Monday, October 17, 2011

Saturday at Old Miakka Farmer's Market

Just before I tell you about the farmer's market, the other thing going on in my life on Saturday was the Venice Sun Fiesta, which had my granddaughter, Marina, walking in the parade as part of the Sailor Circus group.  She just became part of the group and was so excited to wear her costume.  Please indulge her nana by looking at her darling photo below.

I have been wanting to go out to the Old Miakka Farmer's Market at Crowley Museum and Nature Center every Saturday morning for the past several months.  Finally this past Saturday I made it out there and it was a delight!  I know that the Downtown Farmer's Market is just the thing and everyone goes there, but it is a little intense for me.  I don't like the crowds and I don't need another social engagement to "see people".  I do enough of that the rest of the week.  What I want is a relaxing, peaceful, country-type experience and that's exactly what I got.

Debbie Blount from 4 Bees Herb Farm (, is the driving force behind the market.  Go to her web-site to get put on the weekly mailing list for the market.  She'll tell you who will be there each week.  I got to know her when I asked her to speak about herbs and then be an expert during the Junior League's inaugural Kitchen Festival last spring, which I chaired.  I went to her farm right after that and bought a ton of herbs.  In the past, the only herb I could keep growing all summer was rosemary.  With Debbie's herbs, almost every single one lasted all summer and are still growing fabulously, including three different basils - regular, opal, and lemon, lemon balm, pineapple mint, orange mint, apple mint, yarrow, sage, and lavender.  In fact, I let all three kinds of basil go to seed at times and they have now self-seeded several new plants all on their own!

This is a small market.  Do not expect what you see downtown.  There are different vendors weekly and unfortunately for me, their two or three largest vendors were not there on Saturday for various reasons including illness and a family wedding.  In addition to produce and herbs, there are usually live goats, chicks and ducks, raw milk, eggs, baked goods, boiled peanuts, natural plant fertilizer, local honey, soaps, salves, balms, handcrafted pottery, handcrafted quilts, children's clothes, aprons, and dolls.  There is also live music to enhance your country experience.

All of this is on the Crowley Museum and Nature Center property (, which is divine in an old Florida Cracker way.  If it's your first time there, you may want to plan on exploring the buildings and trails.  The drive out there is so pleasant.  You go out to the end of Fruitville Rd., turn right and follow the signs.  There is so little "country" driving that I do around Sarasota, that this was truly a pleasure.  You drive by signs telling you to watch out for deer and cows, you see many horse and cattle farms, different nurseries, etc.  Turning right onto Myakka Road is to drive through a tunnel of trees at times and I even passed the Old Miakka United Methodist Church where a country wedding was taking place - charming!

One thing I noticed about the market, it didn't really get hopping until close to 11 AM (they are open 9 AM - 2 PM), just when I was leaving.  The musicians were just setting up and the people were just really starting to arrive.  Also, a birthday group was just arriving at the museum to be guided by "The Nature Detective", which I thought would be a great idea for my grandchildren's birthday party.  One more thing, though dogs are not allowed in the museum area, they are allowed at the farmer's market.  You should definitely make the trip out there - it is well worth it.

The banana-rama lady - that's what the booth was called, I promise!

Lovely fresh produce and grains

Gorgeous baskets of herbs

Beautiful different basils

Taste of the South treats

Beautiful pottery made from nature's leaves and reasonably priced!

Handmade country aprons

Debbie and Sam Blount at their booth

Local honey, salves, and balms

The Miakka Band - there are different groups each week.

Phoebe - one of the vendor's cute and friendly dog

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