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    EFM – A foodie destination spot for south Sarasota County

    Herald-Tribune – A foodies destination (FULL ARTICLE)

    04/19/2017

    Englewood Farmers Market

    For farm-fresh finds and prepared foods

    By Vanessa Caceres

    Correspondent

    Foodies, you’ve met your match at the Englewood Farmers Market. Held on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. October through May in Old Englewood Village, the Englewood Farmers Market focuses exclusively on farm-fresh finds and prepared foods. So, want some fresh guacamole and chips? Got it. In-season produce from Florida farms? Yes, in full force. Paella, fresh seafood, or pickles? Check, check, check.

    The Englewood Market draws a large crowd of people from south Sarasota County all the way down to Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda, said market manager Lee Perron.

    The market, sponsored by the Friends of Sarasota County Parks, got its start after a conversation in 2011 about the need for a vibrant farmers market in the area. In its first week, the market had 21 vendors and about 1,500 visitors; within three months, the market had 40 vendors and 3,000 visitors a week.

    This season, the market has had about 60 vendors and 6,000 to 7,000 visitors weekly.

    So what keeps people coming back?

    “We have a unique focus on food and agriculture,” Perron said. “We have 11 different growers, including

    Lee Perron is the market manager. [PHOTO BY VANESSA CACERES]

     

    small farmers. We have guacamole, salsa, paella, Maggie’s Seafood, cheese, and more.”

    Bottom line: If you leave the Englewood Farmers Market hungry, it’s your own fault.

    Another reason for the market’s popu-larity is that it brings something fun to do to an otherwise quiet area.

    “When the circus comes to town, everyone wants to see,” said Mark Web-ster, vendor and owner of The Happy Pickle.

    The market also believes in giving back to the community. Through a grant program, users of SNAP (formerly food stamps) can spend double their dollars on Florida-grown produce items sold at the market. Of all the markets in Florida that take part in that program, the Englewood market has the highest usage, Perron said.

    A regular cooking demonstration shows market attendees how they can easily prepare recipes with healthy ingredients from the market. The Englewood market also participates in research on how grassroots efforts such as those at the market make a difference in health outcomes.

    Local elementary students have regular field trips to the market, and the market is heavily promoted via the health depar tments of both Charlotte and Sarasota counties. The SCAT bus system even stops near the market, occasionally offering free bus rides there on Thursday mornings.

    Speaking of market access, parking for the market recently became a little easier. There are expanded parking lots near Green Street and on the west end of Dearborn. It’s easiest to find parking earlier in the day or after 12. The market’s busiest time is from 10 a.m. to noon.

    “Once we get rolling, we’re really jammed,” Perron said.

    Here’s more information on a few of the market vendors.

    Venus Veggies

    The folks at Venus Veggies make a two-hour drive each way from the small down of Venus to attend the Englewood Farmers Market and offer certified organic prod uce.

    “Everything’s picked the day before,” said Emily Troup of Venus Veggies.

    Still, she added that the hard work is worth it as they’ve developed regular customers over the past four years.

    Some of their best-selling items include lettuce and black cherry tomatoes. Depending on what’s in season, Venus Veggies also has carrots, all kinds of greens, eggplants, eggs, and more.

    Tropical Island Kettle Corn

    If you watch visitors strolling in and out of the Englewood Market this time of year, you’ll notice two things. First, there’s a lot of talk about what people want to do before they “go back north.” Second, most everyone seems to carry long bags of kettle corn. Those visitors know about Tropical Island Kettle Corn from Punta Gorda. Owners Carol Turner and Jim Dembrowski worked with their daughter, a nutritionist, to create a sweet and salty recipe that uses less sugar.

    “It tastes great,” Turner said.

    And it does, perfect to munch on as you look around the market or on your drive home. FYI: Kettle corn freezes well, allowing the sugar to get crunch without losing its taste.

    Weil Honey

    A farmers market needs to have at least one honey vendor, and Weil Honey of Punta Gorda offers a mix of raw honey along with other health products. Fresh coconut oil, honey powder, organic numeric, Ceylon cinnamon, and apple cider vinegar are among John Weil’s other offerings. Weil has 4,000 hives around the Englewood and Punta Gorda region, so they produce a wide range of honey types, including honeybell, wildflower, and buckwheat. Some of Weil’s customers use his honey to boost their health and even help with sleep, Weil said.

