All too often, the booths that most look like farmers ones are actually run by resellers who sell produce sourced from around the country or world. Just looking at the boxes under the counter can tell where the produce is actually from.
In Palm Beach County, one of the more impressive markets for farmers presence is the Palm Beach Gardens Green Market, held on Sundays from 8 am to 1 pm.
This year, the number of booths has doubled from last year putting a bit of a strain on parking locations. I landed up parked so far away, I felt I deserved a pastry reward when I finally walked back to the market.
Kai Kai Farm, Indiantown
|Diane Cordeau, Owner, Kai Kai Farm|
Diane Cordeau, the farmer of Kai Kai Farm said, "I grow organically without being certified and we are proud to be pesticide free farm. I use a lot of companion plantings and beneficial insects to do the work."
Her farm is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, meaning people can buy shares in next season's crop and then get the fresh vegetables. Kai Kia has been attending the Palm Beach Gardens Green Market for two years.
They sell salad greens, herbs,vegetables, and strwberries when in season. "My strawberries grow big and juicy," Cordeau said. I bought some spicy salad mix ($3), a head of romaine and a head of Bibb lettuce (both $3).
D and D Farms, Palm City, NOW CLOSED
|Marcus Quirino, Produce Manager, D and D Farms|
They also use organic growing methods on their farm. They are a CSA, u-pick, and produce market farm and have been at the Palm Beach Gardens market for three years. They sell regular and specialty vegetables like low-acid chocolate heirloom tomatoes, sweet yellow tomatoes, and white beets.
This past weekend D and D Farms, had a sign up for a free on-farm event titled A Day At A Farm with chef Greg Williamson, for Dec 11th starting at 11 am. I asked Marcus Quirino, produce manager, if this was a new event for the farm. He said, "no, we've had these events every second Sunday of the month for some time." He added that Wednesdays are special too. They are marked Senior Citizens U-Pick Days, where a tram picks them up and takes them to and from the fields, so they don't have to walk as far.
I bought some of their farm-grown vegetables: golden zucchini ($0.70/lb), white beets ($1.50/lb), red heirloom tomatoes ($2.99/lb), and chocolate heirloom tomatoes ($1.75/lb).
Pure Produce, hydroponic farm, Micco
|Chcuk Gomez, Owner, Pure Produce|
Owned by Chuck and Maya Gomez, Pure Produce uses organic growing methods on their farm but no manures. They have had a booth at the market for over 10 years. They grow hydroponic cucumbers, tomatoes, salad greens, herbs, and peppers.
I saw bags of oyster and shitake mushrooms and asked about them. Chuck said, "These are grown in bags of wheat straw with coffee grounds and other materials added." Everything sells for $3 except the mushrooms, they cost $6 a bag. I bought a bag of oyster mushrooms.
Farriss Farm, Palm Beach Gardens
|Robert and Paula Farriss, Owners, Farriss Farm|
Robert and Paula Farriss run a small sustainable farm. Robert said, "This year's growing season has been challenging for us with a drier than expected summer followed by a very wet October." But he reassured me that all their plants are recovering and doing well.
During the growing season (Sept. to May), Farriss Farm grows and sells herbs and vegetables in containers. They also sell ornamental plants, and a special potting mixture made of compost and perlite.They occasionally sell free-range eggs.
Blue Bees Apiaries, West Palm Beach
|J.W. "Sonny" Henry, Owner, Blue Bees Apiary|
Henry's bees are local and don't travel like most hives in the honey industry do. He has two hive locations: a 200-acre property up on Hood Street, and Tanah Keeta Boy Scout Camp in Tequesta. There he mentors scouts on the art of bee keeping.
He sells his honey in glass jars of varying sizes, "I don't like putting my honey in plastic," he said and added if customers bring back their empty glass jars he'll give them a $0.50 discount on their next purchase. His jars sell for $7 to $18 depending on the size.
To find out more about this market, click on this link Palm Beach Gardens Green Market