LEE COUNTY, Fla.- A well-known southwest Floridian is getting into a food fight that he does not welcome. Mike Greenwell, former baseball star, is running into complaints about the cafe he has opened at his produce stand in Northeast Lee county.
"The whole thing is, there are so many people here who have never had fresh lima beans or fresh black-eyed peas. They don't get that kind of cooking here much. So they are begging us to show them how to cook that way. That is why we are serving that kind of food at the place," says Greenwell.
His '31 Produce" stand has enjoyed success in recent years, with many visitors and a lot of children coming to the property to learn about agriculture and Florida history.
Greenwell started serving cooked meals from one part of the building, a few weeks ago. Complaints have come in to Lee county.
On Monday, the Lee county attorney's office issued an opinion. It says: roadside stands, by state law, cannot sell meat or dairy products, or pies made with cream or custard. Those items must be sold in restaurants or food stores.
Greenwell read the opinion and tells WINK News: "I feel we have operated in a proper way, but if there is a problem, we will get with the county and try to resolve it."
Greenwell blames the 'food fight' on some people in the Alva community. He says: those people are upset because he wants his part of Lee to be known as North Olga, separate from Alva.
"It seems that these Alva people want to get at anyone, who wants their property to be called, North Olga," he adds.
WINK News talked with managers or owners of three nearby restaurants. Each declined an interview, because they say, they don't want to criticize Greenwell, whose produce stand has brought a lot of visitors and school tours to the area.
Lee county could not determine how many people have lodged complaints about Greenwell's "Cracker Shack Cafe." But it is possible that code enforcement could talk with Greenwell, now that a legal opinion has been issued.
Greenwell says: whatever it takes to stay in business. "We just want to serve good, country-style foods and teach people a little bit about the history of the area. That's it."