    The Happy Pickle

    It’s easy to take pickles and olives for granted, but you probably won’t do that if you buy from The Happy Pickle of Fort Myers. mark Webster and family sell about 20 varieties of olives and pickles and participate in markets from Sarasota down to Marco Island. The kosher dills are particularly popular, as are the half-sours—sometimes called half-dills, Webster said. Their olives come from a Greek vendor. Make sure to try the olives with stuffed blue cheese.

    Stamper Chees e

    If you’re from Wisconsin then you know all about Wisconsin cheese. But you don’t have to be a cheesehead to appreciate Stamper Cheese, which sells a variety of cheeses from the state and offers free samples. The ever-popular cheese curds are a hit, as are the cheddar, gouda, and herbed Monterey jack varieties, said Rich Olson.

    Next Gen Organics

    Next Gen Organic’s Robert Ferdinandsen of Gibsonton helps people custom-build their own aquaponics and aquaculture systems to grow without pesticides and herbicides. Although this has been Ferdinandsen’s first season at the market, he has five years of experience with aquaponics and explains to visitors various sustainable farming methods.

    Info: englewoodfarmersmarket.org

    Emily Troup of Venus Veggies. [PHOTOS BY VANESSA CACERES]

     

    Rich Olson of Stamper Cheese.

    John Weil of Weil Honey.

    Gratitude and Thanks from Executive Director Marty Mesh

    Gratitude and Thanks from Executive Director Marty Mesh

    Dear Lee Perron,

    As I think back on this year and look toward 2017, I am filled with gratitude for the past and optimism for the future as, together, we have accomplished so much in growing the organic food and farming movement in Florida and beyond. There are so many challenges and so much work to be done going forward that it will clearly be a busy year!

    This past year, we worked hard every day to increase access to organic, local food; support organic farmers; and provide information and resources to growers and consumers across the state.

    From expanding Fresh Access Bucks to more than 30 markets around the state to analyzing public policy and advocating for improvements in food safety, the Farm Bill and local food systems to hosting farmer workshops, we have worked towards making Florida’s organic food and farming movement a real political and economic force.

    With your year-end, tax-deductible donation, we can maintain our momentum in 2017.

    Next year marks our 30th year of fighting for organic farmers and strengthening local food systems. We have exciting plans for 2017 and want YOU to join us!

    Connecting farmers with those who need us most

    In 2017, Fresh Access Bucks will work with more than 45 direct-to-consumer outlets to benefit more than 18,000 SNAP recipients throughout Florida, massively increasing farmer revenue! The program will do this by training more than 350 farmer producers to accept SNAP/EBT at farmers markets and direct-to-consumer outlets around the state.

    Growing the next generation of organic farmers

    We are excited to continue our mission of educating organic farmers and equipping them with the tools needed for both short-term and long-term success. In addition to hosting multiple on-farm workshops in 2017, we are excited to again plan a statewide Organic Farmer Training workshop. Stay tuned for more details!
    Further, we are looking forward to continuing innovative ways to educate and train farmers about organic farming and local food systems.

    Seeking change through collaboration

    FOG will continue to drive public policy and advocacy on behalf of organic farmers and consumers who want to support such common sense priorities as better access to healthier food for all and for protecting our fragile natural resources.

    Our presence in Washington, D.C. for Hill days as well as active involvement with leading advocacy organizations has propelled organic and sustainable agriculture forward and helped broaden and deepen the understanding of its importance.

    Your generosity is an act of hope 

    We are so thankful to those who support FOG – your contributions allow us to continue to invest in organic farmers, farm workers and the education and research needed to help organic farmers be successful.

    We need your support now more than ever – join us and let’s make a difference in our state and beyond.

    Thank you in advance for your vital contribution.

    Marty Mesh

    Executive Director

    The EFM Donates over $20k Back to Englewood Community

    (ENGLEWOOD, Fla. – December 5, 2016) – The Englewood Farmers Market, as a chapter of the Friends of Sarasota County Parks, operates as a non-profit enterprise serving the local Englewood community.

    Each season, proceeds above operating costs are donated back to local community organizations that provide services to local residents that need support and assistance.

    The Englewood Farmers Market donated over $20,000 to our local food pantries, St. David’s and Helping Hand, Englewood Meals on Wheels, FOSCP and the Englewood Care Clinic.

