7960469462?profile=originalCherokee purple tomatoes from Farmhouse Tomatoes, available at the West Palm Beach GreenMarket.

Photos by Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

7960469091?profile=originalCustomers check out spices for sale at the Delray Beach GreenMarket.

7960469875?profile=original

Christy’s Bakery offers an array of pastries at the Lake Worth Farmers Market.

7960469688?profile=original

Farmhouse Tomatoes sells Cherokee purple, Gold Medal and Red Brandywine

heirloom tomatoes at the West Palm Beach GreenMarket.

INSET BELOW: Cherry gooey bar from Sherrie’s Breads from the Heart, Lake Worth Oceanside Market. 

By Jan Norris

    Area green markets kick off their season just in time for shoppers to check off their Thanksgiving Day lists. Everything from olives and pickles to pies and pastries, from farm-fresh turkey to the Tupperware to pack up the remains, can be found at the markets, where the majority of booths are locally owned.

    We went shopping at four markets to find more than enough to produce beautiful, bountiful tables, but those we list are just a few of hundreds of products available. Several vendors have booths at more than one market; their products are usually duplicated.

    Products vary from week to week as farmers bring in the most recent harvests and crops change, and other vendors change out their foods and goods to suit the markets.

    Many of the booths are small and have limited quantities. 

    Moral of the story: Hit the markets early or you may come up empty, especially the weekend before Thanksgiving.

    All the markets offer free admission and free parking. Vendors have bags, but we advise taking your own. Since all are outdoors, pack an umbrella, just in case.

Delray Beach GreenMarket

    Hit Farriss Farms, where fresh organic chickens are provided. This local farm is taking orders for fresh turkeys early in November, but for those who want a fat roast chicken or fryer instead, they’ll have them each week. 

    Shop JC’s Daily Bread — a Jensen Beach baker — for pull-apart baguettes, a bargain at $3 a loaf with  several varieties available. Their “Ode to Hippies” loaf, chock full of seven nuts, with cranberries, raisins and hemp, is toast-worthy for those guests who stay for breakfast.

    Both breads deserve fresh butter — get it from Heritage Hen Farms, where fresh eggs also are available to make the requisite deviled eggs. Owner Svetlana Simon encourages you to bring your own egg cartons to reuse.

    The pink grapefruit and orange marmalade at the Delray Beach Jam Co. booth has just enough pucker power to be a perfect foil to use as a turkey glaze (just wait to glaze the bird during the last 15 minutes of cooking). For a tasty dip, mix their orange-ginger Irish Whisky marmalade with soft farmer’s cheese or spoon it over baked brie.

    Get the pita chips for the dip from Inika Foods. Two sisters are putting themselves through college at this booth, and they pull an all-nighter to make their hummus and other foods to sell. They also offer a variety of gluten-free products.

    Alderman Farms is one of the oldest farming families in the area. Get your bitter greens, sweet potatoes, corn and carrots at this booth and talk to the vendor about their farming practices that were recognized in a Slow Foods seminar last year.

    Football games after turkey require some fresh dips and chip. Shop at Anita’s Guacamole for this crowd-pleaser. (Tip: Make guacamole-stuffed eggs for a twist on the usual.)

    At Cottage Garden Teas, pick up some unusual teas and package them with a teapot as a gift for your holiday host. 

    Think beyond the cup: Use tea to add to the liquids to cook grains like rice and quinoa for extra flavor; put a spoon of ginger tea in with the rice water, then serve it with fresh fish, for instance.

Lake Worth
Farmers Market

7960469498?profile=original    At Sherrie’s Breads from the Heart, check out the fresh gingerbread loaves, or her pear-almond streusel. Both make nice host gifts or breakfast treats for visitors.

    Order holiday pies from Christy’s Bakery: Pumpkin and apple are standards available, but other flavors are possible as custom-made orders.

    The Gourmet Galaxy gang will offer pumpkin mousse and a pumpkin “dome” dessert — an upscale presentation for a dessert table that feeds a crowd. Squash and crab soups are available here, as well.

    Dress your table with the fun linens at FreshWare. Greenmarket manager Peter Robinson has created his own line of cotton linens made from vegetable and fruit prints. Table runners made of fabrics featuring peas, grapes, tomatoes and more or a bundle of cocktail napkins make a nice cook’s gift tied to a bottle of olive oil.

    Stumped on what to cook? Check out the used cookbooks at the Yart Sale booth; original artwork here also is tropical fun.

Boca Raton Green Market

    Shop for breads: We were taken by the chocolate Viennese loaf from LV Bakery of Oakland Park. A number of gluten-free cookies and other baked goods are available here.

    At Better Choice Products, you can choose artisan soaps and soy candles to take to your host, or have handy for guests.

    We like beeswax candles because they don’t drip or smoke. Get them, along with fresh honey, from the Bee Sweet booth here. Lotions for cook-weary hands also are a good choice.

