Chef Niven Patel only has to stroll around the fertile grounds of his two-acre South Florida farm, Rancho Patel, to spark an idea for his next culinary creation. Located in Homestead, Florida, about an hour outside of Miami, Rancho Patel serves as the primary source of produce for his four restaurants, Mamey, Orno, Ghee Indian Kitchen, and the soon-to-open Erba. The four-time James Beard–nominated chef chooses what fruits, vegetables, and herbs to plant each season based on what he wants to see featured on each restaurant’s menu. Eager to share his farm-to-table methods, Patel welcomed guests to the property this spring for a hands-on dining experience that transformed into a rustic, family-style meal. Visitors picked their own rosemary for a craft cocktail and plucked carrots from the ground for a side dish.
Patel’s menus evolve depending on the daily harvest, and with summer weather in full swing in southern Florida, tomatoes and okra are ideal crops to highlight. “Okra has always been one of my favorite foods since I was a child, so I love preparing it in our restaurants to share my renditions with guests,” Patel says. In the recipe below, he accents the vegetables with a saffron-scented lemon and garlic sauce.