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OCTOBER thru MAY

Thursday 9am to 2pm

call us: +1 (941) 445-9209

   

  • A Non-Profit Organization

    Serving Englewood since 2011

  • Fresh Fruits

  • Fresh Baked Goods

  • Organic Produce

  • Giving Back To Our Community

POST ARCHIVES

TWEAKING ENGLEWOOD’S FARMERS MARKETS

County could require subtracting arts vendors, adding more food
By STEVE REILLY – STAFF WRITER

ENGLEWOOD — Sarasota County is seeking a new balance for Englewood’s farmers markets.

County commissioners will consider changing a county ordinance that will limit the number of arts and crafts, jewelry, health and health services, and other non-food vendors to only 25 percent of the total number of vendors. The discussion is set for Nov. 6.

If the ordinance is changed, 75 percent of the remaining vendors must sell vegetables, honey and cheeses, spices, coffees or any other food product, including artisan and prepared foods. The county ordinance now allows a 50-50 split to the products sold at farmers markets.

Farmers markets are held along West Dearborn Street on Thursdays from October to May.

The nonprofit Englewood Farmer’s Market was the first in Englewood, opening eight years ago at the Pioneer Plaza on the 300 block of West Dearborn. Joyce Colmar opened her for-profit Dearborn Street Market across the street. Since then other smaller markets have been sprouting up along and around West Dearborn.

Englewood’s Community Redevelopment Agency staff has been meeting with market managers in an ongoing discussion to devise a reasonable formula and methodology for determining enforcement. The call for the modification of the farmers markets, CRA manager Debbie Marks said, came from various brickand- mortar Dearborn merchants who felt that the arts and other non-produce vendors undermined their businesses last year.

To define the ratio of vendors at the markets, the managers and CRA discussed Tuesday how a 10-by-10-foot space could equate to one unit of vendor’s space.

“I have vendors who are paying for five booths,” Colmar said.

Will that affect the ratio of food to non-food vendors?

And how will county code enforcement determine who is or isn’t in compliance, Englewood Farmer’s Market manager Lee Perron asked.

“It’s a math thing.

Zeros and ones. Either it is or isn’t (in compliance),” Perron said.

Marks suggested a county official could visit a particular market and determine whether the market is meeting the guidelines at the outset of the season. Reporting any subsequent changes would be the responsibility of the managers, she said.

“We need to support our locals first and foremost,” DonnaMarie Lee said.

Lee manages a small farmers market Thursdays, but she also is co-owner of Bobarino’s Pizzeria on Magnolia Avenue at West Dearborn.

“We need to focus on our town first, community first,” she said.

“Then we can bring in the extras.”

Email: reilly@sun-herald.com

Other Market
Like the other markets on West Dearborn Street Thursday, Joyce Colmar’s Dearborn Street Market saw a large crowd on its opening day.

Jimmy Java
Autumn Glick prepares a cup of Cape Coral-based coffee roaster Jimmy Java’s cold-brew coffee at one of the various farmers markets on West Dearborn Street. It’s Jimmy Java’s first time in Englewood and Glick said Jimmy’s Java will return.

SUN PHOTOS BY STEVE REILLY

ENGLEWOOD FARMERS MARKET BIG SEASON OPENING

By STEVE REILLY – STAFF WRITER

ENGLEWOOD — Autumn Glick was impressed with “the magnitude of the various vendors” at the farmer’s markets on West Dearborn Street Thursday.

“And it’s a nice crowd,” said Glick, who served coffee for the Cape Coralbased coffee roaster Jimmy’s Java which travels to various farmer’s markets. Thursday was Jimmy Java’s first day in Englewood, the largest and most diverse of the farmer’s markets they’ve attended.

Expect Jimmy Java to be back next Thursday, Glick said.

The nonprofit Englewood Farmer’s Market Manager Lee Perron suspected Thursday morning the market’s opening day may have been its biggest. He was right. More than 3,200 people strolled through the market Thursday, a record for an opening day, he said.

