Sarah Byerly, of Boynton Beach, has her photo taken with three of the six goats from Downward Goat that took part in goat yoga at the Lantana greenmarket. Market founder Hector V. Herrera aims to offer a different experience each Sunday. Rachel S. O’Hara/The Coastal Star
By Linda Haase
Lantana’s Bicentennial Park has stunning Intracoastal views, a gorgeous gazebo, shaded picnic tables, benches and a playground.
But on Sundays this gem is transformed into a charming greenmarket, showcasing everything from fresh produce to homemade jams.
The Lantana greenmarket, operated by Shoreline Green Markets, comes together like a movie set as vendors arrive, some as early as sunrise, to erect this small village. Directing the project is Hector V. Herrera, its founder and manager, whose unwavering enthusiasm is contagious.
It seemed like every town had a greenmarket this season but Lantana — and with the town’s blessing, Herrera began its inaugural year in mid-November. Each Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., as many as 32 vendors share their handmade and innovative creations.
Chatting with merchants — who are very friendly and passionate about their wares — enhances the experience, Herrera says. “You can learn a lot and it makes it more special when you meet the person behind the product.”
Among the offerings are produce, clothes, jewelry, candles, shell art, cheeses, spices, sarongs and much more. And, oh, the food. Come for breakfast and stay for lunch: There’s a vegan bakery, authentic Bahamian dishes like chicken souse and conch salad, crepes, shrimp and grits and more (hungry yet?).
One of those serving up tasty treats is Shirlann Sanders, the woman behind the makeshift stove at Nana’s Southern Kitchen & Country Store. It resembles a country store/restaurant, right down to the wood paneling, homey curtains and red-and-white checked tablecloths.
The tempting aroma from the Lantana resident’s made-from-scratch and to-order shrimp and grits, triple-decker grilled cheese sandwiches and other comfort food wafts through the air. Also available at her booth are homemade jams and jellies. The 30 flavors include strawberry, mint, fig, tropical and orange marmalade.
“My recipes don’t come from a book. They are custom made and big on flavor,” says Sanders, who grew up in Tennessee and learned a thing or two at her family’s country restaurant. “My grits aren’t instant, they are the real deal. I have them sent to me from a mill in Georgia. It’s the only way I know how to cook.”
Herrera sums it all up: “She represents everything everyone loves about the South.”
Sanders’ quaint display — created by her husband, Scott — isn’t the only unusual thing at the Ocean Avenue venue. From the beginning, this greenmarket, which runs through May, was designed to be different.
“Most greenmarkets are on Saturday. This gives people another option for something to do on a Sunday,” explains Herrera, who lives in nearby Hypoluxo. “I wanted to create a real Sunday tradition for Lantana that brings people together.”
He envisions a community-centric, family friendly event that offers greenmarket staples and a “laid-back, enjoy-yourself-kind of place” with special events each week.
Herrera, who has managed greenmarkets for about five years, is brimming with ideas for activities that will set the greenmarket apart, like a recent goat yoga session and an upcoming class on creating a cheese and charcuterie board.
“I want to create a different experience every Sunday,” he says.
Boca Raton Greenmarket every Saturday at City Hall (north side), 201 W Palmetto Park Rd. 8 am-1 pm. Free. downtownboca.org; 299-8684 email@example.com
Delray Beach Greenmarket every Saturday at Old School Square Park, 50 NE 2nd Ave, one block north of Atlantic Ave. Fresh local produce, baked goods, gourmet food items, plants, live music, children’s activities. 9am-2pm. 276-7511; delraycra.org
Lantana Greenmarket every Sunday at Bicentennial Park, 321 E Ocean Ave. 10 am-2 pm. 515-9919; shorelinegreenmarkets.com
Lake Worth Farmers Market every Saturday by the bridge at A1A. 1873 Lake Ave, Lake Worth. 9 am-1 pm. Free. 547-3100; lakeworthfarmersmarket.com