Fortunately, a handful of local growers have organized a winter market and are selling their produce every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot of Tsunami restaurant in Cooper-Young. They plan to be there all winter.
Here’s Van Cheeseman from Flora Bluebird Farms in Holly Springs and his beautiful gourds. He’s also selling broccoli raab, mizuna (a type of Asian green) mustard greens, curly greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and arugula.
Cheeseman can’t say enough kind words about Ben Smith, chef and owner of Tsunami, for letting the farmers set up shop in his parking lot. “We like to call him the Godfather of local food,” Cheeseman said, laughing.
Thomas and Bonnie Dodson, who farm in Forrest City, Arkansas, are selling beautiful produce too. They expect their spinach to be ready right after Thanksgiving. For now, they are selling sweet potatoes, collards, kale, and these lovely yellow tomatoes. They are called “Doctor Carolyn,” but they should be called “champagne grape.” They are delicious.
Tim Smith with Gracious Garden is also on hand, offering lettuces, arugula, and salad mix. If I’d gotten there earlier, I could have tried his French radishes, which are long slender radishes about the size of your pinky finger. “They have a wonderful flavor,” Smith said. “In France, people eat them for breakfast.”
If you don’t feel like cooking, stop by anyway and buy some wonderful bread, cinnamon rolls, or sticky buns from Shoaf’s Loaf Bakery. Here’s 5-year-old Myra Fox-Trautman with Melinda Shoaf, (right) trying to talk her mom, Kristin, into buying a pack of dinner rolls. No luck! Mom went for the whole-wheat bread.
Produce selections will vary from week to week, so you might want to e-mail individual growers and see what veggies to expect. You also can pre-order baked goods from Shoaf’s Loaf Bakery.