PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Jorge Espinosa and Alison Duran – Gastronomes
Who are you?
We are Jorge Espinosa and Alison Duran husband and wife and proud owners of The Village Stand, the self-proclaimed “nifty food shop in Miami Shores,” where foodies can scope out the latest and greatest natural and organic culinary finds from local purveyors, as well as exclusive gourmet bites from across the map.
What do you do in real life?
Sift through the noise in our heads and come up with a plan to make it all happen.
What do you like most about what you do?
It’s really a big show-and-tell project. We get to find those little delicious things that fly under the radar for most people. Once you find something that is really fantastic, the only logical thing to do after we eat it, is share it with people.
What was the inspiration behind the Village Stand?
The Village Stand for us is a movement. We wanted to impact our local downtown Miami Shores area and get to meet our neighbors. We wanted a vehicle to do good in our community and bring people together. The idea of creating a fun, little food environment really lit us up. It’s a way of having something to keep us creative and thinking.
How do you find the artisans that make up your goods?
It’s actually a pretty complicated, scientific process that includes trolling farmers markets on weekends and getting to know the people crazy enough to create their own artisan products
Yes, but organic is a funny thing. For us it’s about knowing where our food and products come from. Plenty of our local artisans aren’t big enough to get the FDA organic stamp even though all their ingredients are organic. Some European products are organic by default. Sometimes there’s just a guilty pleasure, organic or not, we’re eating it.
That word is a little stifling and limits us only to food. We’re just passionate people who like to eat amazing things and explore.
Do you create your own products/foods to sell?
Not yet, we’re still having fun meeting new artisans. We’re more about connecting great local products with the right people. Nurturing our relationships with the artisans is our first priority. Maybe in the future, only time will tell.
Local vendors versus national?
We always try local first. The other day we put our mango chutney on sale to make room for some local chutney by Pascale’s. They pick their own mangoes and cook everything by hand in copper pots. But if something is delicious, we’ll bring it in, even if it’s from out of state or even the country.
What is your most exciting find?
We must really be impressed with ourselves, because we get excited all the time. Finding a new, deliciously made product by a local artisan makes us feel like we’ve struck gold. We get to post it all over our social media and send out a little email. It’s kind of simple if you think about it, what makes us tick..
What have you yet to find that you would like to stock?
Even though we do a farm share (CSA), if there were a way to stock locally picked produce everyday, we would jump on that.
Most unusual item?
There’s a crushed pepper berry that is picked by the aboriginal people people of India’s Malabar Coast. It’s more of a finishing pepper and has a delicious taste. Who knew pepper was a ‘thing’? Well, it is.
Any fun events planned?
Every third Friday we have an Artisan Happy Hour. Our guests get to enjoy wine while sampling local artisan goodies. Some upcoming events are a Name That Beer contest as well as a Girls and Dolls Mad Hatter Tea Party.
If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be?
Each other. We actually like each other a lot and love an opportunity to share some time over a meal together.
Where you’ll find me on a Friday night at 10pm?
Somewhere yummy. We love Blue Collar and go there pretty often. Chef Danny is amazeballz.
What books/mags do you have on your bedside table?
Alison’s side, Samsung tablet. Jorge’s side, a bible.