I really don’t love Florida. I love the warm weather, I love the ocean breezes, I really love the fresh citrus fruits. And Miami is kinda fun. But I’ve never really fit with the Florida vibe. Everything’s a little slower (aside from Miami) and I’m not a slow kinda gal. And I guess I’ve never really forgiven Florida for that Bush v. Gore thing years ago.
That said, Florida’s got the kind of climate that makes it a produce paradise. And I’m all about fresh farm produce especially when it’s sold directly by the farmers who nurture those seeds into something delicious. A couple weeks, I visited the Naples Farmer’s Market and was quite pleased with my brief foodie excursion.
The Market, only a few blocks from the beach, was loaded with buyers and sellers. The sellers offered generous tastes of their produce and prepared foods. The buyers spent heavily, loading what they could cart away in their beach bags for picnics on the sand or long evening dinners, the kind of dinners where the produce and the sunset are the featured guests.
In addition to citrus fruits, we sampled avocados, coconuts, strawberries, onions, tomatoes, salad greens and too many green vegetables to mention. These potatoes were sliced into a gratin I served alongside some red wine braised beef short ribs. (Sure, it feels like Summer down there, but I wanted to share a hearty New England Winter dish with my family. They miss the snow. Kind of.)
Many featured sellers came sans produce, showcasing spices, crafts and hearty prepared stews. The sweetest Irish couple in the world had a big booth to share tastes of their three homemade stews (chicken, lamb & Guinness) and their delicate baked goods. I left with brown bread and chocolate biscuit cake, while my husband grabbed several sausage rolls with brown sauce.
Of course, I had to grab some strawberries and key lime juice. I adore key lime juice. I love it so much that I returned with six bottles for friends and family. Sure, you can buy it online but I like to keep a nice stock of the tart stuff to make for easy key lime pies come Summer. My shrimp skewers and salads are also far better offer with a splash of the good stuff.
While Florida isn’t really my thing, I love the fruits of its labor and am fairly thankful that little seedlings thrive there year round due to its almost perfect climate. Despite that election debacle, I’m pretty glad Florida exists. And I’ve almost gotten over the Bush thing. Almost.
Eat Boutique was an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista – an author, business guide and alignment seeker. After hosting retail markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie now supports entrepreneurs as they create values-based businesses through We Are Magic Studio. Follow Maggie Battista on Instagram.