Farmer's market, BBQ tour kick off Local Food Week


Fred Fischer grills some local vegetables including sweet potatoes and rutabaga at Porter’s BBQ, Potluck and Farm Tour at Porter's Community Farm in Gainesville, Fla. on Saturday, February 9, 2013.

Ashley Crane Correspondent
Published: Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 5:31 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 5:31 p.m.

Pat Carlisle is a firm believer in supporting herself and growing her own food. She and her husband have farmed for about 50 years, and she's participated in the Alachua County Farmer's Market since it opened 20 years ago.

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Fred Fischer grills some local vegetables including sweet potatoes and rutabaga at Porter’s BBQ, Potluck and Farm Tour at Porter's Community Farm in Gainesville, Fla. on Saturday, February 9, 2013.

Ashley Crane Correspondent

"Everybody should be buying local," she said.

For the next week, people around the county can enjoy the experience of growing, buying and eating locally by participating in the first Alachua County Local Food Week. The week's events highlight a connection between local food, new economic opportunities and entrepreneurship. There are events Monday through Thursday and on Feb. 17, including farmer's markets, garden and farm tours, and films through Cinema Verde. For a list of events, go online to www.blueovenkitchens.org.

Saturday's opening-day events featured the local food celebration at the Alachua County Farmer's Market, followed by a barbecue and farm tour in the Porter's community south of downtown.

Andi Houston, the assistant marketing manager at the Alachua County Farmer's Market, said this market is a growers-only market, which means there are no wholesale sellers and everything grown is done so within driving distance of the market.

The farmer's market is located near the intersection of U.S. 441 (Northwest 13th Street) and Northwest 34th Street and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday. There are about 30 vendors each week, but because some are seasonal fruit and vegetable growers, not all food is always available, Houston added.

In honor of Local Food Week, Stefanie Samara Hamblen of Hogtown HomeGrown gave two cooking demonstrations at the market to encourage the use of locally grown food. Hamblen, who's on the board of Blue Oven Kitchens, will participate in two other events during the week. Tuesday night she'll be doing a salad dressing demonstration through Cinema Verde, and Thursday night she'll be at Blue Oven Kitchens for its "Chocolate and Bubbles" event.

Tyra Scaife has participated at the farmer's market for about 3 years, selling her fresh fruit juices. When one walks up to her booth, she gives that person "The Tour," which is a sample of all four juices she offers.

Her biggest seller, though, is Mr. Feelgood, which is a blend of fresh blueberries, pomegranates, black cherries and pineapples. Her juice varieties change depending on the time of year.

Scaife said she and her husband, Anthony, started at the market after Anthony returned from the Navy, but he's made juice for 20 years. He's a personal chef who learned his skills from his grandparents, both of whom were master chefs.

Chef Anthony's Ambrosia Collection, as the assortment of juices is called, features 67 varieties in an attempt to appeal to everyone. Scaife, who is in the medical field, said she has given her cancer patients juices for the past 20 years, and she and her husband use it in everything they make at home.

Scaife likes seeing the smile on everybody's face when they're trying to guess what particular kind of juice they're sampling, she said.

"Everyone, no matter their income, rich or poor, should be allowed to experience drinking fresh juice," she added.

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