    Pictured standing left to right: Tom and Amy Stone , Marie Laforge, Rose Hutchinson, Ricardo Ruggiero, Mike Hutchinson, Jim Baines and Howard Goodrich, Administrator from Helping Hand, and Bill Lavriha, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels. Kneeling, Lee A. Perron.

    Englewood Farmers Market (by Mary Alampi)

    The Englewood Farmers Market kicked off its sixth season this past Thursday morning. If you have never been, you are missing out. Although forecasts for Hurricane Matthew cast a little uncertainty as to how the day would play out, the weather was more than cooperative and attendance was up from last year’s first market of the season. The market is open from 9AM to 2PM, so I had not been able to attend in the past. This was my first time and I was so impressed! I will be returning frequently in the future.

    I asked guests how they knew about the market’s opening today. Some saw it on Facebook, others mentioned the banners draped across Indiana (SR 776), some said they saw flyers posted locally, and one lady said she wrote it on her calendar last year to make sure she would not miss it.

    I spoke with both attendees and vendors, asking about the market experience. One first-time guest was a gentleman visiting from South Carolina. His family evacuated here to stay with his brother, who brought them to the Englewood Farmers Market “for something positive to do together.” Another woman said she attended every week last year and makes a morning of it. She starts with Chai at the Mermaid Café down the street, walks through the market, then sometimes grabs another Chai.

    Nearly everyone commented on the atmosphere. I spoke with one group of ladies, perhaps three generations. The toddler danced, mesmerized by music performed by a stringed duo. “We love it here,” said one of the women, citing how warm and friendly the vendors and guests were. “We came here looking for pickles, they have the best pickles, and popcorn…We love it here. There’s something for everyone.” “This is THE BEST farmers market ANYWHERE,” insisted another woman who explained that she has travelled and attended farmers markets all over. She and her husband are centered in Venice but will always come to the Englewood Farmers Market “because it is different. It has great products and the best feel. It really gives you a sense of community.”

    When asked about market favorites, besides repeated mentions of the friendly environment, answers were as diverse as the guests. I overheard the vendor at Leah’s Lemonade really raving to a customer about the quality of Joshua Citrus’ fruit. Some guests said the exotic mushroom stand was the most unique. Others listed baked goods from the variety of vendors including BAM German Bakery, Daily Bread, bagels and Island Gluten Free Bakery. Maggie’s Seafood came up most frequently as “must visit” stop for shoppers. Perry’s Original BBQ was said to have the best brisket around. The large paella pan caught the eyes and taste buds of many and Jason’s Fire Fusions made a few eyes water. Furthermore, a number of people told me they preferred to shop here for organic produce, baked goods, and honey, explaining the quality was better and the organic label more reliable. Smiling people purchased vibrant orchids, fruit, and vegetables. It was an explosion of color.

    The Englewood Farmers Market started back in 2011 with around 25 vendors and has grown into the thriving market/event it is today. It is a non-profit organization that donates all of its profit to local charities including Meals on Wheels, local food banks, the kids backpack program, Englewood Community Care Clinic, and others. A committee oversees vendor selection to ensure the products are high quality and that duplication and competition with local merchants is limited. For a list of current vendors or for information on becoming a vendor, email them at info@englewoodfarmersmarket.org, visit their website http://englewoodfarmersmarket.org or @englewoodfarmersmarket page on Facebook.

    Again, if you’ve never been, you are missing out. The Englewood Farmers Market is open every Thursday from 9 AM until 2 PM, October through May. Support the community and make plans to attend. You will not be disappointed.

    Englewood Farmers Market – article written by Mary Alampi, extracted from her blog [click here]

    Cooking Demo by Cristina Babiak MD

    roasted_vegetablesHere are the recipes that Cristina will be demonstrating live at the Market tomorrow!!

    Englewood Farmer Market Cooking Class 4/16

    GARDEN PESTO: soak 1 cup pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pecans or other shelled nuts until soft. Drain. Put in food processor. Blend with 2-3 garlic cloves, about 1/2 cup olive oil and as much fresh green herbs as you have: any combo mints, cilantro, basil, parsley, chives, tarragon, arugala, spinach, beet greens, dandelion …Add avocado, asagio or parmesan cheese and lemon zest or juice to taste and blend until smooth and creamy. Serve on fish, fowl, veg. Can be formed into balls and frozen for future use.

