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This Week

From My Garden to Yours

Tom Carey

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I recently began as a vender at the Audubon Park Community Market (APCM). This neighborhood-based market is a unique variation from the standard model of a suburban farmers market. A neighborhood’s market distinctively personifies the community’s version of the local food experience. Many of these markets are open on weekday evenings, present live music, offer craft beers and other beverages, provide dinner from food trucks, support unique artisans and bring neighbors together.

The APCM, at the corner of Corrine Drive at 1842 E. Winter Park Road in Orlando, sets up Monday evenings from 6-10 p.m. in the Stardust Video and Coffee parking lot. All vendors are local. Managed by Gabriela Othon with her husband, Michael, the evening’s serious business is rendered efficiently into the background. Each vendor jealously values his or her little piece of real estate while joyously interacting with all the other businesses and customers.

The evening time slot is a pleasant twist to the typical Saturday morning schedule. Visitors can drop by after work to unwind and casually stroll about the stalls. Stop and chat with other guests and enjoy the food, music and fun — too bad the fun only lasts four hours a week!

I begin setting up my booth on the hot parking lot around 5 p.m. The technology of pop-up canopies has become universally practical. Display tables arranged in an open horseshoe are to welcome guests into my booth. My ever-present bar stools are an invitation to linger.

The local nature of this institution (only 30 minutes from my garden in Oviedo) allows many unintended adventures to occur. Several APCM patrons have already managed an adventure to visit Sundew Gardens to check out our U-Pick Harvest Gardening program. Numerous clubs meet on Monday evenings just around the corner at Leu Gardens and drop by the market afterward. Tie in the Homegrown Coop as a delivered source for my harvested produce and the interactions become exponential.

Harvesting crops based on speculation has always been a problem, so I primarily bring seedlings to fully grown nursery plants. The transplants I bring are for us, not a continental generic mismatch. Meeting with so many of you to discuss the full spectrum of food crops, from gardening to cooking and eating, keeps the conversations steadily alive all evening. And if my products don’t sell, I bring them back to the homestead and grow them even bigger for next week.

Chicken workshop

“Raising Chickens in Central Florida” workshop is 9 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 21 at Sundew Gardens, 2212 Red Ember Road, Oviedo, 32765. This two-hour event costs $20 ($5 discount for Simple Living members or Sundew Harvest Gardeners). Class size is limited, so a RSVP is required to Sundewgardens@gmail.com or 407-430-2178.

Who is Carey?

Tom Carey is the owner of Sundew Gardens, a you-pick gardening business in Oviedo. Visit the Sundew Gardens Facebook page.