The nonprofit market was the first in Englewood and opened eight years ago at the Pioneer Plaza on the 300 block of West Dearborn. Since then, it led to other similar markets to spring up around it, including Joyce Colmar’s for-profit Dearborn Street Market across the street from the nonprofit market.

Prior to the opening day for the farmer’s market, which is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Thursday, Perron said he heard “a buzz around town” looking forward to its reopening. The market is also filled to capacity with 58 vendors — and that doesn’t count the numerous vendors at Colmar’s or the other smaller markets.

Chef Ef Martinez, who owned several restaurants in New York City before moving to Venice, prepared paella at the farmer’s market and sold “Cordon Oro, all-purpose seasoning.” It’s his third year at the market. Like Perron, Martinez thought the market saw a goodsized opening crowd Thursday.

Les Bernstein, a Olde Englewood Village Association board member, said the farmer’s markets attracted a “good crowd.” He also noticed new vendors selling their wares on Dearborn Thursday.

Bernstein owns the brick-and-mortar Rehab on Dearborn, vintage and collectibles shop just west of the farmer’s market. He could not say whether all the merchants benefit from the farmer’s markets, but he did know the markets bring additional foot traffic up and down West Dearborn.

Email: reilly@sun-herald.com

jimmy java
Autumn Glick prepares a cup of Cape Coral-based coffee roaster Jimmy Java’s cold-brew coffee at the one of the various farmer’s markets on West Dearborn Street Thursday. It’s Jimmy Java’s first time in Englewood and Glick said Jimmy’s Java will be back next Thursday.

Other Market
Like the other markets on West Dearborn Street Thursday, Joyce Colmar’s Dearborn Street Market saw a large crowd on its opening day.

photos by Steve Reilly

FARMERS HEADING TO ENGLEWOOD

By STEVE REILLY (Englewood Sun staff writer)

ENGLEWOOD — The temperature and humidity may still signal summer, but a sure sign of the fall season will be on West Dearborn Street in nine days.

“The Englewood Famer’s Market is set to launch its new season,” said Lee Perron, who manages both the Englewood and Venice farmers markets. The market will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays, beginning Oct. 4, at Pioneer Plaza, 300 W. Dearborn St., Englewood.

This week, Perron and three helpers spread 100 cubic yards of mulch — a 60-foot-long semi-trailer plus two dump truck loads — to mark out the pathways between vendors at the Pioneer Plaza, Perron said.

Joyce Colmar, owner of the property across from the plaza, is expected to bring back her Dearborn Street Market of assorted vendors as well. Colmar could not be reached for comment.

The Englewood Farmer’s Market is the second-largest in Charlotte, Sarasota and Manatee counties. The downtown Sarasota Farmers Market is the largest in any of the three counties.

The Venice Farmers Market operates year-round, 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. It’s located at the Venice City Hall on the 400 block of West Venice Avenue and the Avenue Des Parques.

Englewood’s is at 300 W. Dearborn St., the heart of Olde Englewood Village.

Why go to a farmers market? On the Englewood Farmer’s Market Facebook page, Perron wrote: “You can shop for local and organic fresh Florida produce directly from local farmers, find wild-caught Florida seafood from local fishermen, select from seven gourmet bakers including gluten-free, taste and sample international artisan food creations, discover the amazing selection of flowers, plants and trees from our green space vendors, and of course enjoy the music and ambiance of a true food and agricultural market experience.”

Ivani Norman of Myakka City sells vegan organic homemade cowboy cookies and breads at the Englewood Farmer’s Market in 2017.

SUN FILE PHOTO BY ELAINE ALLEN-EMRICH

Efrain Martinez of Al Anadaluz packs up a tin of paella during the Englewood Farmer’s Market in 2017.

SUN FILE PHOTO BY ALEXANDRA HERRERA

It also supports local growers — there will be 11 this year — and supports SNAP and the Fresh Access Bucks double dollars program for customers who qualify for that federal assistance.