    BEET PATE: In food processor put 3-4 chopped raw washed beets with 1/4 cup olive oil and pulverize smooth. Add 1/2-1 cup of shelled ground pecans, walnuts, or sunflower seeds, 2- 3 cloves garlic, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp of dry herbs, 1 whole lemon squeezed plus zest. Process until creamy paste. Use this on salad, roasted vegetables or as dip with chopped jicama chips or crackers. Refrigerate.

    ROASTED FARMERS MARKET VEGETABLES: Slice rinsed sweet potato, Florida red new potatoes, beets, red peppers, eggplants, squash, ect. into small rounds. Place on olive oil sprayed parchment papered pan. Sprinkle with sage, garlic granules, curry powder, herb blends. Spray with olive oil (Misto works great), and bake in toaster oven 25-30 minutes until soft. Thinner slices make chips.

    ROASTED WILD SALMON: Place salmon on parchment paper in toaster oven at 320 degrees with skin side up for 5 minutes. Flip the filet over. Spoon dollup of Garden Pesto on salmon . Continue cooking carefully for 4-5 minutes, until flesh separates with fork. Do not overcook. Serve with market fresh roast vegetables. This works for other fish or boneless skinless chicken breasts also.

    Dr. Babiak is a Florida licensed MD/Herbalist, providing consultation in her home office in Englewood to help patients recognize the cause of their health problems and encourage the practice of relaxation response to enable healing. She encourages changing their diet to organic foods with low inflammation, low additives that are easy to digest along with herbs that promote optimal digestion and decrease inflammation. This involves teaching healthy food choices and preparation and support in order to make profound changes. She teaches community self-healing classes, where she shares her knowledge for current herbal and naturopath conferences, her clinical experiences since graduating from University of Louisville Med School and Family Practice residency at Florida Hospital Orlando 1982 and from her on-line research. For more information visit her website cristinababiakmd.com

    It’s a Snap

    its-a-snap-1BY VANESSA CAREERS | EDIBLE SARASOTA

    It’s a “SNAP” to support Florida-grown produce at the Englewood Farmers’ Market.

    Produce vendors at the market accept SNAP—short for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps. Now, with help from the organization Florida Organic Growers, SNAP users can stretch their food dollars with a program called Fresh Access Bucks. Under Fresh Access Bucks, SNAP participants swipe their EBT card and receive double the amount they spend, up to $20, to spend on Florida-grown fruits and vegetables.

    With Fresh Access Bucks, Florida farmers get a revenue boost and SNAP participants have a more affordable way to eat healthy food. Statewide, the program is expected to boost Florida farmer revenue by $580,000 over the next two years, according to Florida Organic Growers.

    The busy Englewood market has had the program since fall 2014, says Market Manager Lee Perron (see sidebar for other local farmers’ markets that accept SNAP). “We’ve been one of the top markets in the program, which shows you the percentage of need here,” he says.

    Yet the market decided to ramp up its involvement with monthly cooking demonstrations that feature market-to-table recipes.

    The first demonstration, held in January in partnership with the UF/IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program (the program that administers SNAP) and Fresh Access Bucks, featured David Bearl, an American Culinary Federation—certified chef. Bearl made a fruit salad, salmon dish, and vegetarian quesadillas. “People loved it,” Perron says.

    The demonstration is part of a continuing Florida Organic Growers series called Eat With the Seasons. The cooking demonstrations are taking place this year at 24 markets across the state that partner with the Family Nutrition Program to accept SNAP.

    The program was so successful in Englewood that the market will continue cooking demonstrations on the third Thursday of each month through the rest of the season, Perron says.

    The chefs in the program are given money to buy ingredients at the market and then prepare their item onsite. “The recipes act as a shopping list for people at the market,” Perron says.

    The Englewood Farmers’ Market is held on Thursday mornings from October to May, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the 300 block of W. Dearborn Street. Learn more at englewoodfarmersmarket.org

    OTHER MARKETS PARTICIPATE IN SNAP

    In addition to Englewood Farmers’ Market, five other local markets are stretching food dollars for SNAP participants. Local markets that accept SNAP are Bradenton Farmers’ Market, Central Sarasota Farmers’ Market, Englewood Farmers’ Market, North Port Farmers’ Market, Punta Gorda Farmers’ Market, and Venice Farmers’ Market.

