The New Farmers’ Market

Weekend Farmers’ Markets – Not just a place for produce.

I romanticize the idea of the weekend farmers’ market.  Wake up, grab your hat, pull on your coffee pants* and head out.  I arrive at the market along with the other weekend warriors trying to make the most of the 48 weekend hours dedicated to me.  My goal is to find a great deal. Local produce and dinner inspirations.

I then realize I’m not just going home with a bag of produce.  While produce is most certainly available, the market is a convention of entrepreneurs taking their baby steps to marketing their homemade idea – candles, soaps, gourmet cheeses and unique culinary inventions.  Such ‘community’ markets have always featured prepared foods but I was pleasantly surprised that my visit to the market turned into checking out the vendors with the next cool thing.  I was like a kid in a candy store (like when I’m at a Food Truck showing…).  I stopped by each booth, checked out the product (you know the one – the one you’ve always thought of, but never did anything about…) and chatted.  I found two worth highlighting during a recent visit to the Maitland/Lake Lilly Farmers’ Market.

Fat and Happy – It’s Stupid Good.  With a name like this, you know comfort food is around the corner.  Two ladies bring your idea of comfort food in the form of a cupcake.  Not necessarily a sweet cupcake.  Rather, savory delights in the form of a easy-to-eat handhelds.  When you see it, you know you have to try it. And, indeed I tried one.  As I sat there eating my buffalo chicken mac and cheese (with blue cheese crumbles) cupcake, I thought about how many times I ate food like this at the end of a night out, or when I simply was craving favorite foods and had no boundaries or cares about what I ate. Seems they are just starting out as not much is to be found online (they do have a Twitter and Facebook account).

Peak Season Popspeakseasonpops.com.  This is a refreshing, much needed vendor during a summer farmers’ market.  With many temptations for your children around every corner at the farmers’ market (including strawberry lemonade and candied popcorn), Peak Season was a welcome change.  The all-natural frozen treats were created by Steve and Jana Rice who have a great story about creating a product they believe in.  On this day, we had peach and lime pops.  Refreshing, seasonal-flavored fruit pops.  And, to make it even better, the Rice family was genuinely nice and took the time to talk with Beth about her ideas for similar pops (not so kid-friendly, Chardonnay Poptails, for example – recipe coming soon from Beth, I’m sure…). Check them out at PeakSeasonPops.com – they have a location schedule on their site.

So, that day I left the Farmers’ Market with no fresh produce (that’s another post).  However, it was a post-church family get-together for good eats and a chance to explore local entrepreneurs and access the local products that we may not otherwise get to experience.

Rod

*Oh yeah, the Coffee Pants reference.  Good friend Heidi once described some pants I was wearing as ‘coffee pants.’ Its the pants you grab on Saturday morning and head out get coffee.  You know the ones – loose fitting, goes with anything, very casual, wear with flip flops – and no one will judge you for not matching as you stand in line at your local coffee shop. We all have a pair…

 

Rod

Combining his love of food and communications, Rod is a marketing guru with extensive experience in the healthcare, restaurant and luxury services industry. Rod’s special talent is cooking. He makes magic in the kitchen by relying on fresh foods and unique flavors. He is married to Beth, and together they have two little girls. Rod and Beth have the perfect Live Pretty partnership: he cooks fabulous dishes and she creates the beautiful ambiance that combines to make their events special and unforgettable.

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