The market is also good for West Dearborn Street and Englewood’s traditional downtown.

“(The farmers market) brings lots of people to Dearborn,” said TaylorMeals, president of the Olde Englewood Village Association. Besides being a big draw in itself, Meals said, the farmers market draws potentially new customers into Dearborn’s restaurants and shops.

In November 2011, the outset of Englewood Farmer’s Market saw 17 vendors and 21 booths, attracting 1,500 people on its opening day. By the end of the season, the market grew to 43 vendors and 50 booths, attracting 70,000 people by the end of the inaugural season.

Subsequently, the Englewood market grew annually, attracting an even larger crop of vendors and booths. From the fall of last year until this spring, the market’s 60 vendors served 165,000 attendees, a 8 percent increase over the previous year.

Venice’s farmers market sees 50 vendors participating at the farmer markets on Saturdays, with 5,000 people showing up during season. The Venice market started operating as a nonprofit last year. The market now expects to see 8,000 people per week during the winter season.

As a nonprofit under the tax-exempt Friends of Sarasota County Parks, the Englewood Farmers Market has contributed $84,000 to local charities and other nonprofits since 2011. Beneficiaries include the food banks at St. David’s Jubilee Center and Englewood Helping Hand, The Englewood Community Care Clinic, New Paradigm, Friends of Sarasota County Parks and Englewood Elementary School.

The Venice Farmers Market intends to donate $17,000 by the end of 2018.

Email: reilly@sun-herald.com

Lee Perron is getting ready to open up the 2018-2019 Englewood Farmer’s Market on Englewood’s West Dearborn Street.

Now That’s Fresh!

  • February 11, 2018
  • Press

Joy and Peace on Earth from the EFM

I would like to take a moment and thank each and every one of you for all your support and assistance in making the Englewood Farmers Market the best market in the tri-county area! We are truly unique in both our qualitative focus on food and agriculture and giving back to the community we serve. Your level of professionalism and talent has set the benchmark for a very successful future.

This is also the time of year that we should pause to reflect on the goodness that life has brought us this past year, even in the face of adversity on occasion.

It is our sincere hope that this holiday season and the year to come bring joy, laughter, and much success to you and your families!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

From the EFM team with much love,

Amy, Bob, Lee, Marie, Mike, Ricardo, Rose & Tom

@ THE Englewood Farmers Market

A lovely day at the Englewood Farmer’s Market

  • December 20, 2017
  • Press

Debbie FLESSNER
COLUMNIST

GOOD MORNING

One of my favorite places to go on a lazy day is a farmer’s market.

It’s really like the best of everything that is good in the world — it features freshly grown or raised food, it’s populated by friendly people, it takes place outdoors, and perhaps best of all, you can get free samples of almost everything.

When you head to the Englewood Farmer’s Market, if you don’t remember anything else about this column, don’t forget to go there hungry. Seriously, there are 60 vendors and 73 booths, and probably more than 95 percent of them are selling food items. And what better way to get you interested in purchasing what they’re selling than to let you taste it?

Take it from me, that tactic works. But as you’re eating your way through the market, just know that it’s actually food that is good for you. Take Mr. Pesto, for instance. His given name is Bob Garbowicz, but I tend to call people by whatever name they have printed on the front of their apron.

Anyway, Mr. Pesto sells sauces and yes, pestos, all made with fresh basil. And let me tell you, the man is serious about his basil.

“I grow my own basil for my tomato sauces, but my homegrown basil is not worthy of my pestos,” he said. “If you’re going to say you have the world’s greatest pesto, you start with the world’s greatest basil. All basil is not created equal.”

That’s why he gets the basil he uses in his pesto from an organic, hydroponic grower.

