Getting Fresh

From field to table, The Parkland Farmers Market is a favorite local source for produce & much more

Beginning this month, a former cow pasture in Parkland will be bustling with tote-carrying locals and visitors bringing home fresh produce and so much more.

“You can pick up anything,” says Gayle Vasile, scanning the Parkland Farmers Market map taped to her cabinet. She pauses, unsure which of the more than 100 vendors to point out next.

“This year, you can pick up a taco to eat.”

Vasile, the city of Parkland’s parks and recreation coordinator, rattles them off as they come to her: olive oil, kettle corn, mozzarella, baked goods, juice—the list goes on. When the city first hosted the market in 2008, there was only a produce vendor and a few other stands. Now the market fills up its space, the large field next to the Equestrian Center at 8350 Ranch Road.

The Parkland Farmers Market opens Nov. 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will run every first and third Sunday until April 23 (second and fourth Sundays in January and April). About 4,500 people are expected to mull about each market. Go for the luscious scents, savory samples and homegrown favorites. Stay for the fun and conversations. 

“Its a spot where people come and hang out and chat and catch up with their neighbors,” Vasile says.

Here are 10 things you need to know about Parkland’s Farmers Market.

  1. It’s OK to forget your reusable bag. Sponsor Mercantil Commercebank has your back—representatives will pass out free shopping bags at every market. There also will be an hourly cash raffle. Visitors may sign up for a chance to win $50 or $100.
  2. Parking is free. There is no cost to walk around market. Parking is off Ranch Road, and there will be two entrances and police officers directing traffic. If you live nearby, consider walking or biking.
  3. Bring cash. Although most vendors accept credit cards, not all do.
  4. Expect variety. Vasile says the city tries not to have more than two of the same of vendors. “We want to make sure [our vendors are] making their money and make sure that our residents are happy and are not getting bombarded with the same vendors every four booths,” she says. Bug spray, candles, soaps, flowers, cookies, spices, barbecue sauce, seafood, jams, ice pops, chocolate, tea and beef jerky are only some of the offerings.
  5. Pickles are popular. You will see three of just a few vendors, including pickle producers. Doctor Pickle and Pickle Peddler are returning, and Happy Pink Pickle is a first-timer.
  6. Get to know the vendors. Many of the returning vendors secured their spots in April, before last year’s market even ended. Each year, registration opens in May for new sellers, and spots are usually sold out by October. Some are neighbors, such as Denise Mancini of Naughty Nutty Love, who lives in Coral Springs. She’ll be selling her artisan nut butters once again, including the popular Cinnamon Almond Butter, and giving samples of candied walnuts. Other vendors hail from nearby places, such as Homestead, Jensen Beach and West Palm Beach, like Allan Doherty of Cider Doughnuts. The same employees drive to Parkland every market because they enjoy it so much, he says. The response is everything—every year, he is delighted at how many people wait in line for the made-to-order doughnuts. Laurie Landgrebe of Laurie’s Pantry loves her customers, too. She sells healthy, seasonally flavored granola in glass Mason jars—perfect for gifts or simply breakfast. Expect to find best sellers such as Health Nut, Basic Breakfast and, of course, pumpkin. “I feel like I’m part of the family,” she says.
  7. Wear sneakers. The market is in an outdoor field, so dress appropriately. Don’t forget an umbrella—always a good idea given Florida’s unpredictable weather.
  8. There are special dates. There will be certain craft and gift dates as well as a health fair, which will add another 20 to 30 vendors in the middle of the market. Kids also may explore firetrucks and more on Kid Safety Day (March 5) and Public Safety Day (April 23). For all dates, visit cityofparkland.org/329/Farmers-Market.
  9. It is dog-friendly. Pets are welcome. Many vendors will have treats and dog bowls out.
  10. It is family-friendly. There will be a bounce house, a face painter and crafts. DJ Scott from Pear Productions will play tunes each market. Some vendors will cook food on site (think fresh pasta).

To plan ahead and scout the Parkland Farmers Market, an updated map is available at cityofparkland.org/329/Farmers-Market. Call 954.757.4105 or email [email protected] for information.

Eat More Local

The Coral Springs Farmers Market is back for its second season. It opened Oct. 9, running 9 a.m.–1 p.m. every second and fourth Sunday through April 23 at the ArtWalk, 9405 NW 31st Court.

The market will have 45 to 55 vendors and focus on gourmet foods and locally grown produce. You will find similar (and some familiar) vendors to those at the Parkland Farmers Market: herbs, baked goods, pastas, olive oil, fresh mozzarella, guacamole, jams, honey, pet treats and more. The Coral Spring Farmers Market also features live music each month.

For information, contact market manager Colleen Sullivan at 954.618.9977 or [email protected].

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