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.

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