November 10, 2011
Posted By: Megan Greenberg
When Fall comes and the weather changes from Africa hot to perfect scarf temperatures, locals come out to the Downtown Farmer’s Market in droves. Well, if they’re smart they do, because smart people know that a November morning Farmer’s Market means strolling Main Street while sunlight dapples the storefront windowpanes and the scent of freshly made ooey, gooey, burn-the-roof-of-your-mouth-because-you-don’t-have-enough-patience-to-wait-for-them-to-cool-because-they-are-just-too-delicious-to-wait-and-besides-waiting-is-stupid-anyway empanadas fill the Autumn air. It also means you can eat Kettle Corn at 9am and nobody will care.
Farmer’s Markets differ from town to town and Sarasota definitely has a vibe all its own. One of the best vibes it’s putting out is sheer location. Smack dab in the center of one of the town’s most charming streets, in one of the most beautiful cities in the state, our little Saturday morning spot is ripe with loveliness. ← Seriously? What does that even mean?
Let’s try again:
Sarasota is gorgeous and you can find some really cool stuff at the Farmer’s market.
The market dominates a few blocks of Lemon Avenue each Saturday morning. It's not especially huge, but it definitely takes up a good portion of the street. When the weather is perfect, it tends to get a bit crowded, but because the market itself is nestled on a pretty spacious block, it never gets uncomfortably crowded in that Dial commercial kind of way.
does anybody else notice that the couple in the forefront are standing exactly alike?
i bet they're married. and get along. and have a nice dog named molly.
It’s a great spot to roam Main Street, get a Cafe Con Leche at Pastry Art and then leisurely make your way to a few of the stand-out stalls to get some colorful flowers, purple basil, organic French radishes, fresh seafood and homemade Pop Craft Pops in outrageously cool flavors like Cranberry Clementine Coriander. Alliteration is fun. They even have a gluten-free stand!
And did I mention all of the dappling? Dappled sunlight is the best kind of sunlight, don’t you think?
The Peperonata Pasta stand is a MUST. They make some truly outstanding homemade pasta. And they make Bucatini pasta - my personal fave, which isn't easy to find.
They make a huge variety of pasta with all types of flavors: roasted red pepper, roasted garlic, basil, squid ink, you name it. They make some outrageously good mushroom sauce. I'm not a big fan of 'purchased' sauces, I generally like to make my own, but theirs is so earthy and creamy, it's a must - it also makes a great dipping sauce. They have raviolis with a plethora of different fillings - lobster, goat cheese, veal. They even have flatbreads. But, trust me, gather as much pasta as you can carry and never buy boxed pasta again!
I have been loving Peperonata for a few years now, when they were just a tiny little stall. Now, they have expanded to the neighboring empanada stand. This is where I stand and shove others out of the way so I can make my mouth bleed by shoveling 130 degree empanadas straight off the grill directly into my gullet. They are all superb, but the real show stopper is the 'cheese and onion' - a magical pairing of mozzarella and caramelized onion in a doughy ball of yumminess.
Unfortunately, this is the point that I stopped taking pictures because my hands were full of pasta, Kettle Corn and Cafe Con Leche. I am really not a healthy person. This is just occurring to me now. As I'm sitting in bed eating jelly beans. Perhaps I should go have a radish. Or go on a severe lemon cleanse. Because I have those items in the fridge too - thanks to the Farmer's Market. For real.
So, pictures aside, let me just tell you a few other hot spots at the market. Then I will resume my jelly bean eating while thinking about radishes. Then you can tell me about your favorite market finds! Deal?? Yay!
Worden Farms is a great stall. They offer certified organic produce and generally have fun finds like French radishes and purple basil.
Maggie's Seafood is Fresh Fresh Fresh. I probably would go there just because I like the name Maggie so much, yes, that's how I would judge a business, by it's awesome Rod Stewart song name, but, turns out - their seafood is wonderful. Plus, it's freezing cold, so it keeps your produce nice and cool on the car ride home. This is multi-tasking, people.
Sift Bakehouse is always there offering something completely utterly and ridiculously decadent. Just how baked goods should be. Try their Oreo Rocky Road Bar. So damn good.
And Local Coffee + Tea is always there with some great finds. I love Local Coffee + Tea. The people are friendly and their tea is outstanding. It goes really well Oreo Rocky Road Bars.
So, if you’re feeling up to it, give our little morning market a peek. Let me know what YOU think is a must buy. I’m sure I’m missing something as I generally lose all awareness once I start cramming empanadas into my face. Then, if you want, do the obvious next step - head home, open the windows, throw on some great tunes, dance with your pets and spend the day basking in the glow of your fresh produce. Because that’s 1000% what you are supposed to do with fresh produce...bask in its glow.
PS - Did you know The Sarasota Farmers Market was established in 1979 has 55 vendors? Wanna know more cool stuff?? Check out www.sarasotafarmersmarket.org.
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