Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pompano Beach Green Market

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, there is no CSA delivery this week and I decided to make a visit to the Pompano Beach Green Market, which is located at Atlantic Boulevard and Dixie Highway in Pompano. Last year and the year before that I went once, so one could consider today my annual visit. Each year I hope it will get better, so I go, optimistic, and leave a little disappointed.

I think it's great that Pompano Beach has a green market at all. I really do. The market is in a very old section of Pompano, right along the train tracks, and it's appealingly quaint and picturesque. I like the atmosphere. When you visit the Pompano Green Market you really do get a sense of community spirit and I love that.

The market is tiny, but it tries. There is a live band playing and vendors selling homemade soaps, skin creams, a small selection of plants, crafts, books and one booth selling stone crabs, seafood and fish dip. Today, there were only two tents of fresh produce and of course (you know what I'm going to say) the majority of it was not from anywhere around here. This saddens me.

While there wasn't a lot of Florida produce there was some, which is a start. A friend of mine had recommended the booth run by the Indian lady. She has a larger variety of fruits and vegetables than the other produce vendor and more of her items are from around here. At certain points later in the season she will probably sell some items that she grows herself. Today she had local peppers, squash, zucchini, eggplant, green beans, okra and bok choy. I bought all of the above except okra, and she even threw in several free yellow squash for me. This vendor's wares looked fresh and were nicely displayed, even the ones from Honduras and Costa Rica (grumble grumble). While some of her fruits and vegetables were shipped from elsewhere, at least they were all tropical. She had a big pile of boniato which appeared to be of a much higher quality than that in the grocery store.

The other produce vendor was different. This vendor had a couple of the same items, but also had several Northern-style items like russet potatoes, a few, very standard varieties of apple and pears. I find better local variety than that at Whole Foods. I was disappointed in produce vendor two, although on a more positive note, produce vendor two did have some local tomatoes, but none of them were ripe. I'd rather have no tomato than a pink tomato. I can wait a few more weeks and I still have some cherry tomatoes left from last week's CSA box.

It took me less than ten minutes to zip through the Pompano Green Market. I liked the Indian lady's stand the best and was pleased that she offered some locally grown vegetables at extremely inexpensive prices. She told me they came from the Boynton area, so that's really close. I also liked the service she provided and I will be back later in the season to see what else she might have. Next time, I would also like to ask the seafood vendor about the origins of some of his seafood. If he makes his own smoked fish spread, I'll try some of that too. Unfortunately with smoked fish dip, a lot of places use a pre-made food service brand and try to pass it off as their own. Beware of this dirty trick.

The Pompano Green Market has a pleasant atmosphere and is a good place for a short, morning outing. There are locally grown items, but they are outnumbered by things grown out of state and out of the country, so you have to really pay attention to what you're buying and ask the vendors specific questions. While there are better farmer's markets much further south, the Pompano Green Market is a good start and Broward County's best, current option.

The Pompano Green Market runs until April 24th, every Saturday morning from 8am until 1pm.

Pompano Green Market Official Page on the Pompano Historical Society Site

Pompano Green Market on Local Harvest

The Pompano Historical Society Site - some really interesting info on local history in blog form. I really enjoyed this site and found it worth checking out, especially if you like learning about the unique culture and diversity of old Florida.

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