Fresh ingredients are also important to Richard Harmon, who owns Paradise Peanut Butter. He uses all kinds of different nuts and comes up with some incredibly creative nut butters, of which I tried a few, of course. The White Chocolate Raspberry tasted like you could put it on a sandwich and forgo the jelly, but my favorite was the Coconut, which smelled so good I didn’t know if I wanted to eat it or drink it.

All of the vendors at this nonprofit farmer’s market are distinctively unique — for instance, there are several bakers, but they all specialize in something different. The market manager, Lee Perron, said that because everything sold there has to be fresh, bakers are required tohave baked their goods the day before market, at the latest.

“That’s the type of market this is,” he said. “We have 11 growers in our market, but they have to be a local grower. The rule here is diversity, not duplication.”

All I can say is that as I left the Englewood Farmer’s Market, I took a lot of food with me, both in bags and in my belly. I asked Perron how hecould spend so much time at this market and the Venice Farmer’s Market, which he also manages, and still manage to stay so thin.

“I also spend a lot of time at the gym,” he said.

Debbie Flessner writes the Live Like a Tourist column for the Sun newspapers. You may contact her at dj@ flessner.net.

The Englewood Farmer’s Market is open every Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., October through May.

Bob Garbowicz, also known as “Mr. Pesto,” gives out samples to some customers who are obviously ready to buy.

One of the hallmarks of the Englewood Farmer’s Market is its large selection of various types of produce.

“Big Daddy,” of Perry’s Barbecue, is a well-loved staple at many area farmer’s markets.

You’ve never seen a pot of paella as big as this one at the booth of al-Andaluz Paellas and Tapas.

SUN PHOTOS BY DEBBIE FLESSNER

Providing classic rock musical accompaniment for my taste-testing was the talented Andre’ Lemiuex.

FALL VEGETABLE SALAD

by Claudia Castillo

Serves 8, 1 cup per serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup barley, whole grain couscous, or quinoa
  • 1 medium bulb fennel
  • 1 bunch hearty greens, such as kale, chard, collard greens or beet greens
  • 1 small beet
  • 1 medium firm apple
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ cup nuts or seeds, such as pecans, almonds, or walnuts
  • 1 medium lemon
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Optional Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces cheese, such as blue, goat, or Cheddar cheese

Farmers Market continue to Grow

  • November 19, 2017
  • Press

Farmers Market Reopen in Englewood

Englewood Farmers Market Sprouts Today

Press Release

contact: Lee Perron
e-mail: info@englewoodfarmersmarket.org

The Englewood Farmers Market is set to launch their new season on Thursday, October 5th! First off, we want to welcome back our all star line-up of the best food and agriculture vendors in the region. We’re also going to have some fantastic new talent joining the market this season! In addition to local pasture raised chickens, ducks and turkeys plus farm fresh eggs from Sarasota’s Grove Ladder Farm, there will be two new gourmet bakers with French tarts and American pies, Empanadas from Argentina, handmade popsicles, ready to take home gourmet meals, and new fusion drink beverages.  In addition, you’ll see live cooking demos every week with Master Chef Chasky. Chef Chasky will be creating and featuring recipes made with fresh ingredients purchased that morning from the market vendors.

As part of our mission to support local farmers and an initiative with our SNAP and Fresh Access Bucks double dollars program, we’re thrilled to have eleven local grower’s this season” stated market manager Lee Perron.

As a non-profit farmers market that donates its proceeds back to the local community, the Englewood Farmers Market donated over $21,000 last season to St. David’s and Helping Hand food banks, the Englewood Care Clinic, the Englewood Sports Complex, New Paradigm and Englewood Elementary School.

The Englewood Farmers Market is open every Thursday from 9 AM – 2 PM, October through May in the 300 Block of Historic W. Dearborn Street.

For more information please check out our website: www.englewoodfarmersmarket.org or contact Lee Perron via e-mail: info@englewoodfarmersmarket.org or phone (941) 445-9209.

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.

KIDZ Container Gardening Events

6

Fresh Access Bucks

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…

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