    Venice Farmers’ Market Manager Linda Wilson regularly visits local nonprofit groups and food distribution centers to let people know they can come to her market and use SNAP to eat healthy food and support Florida farmers. “Our market is open year-round, and people have to eat year-round,” she says.

    “SNAP is a win-win program designed to help the small Floridian farmer as well as those less fortunate on food stamps,” says Jerry Presseller, manager of both the North Port and Punta Gorda markets.

    “ORZOTTO” with Ratatouille

    This is another fun thing to do… Cook Orzo pasta like a “Risotto” (in half the time!)

    Prep time: 20 min
    Cook time: 40 min
    Serves: 4 or 6 (depending on your appetite!)

    Ingredients:
    3 tablespoons olive oil 1 onion, thinly sliced 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced 1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups) 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into thin slices 1 red bell pepper, cut into slivers 4 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups) 1/2 cup of Fresh herbs (oregano, rosemary, thyme) 1 teaspoon kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper
    1lb of Orzo pasta
    1 cube of chicken/vegetarian broth diluted in 4 cups of boiling water

    Preparation:
    Over medium-low heat, add the oil to a large skillet with the onion, garlic, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the eggplant has softened. Stir in the zucchini, red bell pepper, tomatoes, and salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and slightly caramelized. Stir in the fresh herbs and a few grinds of pepper to taste.
    Meanwhile, cook orzo:
    Sauté sweet onion in olive oil until translucid… Add orzo. Stir until well coated. Add hot chicken stock/vegetable stock a saddle full at a time and stir until absorbed. When the orzo is almost cooked (before al dente) take off fire and add fresh herbs.

    Serve orzo topped with ratatouille and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

    I love using this “Orzotto” recipe for all different kinds of dishes. You can add saffron and serve it with shrimp or fish… Add fresh basil Pesto and serve with chicken. Possibilities are endless!

    Use your imagination… And don’t be shy!

    Putting ingredients together is how
    great recipes are born…

    Coconut Veggie Soup… one soup, many flavors

    Coconut fish soup

    Cooking is a creative process. Mixing ingredients together and discovering new tastes has always been my passion. Making simple recipes from fresh ingredients and inventing new tastes is really fun. Different spices in a same dish make for a different experience. A lot of different vegetables can be used in this recipe. Create! Invent! Below the recipe are a few ideas that you can make from the same “Coconut Veggie soup” that I made today. Recipes do not have to be intimidating. A few simple ingredients are enough to make a delicious dish!

     

    COCONUT VEGGIE SOUP
    Prep time: 20 min
    Cook time: 20 min
    Serves: 4 or 6 (depending on your appetite!)

    Ingredients:
    1tbsp vegetable oil
    1 large sweet onion, sliced
    1 large sweet potato or 2 medium, diced in ½ inch cubes (purple potatoes are fun to add for color and a different tecture)
    3 carrots (I love the rainbow carrots for their fun colors), sliced
    1 yellow squash, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
    1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
    2 cans of coconut milk (you can use the light for less fat)
    1,5 cubes of chicken/vegetarian stock or 2 cups of broth
    1tsp turmeric
    Fresh cilantro
    Lime wedges for servings
    Preparation:
    Sauté onions in oil until slightly translucent. Add sweet potato and carrots and cook until almost tender steering frequently, 8 to 10 minutes.
    Add yellow squash and zucchini and cook another 5 minutes.
    Add coconut milk, 2 cups of water, turmeric and bring to a boil. Add stock to dissolve. (if using liquid broth just add 2 cups of broth)
    Check seasoning and adjust as needed.
    Serve topped with fresh cilantro and a lime wedge

    IDEAS:

    – Add orange lentils or garbanzo beans for protein and curry powder for an Indian flavor. Top with fresh cilantro and serve with Naan bread (Indian flatbread, available in supermarkets)
    – Add shrimp and serve over rice. Top with fresh cilantro
    – Add fish (white fish like cod, red snapper work well), fresh mango slices and serve with scallions and a lime wedge for a Caribbean flavor
    – Add chicken and curry powder (can be chicken breast that you will cook in the broth or use left over chicken meat)
    – Add a touch of sesame oil, Nory (dried seaweed used in sushi) cut in small pieces, toasted sesame seeds and edamame for a Japanese flavor.