 10 meals together in about an hour,” said Schultz. “It helps people save time and money and make healthier choices.”
Schultz said her different combinations of organic oils and seasonings help people eat healthier at home with their families instead of going out to eat or ordering take-out. She tries out her products on her husband and four children.
“We’re relatively new to the area but we’re getting the word out about what we offer,” said Schultz. “It’s working out.”