Interactions and the connectivity between life and death fascinate me, especially since my near fatal head on automobile accident that occurred on this very day in 1998. Interestingly enough, Mikael L’Andre had a similar experience when he fell 34 feet from an aerial lift shattering his body in 2011, and like me, found his priorities needed to change completely.
Mikael says, “ I was making a living not making a life and was given a new chance to start making life happen!”
As a Walton County native who was raised in the area by a dairy farmer and gardener, Mikael found his passion at just three years of age when sowing his first snap bean seeds. He grew to love the soil under his feet but somewhere along the way lost his draw to the earth- until his accident.
With his renewed lease on life and thankful to be healed, Mikael says, “I can absolutely attribute my life, my health, my healing, my livelihood and my happiness to my garden and my beautiful wife Jeaneen. I am grateful for my creator and for the opportunity to awaken each day with the ability to walk, literally, among the plants each morning.”
Mikael’s GreenMans Garden, LLC is a family owned business that is dedicated to producing eco-friendly food for the local community by creating a farm ecology that is modeled after and works with the surrounding eco-system. It is all about sustainability, something we should all have a focus on these days. Located in North Walton County in DeFuniak Springs, Mikael, Jeaneen and their two sons, Brennon age 20 (a college pitcher), and Benjjamin age 6 (a junior beekeeper), plant and grow high quality, superior and incredibly nutritious produce without exception.
Specializing in naturally grown vegetables without chemical fertilizers, chemical insecticides or chemical herbicides using non-GMO heirloom seeds, Mikael says, “Our garden is a happy place where good vibrations abound and delicious veggies are always growing fresh. We nurture the earth in such a manner that allows nutrient dense, flavorful food to be filled with pure love, light, peace and positive energy!” Mikael feels he is connected again to the land and his calling is to be a good steward, responsibly enriching it so it will be there for others to enjoy when he moves on.
Where every broccoli is a star and each radicchio is a work of art, GreenMans Garden supplies local restaurants, individuals and farmers markets with hand harvested produce each week. They offer easy pick-up available in South Walton, Niceville, Ft. Walton Beach and Mossy Head on specified days throughout the week. Mikael says, “We sell our own produce and take pride in growing every plant from seed ourselves. We make every effort to give our customers the best tasting food in the freshest manner possible. It is Real-Good-Feel-Good-Food”, he exclaims.
With the change of seasons a variety of spectacular produce can be found year round, including but not limited to the cosmically charged Sugar Baby Watermelons, Basil, Parsley and Golden Chanterelles in the summer, to Fava Beans, Amaranth Greens, Collards, Butterhead Lettuce and Red Vein Spinach in the spring. The fall calls for Heirloom Okra, Baby Bok Choi, Sweet Potato Greens, Watercress, Eggplant, and Squash, while the winter brings Escarole, Frisee’ Endive, Heirloom Spinach, Green Romaine, Arugula, and Cilantro. Mikael says, “If you want to get all your healthy food in one place, and want to eat local knowing where your food comes from; come see the GreenMan at your local farmers market!”
For a complete list of what is growing in GreenMans Garden you will want to visit their website, www.theGreenMansgarden.com, and their Facebook page for up to date information. GreenMans Garden is onsite every Saturday at the Seaside Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is also onsite at the Raw & Juicy Farmers Market at the Market Shops of Sandestin on Sunday from 9am to 1pm. To reach The GreenMans Garden directly, call (850) 218-6998.
Susan Benton is a journalist and the owner of 30AEATS.com where she shares her passion for food and travel, and her commitment to promoting local farmers, fisherman, chefs, artisans and restaurants along the Gulf Coast.