If anyone ever wants to now why we love Old Naples so much, show them this collection of photos taken Easter weekend 2013 on a tour of the Farmer's Market in the Third Street South neighborhood.
This time of year we are virtually guaranteed china blue skies every day. For those of us who live in Old Naples, it is absolutely delightful to be able to walk to Third Street shops and restaurants, and the Saturday Farmer's Market is always a popular destination.
Sometimes the Farmer's Market runs right down 3rd Street, but usually this main street is kept open and the market sets up behind Tommy Bahama's in the parking lot.
Capt. Kirks Seafood is the best spot for local catches, and the smoked fish dip the best ever. This time of year the market is always packed, but always pleasant.
The are over a dozen food artisans offering up a variety of fresh goods, everything from breads, pastries, pastas, soups, and sauces to cookies, doughnuts, jams and jellies to cheeses, meats, seafood, and spices.
Everything grows so easily in South Florida. The market is a perfect place to pick up a few plants each week to add to a backyard collection. The private, secret gardens in Old Naples are a treasured benefit of living in the tropics. Especially fun is putting together a butterfly garden which attracts a wide variety of migrating species each spring.
A great treat of springtime in Florida are the fresh crops of citrus, especially the Valencia oranges that are picked in March. Fresh squeezed every morning....there is nothing better!
Fresh crêpes attract one of the longest lines. A favorite is a breakfast crêpe with egg and ham. The line moves quickly. "I can make one crêpe every minute," says the proud proprietress in her French accent. "I don't need any help. Who could do this faster or better than me?"
Of course, this is a farmer's market after all, so there are plenty of bins of fresh produce to peruse. South Florida is the fruit and vegetable basket of the U.S. this time of year and we have all the freshest right here. The strawberries are especially good this time of year, and March is right in the middle of papaya season. Of course, many of us are waiting with great anticipation for the four months of mangos that begin in June. Nothing better than a perfectly ripe mango....and there are mango trees all over Old Naples!
One of the gems is Julie Lappetito of Get Wild Seafood. Julie heads up to Alaska every summer and comes back with flash-frozen halibut, wild salmon and the like that she sells all over town, including at Food & Thought. And those orange waders are for real. Julie is a hands-on fisherman. Read more about her here
The longest lines are always for fresh guacamole, made right in front of you.
Here is my secret recipe for guac that everyone raves about: Take a ripe avacado, smash it up, and add about a cup of Paul Newman's mild salsa. Stir up up and, voila, enjoy everyone telling you how yummy it is. Just don't tell them you cheated ;).
There are usually musicians playing, usually with a folksy flair.
My haul? Three mangos (imported, sorry to say, but I cannot wait for June) and a jar of backyard honey. I always ask for the most local honey they have. It is supposed to help build immunities to the local pollens.
I LOVE OLD NAPLES! If you or your friends or family are wanting to buy or sell a home here, give me a call. I am the Old Naples guy!
All the best,
Bill Van Arsdale