Fresh • Local • Farm Grown – Now That’s Max’s Harvest!

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By David DiPino The Pineapple Contributing Writer The Florida Cranberry grows wildly on the Max’s Harvest patio. This farm to fresh restaurant plans to use that same organic Florida Cranberry in future dishes, not only for its richness in Vitamin C, but also for its similarity to the Northern bog cranberry. On the premises, Farmer Jay McCobb planted that Florida Cranberry plant and 15 other small plants native to the Sunshine State’s South Florida corridor. McCobb is Max’s Harvest proprietor Dennis Max’s right-hand farmer for local crops. The majority of the local organic crops owner Dennis Max and his talented team of chefs buy from Farmer Jay Pure Organics come courtesy of a trio of farms west of Florida’s Turnpike in Delray Beach. Farmer Jay McCobb is a bit of a throwback. One day he’s dodging bullets from a senile landlord who owns one of the farms he grows on, the next day McCobb is mowing a land thick with snakes on that same land that he’ll use for growing Wild Organic Florida Lettuce. This is the same lettuce that flocks of foodies devour each night in Max’s Farmer’s Harvest Salad. However, owner Dennis Max, executive chef Patrick Broadhead and new chef James Kammper can’t use everything from local growers during the summer months as only three or four fruits are plentiful during the scorching South Florida summer. One thing that does grow during the summer is the local tomato, with different varieties available throughout the menu. When it’s not available locally, the next step for Max’s Harvest in the buying process, is to purchase regionally. The goal of Max’s Harvest is to use local and regional product in building the unique menu, which changes more often than actor George Clooney’s girlfriend’s name. In a good way, that is. Take for instance one of Max’s Harvest’s biggest sellers, their appetizer Deviled Heritage Hen Farm Eggs. They consist of deviled eggs garnished with chives, truffle oil and sea salt. The eggs used for the dish are harvested by Farmer Jay from his free range chickens. Even during the restaurant’s slower summer months, Farmer Jay is providing the restaurant with up to 15 dozen eggs a week. Max’s Harvest is also using micro greens from Farmer Jay in dishes on a regular basis, Red Mustard micro greens and micro cilantro are delivered and used to garnish plates as a taste enhancer on many dishes. Those micro greens are also grown locally at Farmer Jay Pure Organics’ location in West Delray Beach. During a steamy summer night visit to Max’s Harvest for a midweek full course dinner, the focus on using farm fresh sustainable ingredients is fully evident. In the Burrata dish, the mozzarella and creams to make the Burrata are from Oviedo, just northeast of Orlando, FL. The Pita Queen Melons garnishing the dishes are courtesy of our state’s “Gateway to the South” neighbors in Georgia, and the La Quercia Prosciutto is from Iowa, and considered by many to be the best in America. Okay, so those last two ingredients are not exactly, but that’s not a bad thing. Max’s Harvest is always looking for the best ingredients available in the market, even if it means venturing out of their comfortable confines of South Florida. The Heritage Pork Chop, a mainstay on the Max’s Harvest menu since opening, has gone through a makeover of sorts. With the new addition of purple sweet potato puree now making the foundation, baby organic carrots sit like Lincoln Logs atop a Butterflied Pork Chop from Avon Park Farms (located above Lake Okeechobee in the center of the state.) The pork chop is the lightest, full tasting pork chop in the Delray Beach area, and available nightly at Max’s Harvest. The Ocean Pot on the Max’s Harvest menu is a tip of the hat to the old Cioppino ocean stew, but with a bit of a Brazilian twist. Executive Chef Broadhead’s wife is Brazilian, and Farmer Jay has put a Hot Brazilian Pepper plant on the premises that chef Broadhead picks during harvest time for the dish. With plentiful chunks of local Mahi-Mahi, Littleneck Clams and plump Florida Gulf Shrimp, the Ocean Pot dish is a salute to the sea with the spice of Brazil’s Carnival. People who spend time around Max’s Harvest have this story about how fresh the fish is that’s served at this Pineapple Grove hot spot for Floribbean cuisine. The fish from local day boats comes in iced but when the chef cuts it, hours after being caught, the meat inside is still warm to the touch. Broadhead has made the gnocchi a fixture at Max’s Harvest. Their gnocchi’s are similar in size to a bite of lasagna and covered in a Maine Cream Lobster Sauce (a nod of the cap to Chef Broadhead’s culinary training roots in Providence, Rhode Island) and garnished with porcini mushrooms. The fresh Mozzarita mozzarella cheese used in the Max’s Harvest gnocchi dish is produced in Pompano Beach. The end result is a potato, ricotta and mozzarella gnocchi delight combined brilliantly with the delicacy of the sea. Here’s a hint to local foodies: At Sunday Brunch and on Sunday’s night’s, the Max’s Harvest Boneless Fried Chicken dish, over homemade whipped mash potatoes and organic green beans, hits the menu. Enjoy it on a Sunday because that’s the only day the Homemade Boneless Fried Chicken is available. As for dessert, Kammper and Broadhead have been hard at work on a banana crème pie secretly inserted inside of a Bananas Foster, and garnished with a Ginger Snap Cookie. Now that’s refreshing. Share that one with your date, or try the house organic Berry Cobbler, which is a decadent treat in itself. For more information or reservations call 561-381-9970 or visit www.maxsharvest.com. Max’s Harvest is located in Delray Beach’s Pineapple Grove at 169 NE 2nd Avenue. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday Brunch 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.