It was midweek and already I was pining for a stroll through a farmer’s market. My favorite market is located all the way out at the beach and only operates on Saturdays, but I researched a few others that were open during the week. The one in St. Augustine would be a nearly 45-minute drive, so I opted to go downtown to the Jacksonville Farmer’s Market. Sadly, it was a complete waste of my time.
If you’re looking for produce on the cheap, this is the place to get it. But if you’re looking for local produce, which I was led to believe (by their website) could be found here, then you will be sorely disappointed. After passing mounds of lettuce heads wrapped in Dole packaging and plastic boxes of Driscoll’s strawberries from Watsonville, California (think migrant workers and poverty wages), I finally found a vendor with South Carolina peaches (which still does not make me a peach elitist). For two bucks, I came home with semi-local fruit. And for an additional ten dollars, over which I’m still somewhat kicking myself, I scored a decent sized jar of Tupelo wildflower honey made in North Florida.
Why did I spend so much on the honey? It wasn’t because of the honey, that I can assure you. It was because the two men who sold me the honey were also peanut farmers from Georgia. Bags and bags of peanuts filled their vendor space. One man cooked up some delicious barbeque while the other stirred a steaming pot of water for his delicious boiled peanuts, both of which are local/Southern food staples. I wanted the actual local farmer to have my money, even if it was for a jar of overpriced honey.
I ended up finishing my light grocery shopping at Whole Foods and looking forward to the weekend when I could return to the Beaches Green Market. FYI: this is the only farmer’s market in the entire Jacksonville metro area that guarantees the in-season produce being sold was grown by the farmer who is selling it.
My new light grocery list for my Saturday visit to the BGM in Atlantic Beach includes eggplant, okra, mangoes, and eggs. Oh, yes. Sunday dinner is going to be delicious.