Every Saturday morning in historic Fernandina Beach, people gather to mingle and shop local goods at the Fernandina Farmer’s Market. Located near the Eight Flags Antiques Market and Art & Antiques, a very pleasant Saturday morning can be spent in Fernandina browsing antique shops and then crossing the street to the Farmer’s Market for some fresh goodies. North 7th Street (starting at the corner of Centre Street), is shut down from 9 am until 1 pm Saturdays to accommodate the Farmer’s Market.
I was glad to see the Farmer’s Market busy this past weekend, even though stormy weather threatened with grey skies. It must take effort for the regional farming folk and producers to rise early, pack up their trucks and gear, and head to Fernandina to set up their tent-covered booths in the outdoor street market. This is a rain or shine event, so the fresh goods are waiting for visitors regardless of the weather.
There’s lots more offered besides fresh vegetables and fruit. Roasted coffee, British pies, dips, Capt Jack’s crab cakes, a large assortment of specialty pastas, local honey, fruit smoothies, even gourmet doggie treats and a variety of organic products and other specialty foods. Maria’s Bakery goods are hard to pass by. Fresh breads, calzones and tempting looking pastries -- apple turnovers, cannoli and more. I did resist the sweets, but it wasn’t easy.
Gardeners will admire the assortment of nursery shrubs, herbs, and flowers. Another vendor specialized in orchids. A singer and guitar player provided live entertainment.
The Fernandina Farmer’s Market has been around several years now. It’s nice to see this community market of regional producers is thriving. I left the market with tomatoes, zucchini, Georgia peaches, blueberries, fresh baked pita and 10 grain bread.
I enjoyed this community outing and plan to put it on my “to do” list every weekend, when possible. You can help support the Fernandina Farmer’s Market by casting your vote online in the “Love your Farmer’s Market Contest” (see more about voting at end of article…)
According to the latest eNews from the Fernandina Farmer’s Market (you can subscribe to their eMail newsletter), here’s what’s happening in coming weeks as summer enters fall on Amelia Island:
“At the Fernandina Farmer’s Market this week (August 29), we will have most of our regular vendors. Becky's Brittle will be out this week, however, we have just gotten word that Golden Acres Ranch with their grass-fed lamb and goat meat cuts will return on their usual schedule of the 3rd Saturday of the month - first return date is September 19, 2009. Gabriela's Tamales also expects to re-start with her schedule of the 1st & 3rd Saturdays of the month starting October 3. Be sure to stop by Proper Pie to see what is new as Derek & Beverly are introducing a new pie each week. . . . have an idea for a pie, well, just let them know and maybe we can have a Fernandina Pie! HOT CROPS: Boatright Farms have been picking squash day and night so stop by to see them for fresh-from-their-farm squash & check out the baby cucumbers! Still expecting three of our farmers to return over the next several weeks including Cabbage Creek Farms,Log Cabin Farms, and Conner Farms. They are as anxious as us to get back to Market!”
Cast your Vote Online to Help Give Farmer’s Market a Cash Infusion
The local Fernandina Farmer's Market is a contestant in the “Love Your Farmer's Market Contest” sponsored by Care2 and LocalHarvest. This is a nationwide contest and the farmer's market getting the most votes wins $5,000. So cast your vote now -- it’s simple and free! At this writing, the Fernandina Farmer’s market was in 4th place of a hundred or so national Farmer’s Markets. To vote, visit:
http://www.care2.com/farmersmarket . Scroll down and select Fernandina Farmer’s Market. Cast your vote online by September 17, 2009! You can also vote when you visit the market.
For more information about the Fernandina Farmers Market, and to sign up for their eNewsletter, visit their website at http://www.fernandinafarmersmarket.com
Local Agriculture in Demand, More Farm Vendors Needed Locally
Due to a growing “buy local” trend and consumer interest in healthier foods from local growers, farmer’s markets are in vogue around the nation. Fernandina’s big city neighbor, Jacksonville, also has a few farmer’s markets. Reportedly, more local farm vendors are needed to keep up with growing demand in northeast Florida.
(Photos courtesy of Fernandina Beach Farmer's Market.)