    Need a centerpiece or last minute arrangement? See Dave Mayo at The Rock Garden, where a variety of exotic orchids and plants are sold. He will custom design on order.

    You’ll need to pack up the remains of the day’s feast. The Tupperware Booth women can advise. (Remember: Cooked foods need to be refrigerated after two hours max off the stove.)

West Palm Beach
GreenMarket

     The turkey cookies we found on a stick at Palm Beach Pastry are cute and make fun placeholders at the kiddie table. Gianna Miles takes custom orders — you can get “adult” cookie place cards from her, too, or a box of holiday cookies as a host gift.

    Everybody makes squash soup. Be different. For a tropical Thanksgiving table, consider conch salad as a first course. The cheery gals at Sisters in the Pot make an award-winning version. Bonus: You can order sweet potato pies at the booth, too — they’re famous in certain circles, especially made for the holidays.

    Freshly picked greens, often harvested the day before market, are available from Jodi Swank at Swank Farms. Fresh kale, cress, beets, carrots and turnips all come from the Loxahatchee farm, where they also invite chefs to cook on the farm. Ask about those dinners, open to the public.

    Fresh mushrooms for your soup or gravy can be bought in mixed groups at Oyster Island Mushrooms. The grower can explain the different types and flavors they sell. It’s a small booth, and quantities are limited, so this is a booth to hit early.

    Don’t forget your four-legged friends. Doggie snaps and treats made from all natural ingredients are sold at Dog Pack Snacks, and money raised here helps rescue dogs, as well.

    Farmhouse Tomatoes is one of the oldest green market vendors in the area. Heirloom tomatoes like Purple Cherokee and Gold Medal are grown hydroponically. Their taste is vastly superior to supermarket tomatoes; sample them at their booth. They hand out recipe cards, too: Check out the tomato soup one we picked up that would be a delicious starter course.

    If you have resolve and can avoid eating them before you get home, the Herbs d’ Provence olives from Pickled Pink will serve you several ways: 

    Put out the olives as a snack on your crudite tray. Use the oil as a bread dipping sauce, or in a pan to make croutons. It’s also fine as a drizzle over the tomato soup we list. Other olive flavors are available, as well as tapenade, another great pre-meal treat.

Deluxe cream of tomato soup

Use heirloom tomatoes, if possible.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 celery ribs, finely chopped

4 large Florida tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and chopped

1 teaspoon sugar or to taste

2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

½ cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill weed

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Melt butter in a medium-size non-aluminum pan. Add the onion and celery and sauté gently over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring often. Do not brown. Stir in the tomatoes and sugar. Simmer, covered, for 6 to 8 minutes, until tomatoes are soft.

Transfer the vegetables to a food processor and process to a smooth puree. Pour the puree back into the saucepan and stir in remaining ingredients. Heat the soup through, adjusting seasoning to taste. Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

(Recipe provided by Farmhouse Tomatoes.)

Get your green on!

Boca Raton Green Market, Saturdays at Royal Palm Place southwest parking lot. 8 a.m.-1 p.m.; 368-6875 or www.ci.boca-raton.fl.us

Delray Beach GreenMarket, Saturdays at Old School Square Park, Northeast Second Avenue, one block north of Atlantic Avenue. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; 276-7511 or www.delraycra.org

Pompano Beach Green Market, Saturdays at Flagler Avenue and Northeast First Street, Pompano Beach. 8 a.m.-1 p.m.; (954) 782-3015 or www.pompanohistory.com/phc/market

Green Market @ FAU, Thursdays at the FAU Stadium Plaza, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; free parking; 297-0197 or www.fau.edu/missiongreen.

Lake Worth Farmers Market, Saturdays at Old Bridge Park, northeast corner of A1A and Lake Avenue, in Lake Worth. 8 a.m.-1 p.m.; 547-3100 or www.lakeworthfarmersmarket.com

West Palm Beach GreenMarket, Saturdays at 101 S. Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; 822-1520 or www.wpb.org.

Tips for green market shopping

Get there early for the best and freshest foods. Most booths are small and can run out of products. At closing times, many slash prices on leftover prepared foods.

Bring cash. Some vendors take cards, others don’t.

Bring your own shopping bag or a folding cart to make browsing easier. 

Get business cards from the vendors you like and ask to make sure they’ll be returning. 

Many vendors take requests or custom orders — even for produce or baked goods. Some will even deliver.

Some will sample their products if you ask.

By law, food products must have labels with ingredients. Some small vendors bake from their homes — also legal. Ask the vendor about their foods if you’re wary or have serious food allergies; many produce foods in kitchens where products not listed on a label, such as nuts, will be handled.

Before taking a dog or other animal to a market, find out if they’re allowed, then act responsibly as the handler. Don’t allow them in the booths with foods, and clean up after your pet.

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