Florida citrus bright in the Florida sun
This beautiful Florida spring Saturday, I put on my earth shoes, straw hat, and jeans and went to the Beaches Local Food Network to buy natural and organic. I'd been to the market before, but this day the weather made being outside a special treat.
The market is at A1A and Florida Avenue on the edge of Jarboe Park in Neptune Beach. It is open
from 2pm to 5pm every Saturday. The white tents of fifteen or so vendors are visible several blocks away. Cars are parked on the street, in an office next to the park and several blocks away in public parking for Jarboe Park. Most people bring their own bags to maintain the green spirit.
Gretchen Ferrell is the founder/director of the market and Jonathan Felts is co-director and horticulturalist. They also maintain a community garden in Jarboe Park and recently started a children's garden.
I came first to the Twinn Bridges Farms tent. They had a large selection of heirloom plants and vegetables to buy and plants to grow. Fruits and vegetables of all the vendors are those that are in season in Florida right now, a lot of lettuces, kale, cabbage, strawberries, and citrus fruit.
Besides produce, there are other specialities: fresh eggs, home made soaps, organic Kenyan coffee, organic chocolate, honey and blooming orchids. The Proper Pie Company has a large array of fresh baked British and Irish hand made pies and pasties and sausage rolls. Bone Appetit sells natural pet snacks.
The Slow Food First Coast Tour de Farm has wonderful large, fresh eggs. They offers tours of
their farm in Starke, FL. I bought some of the eggs and they are the biggest I've ever used. What struck me most was the cleanliness of the eggs and their smooth tan color.
Sea food is a speciality of some of the vendors. The St. Augustine Crab Cake Company did a brisk business in frozen crab cakes to take home and those cooked on a little grill on the spot. The
Swimming Yesterday Seafood booth offered shrimp, oysters and other Florida seafood. As the name implies, they pride themselves on the freshness of the seafood. The Cartwheel Ranch Meats sells all natural beef, locally raised without hormones and antibiotics.
I recommend a visit to the Green Market or whatever green market with local, organic produce is in your area. A visit can be something of a social occasion also. People have fun talking with each other, basking in the warm sun and eating breads and pastries they purchased.
Vendors of organic Kenyan coffee
This booth sells delicious breads and pastries.
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A small section of the community garden in Jarboe Park