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My First Time at a Farmer’s Market

January 29, 2009

Items from Cut Flower FarmWe are always talking about the benefits of buying local produce, but I have to admit that I don’t always practice what I preach. I normally go to one of the supermarkets near my house every time I go shopping. And while I do choose Florida products at those stores, it’s not the same as buying something that was grown in your own community. Since I had never actually been to a farmer’s market, fellow blogger Erin and I took a trip to The Grower’s Market at Lake Ella yesterday to see what it’s all about.

If you’re not familiar with The Grower’s Market, it’s an open air market in Tallahassee located right by the Black Dog Café at Lake Ella. It is there year-round on Wednesdays from 3 until dusk. It features fresh, seasonal organic and sustainable fruits, vegetables, flowers and other ag commodities straight from local farms. Lucky for us, the market is open rain or shine, as yesterday was a pretty gloomy day.
The Growers Market

where Erin bought her mustard greens

Our first stop was right in the middle of the market. There were greens, radishes, turnips and other veggies laid out in front of us. The men selling them told us they were grown in Monticello, about 30 minutes from here. I wish I could remember the name of their farm (sorry if you see this!). Erin bought a big bag of mustard greens from them that looked really good. I eyed a bag of boiled peanuts on the table but stopped myself because I knew I would have them eaten by the end of the day.

Sunflower sprouts from Cut Flower Farm in Havana

Sunflower sprouts from Cut Flower Farm in Havana

After buying the greens, we walked around a little more and eventually came to a tent for Cut Flower Farm. We were drawn in by these sunflower sprouts that neither of us had ever had. The owner, Sandi Dutton, let us try them, and they were very tasty! I will definitely go back to get some next time I am doing a big salad for dinner. We talked to Sandi for about 15 minutes about her flower farm, the market, our new blog and FAPC (we love meeting our members!). Check out her website here: http://www.cutflowerfarm.net/. Erin actually bought some rosemary while we were there. I want to go back to visit her in the warmer months to see all the flowers! She grows her flowers, herbs and lettuces at her farm in Havana and brings them to the market every week (and also goes to the one in Market Square on Saturdays).

Erin's rosemary!
Erin smelling her rosemary!

So that was our trip in a nut shell. It could just be the time of year, but the market wasn’t as big as I had expected. Nevertheless, we had a good time walking around and checking out everyone’s tables. It seemed like they all knew each other, both the sellers and the buyers… totally different than at the supermarkets (unless, of course, you live in a small town). It was like this market was a meeting place for old friends. I will be going back as new crops come into season and checking out some of the other markets around town in the meantime.

Now enjoy these baby ducks that we saw in the lake. 🙂

Baby ducks at Lake Ella

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Heranamous permalink
    January 29, 2009 9:53 pm

    The sprouts look tasty!

  2. Horton hears a Who's Who permalink
    January 30, 2009 2:05 pm

    You are correct. The local produce will change with the seasons and there will be ebbs and flows to availability. If you get fresh squash today, you can rest assured it wasn’t grown locally in the field. The lack of produce in Tallahassee and nearly all of North America during the winter is what makes South Florida’s farming successful nationwide. While farms are producing beans in Belle Glade, northern farmers are still four months from even planting thier crops.

    Keep checking, and you will find the selection change. There it is again – Change.

  3. February 19, 2009 8:00 pm

    The greens came from the Barnhart family of Monticello. Hard working folks.
    Thanks to Sarah and Erin for stopping by, visiting, and writing about our farm. Looking forward to them coming back soon. Spring will be here before we know it. Different vendors, myself included will have tomatoes, peppers and various other veggies and herbs for customers to put in their own gardens. Am waiting on the weather to warm up and stay warm to start seeding the flowers, but the urge to get started is there. Patience, patience.
    Growing Smiles and Food for the Soul,
    Sandi

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