A tasteful visit to the Frenchtown Farmers Market

by Tallahassee Table

The weekly event brings a variety of vendors, home cooks , artisans, local food — and a beekeeper.

Frenchtown Farmers Market
is one of our many outstanding farmers’ markets in Tallahassee. We stopped by on a recent Saturday, partly to enjoy the food of Bourne Brilliant and pay tribute to Black Restaurant Week and partly because there are so many interesting people and products there. The market takes place every Saturday, featuring regular vendors along with newcomers so there can always be pleasant surprises.

We got to meet Michaela Teasley, founder and CEO of Tally Kombucha, which is a fermented tea, and came across her delicious drinks, including our choice of the Spiced Pear, which was refreshing with a slight zing.

It was fascinating to talk to Rebekka White, who creates art out of dried okra. She has a podcast with author Chris Smith that’s “dedicated to okra, not just the pod, but the whole plant and the people it connects.” Rebekka, an educator and entrepreneur, had samples of her okra artistry and you would be amazed at how beautiful these are. Follow her at the_wildokra_projects on Instagram. Chris Smith wrote the book, “The Whole Okra,” which won a James Beard Foundation Award in 2020. The WildOkra Projects

It was tough not to be tempted by the array of jellies and jams being sold by Rose Marie Garrison and her husband Tracy. Rose has been making her jams, jellies and pepper sauces for more than 35 years. Her company is called Marie’s Jelly Jams & Herbs. It was tough making a choice but we picked Holiday Jam, which has a crisp fall flavor with a hint of spice. We’ll be serving it on Thanksgiving.

Meeting Stefania Martucci was another treat. Originally from Turin, Italy she was selling her homemade items, including focaccia and baked goods. We bought the pumpkin and chocolate tarts and they were terrific. She’s also selling several hot dishes and desserts for Thanksgiving. Reach her at [email protected] 850-363-5408. If it’s too late to order for Thanksgiving, consider her for future events or catch her at the market.

Among the other attractions at the market — our old friend and colleague, Rick Flagg. He’s a former radio reporter and current beekeeper who founded the Frenchtown Bee Farm. Along with his bottles of honey, he sells samples of a wide range of honey flavors, including root beer and watermelon, in straws. You bite the straws and you can either sip on the honey or put the honey in tea or other drinks or food.

Rick was at this table with wife, Debbie Campell, who runs Debbie’s Grand’ola. I’ve been ordering Debbie’s granola from the Red Hills Small Farm Alliance online market for some time and it’s really good. Rick and Debbie have merged their companies and their lives — two very special people.

We didn’t get to meet everyone and reader Ken Winker reminded me of “the very fine sausage makers, Brascomb’s Meats by Darwin Brascomb and his wife who we bought sausages from Saturday at the Frenchtown Market.” He advises you go to www.brascombsmeats.com for their very fine pork and turkey sausages.

Another perk on our visit: music by Robynn O’Leary and Mandy Stich.

Back to these talented young ladies: Zaira, Lyrica and Nadira Leo of Bourne Brilliant were set up at their Frenchtown Farmers Market popup to serve their delicious plant-based food, but also for another reason: to commemorate Black Restaurant Week, which took place last week.

“It’s an event that brings together black or brown-owned restaurants all over the U.S.,” said the girls’ mom, Syrheda La Shae. “What it does, it’s a campaign that not only connects us virtually but also to gain exposure with the masses that might not normally know about us as a black-owned restaurant.”

Covid 19 is likely one factor in an increase in the opening of black-owned restaurants and food trucks, said Syrheda.

“Culturally food is always very important in black families,” she said. “With the onset of the pandemic, a lot of people lost their jobs and a consistent income, so they turned back to what they knew and what they knew was a source of income in their families for generations.”

And that’s cooking, whether that means restaurants, food trucks, catering.

Syrheda’s daughters have been baking or cooking since Lyrica was 6 years old. She’s now a teen. The girls have built their business but also earned awards by helping others. They make their own food and grow many of their ingredients.T

The Bourne Brilliant girls no longer own a brick-and-mortar business so fans are on the lookout for their popup events and market appearance.

One of those fans is Jamilla Cooper who was at the Frenchtown Market, ordering the entree special for the day from Bourne Brilliant — smoky meatless meatballs with two entrees.

“I’m a longtime supporter of Bourne Brilliant,” said Jamilla, at the Frenchtown Market. “Everything they make is delicious from their rice to tonics to the cooked meals that are the pièce de résistance.”

I agree.

My husband and I devoured those meatballs and picked sides of a sweet rice, red rice and buckwheat mixture and a medley of squash, zucchini and tomatoes“I definitely see the pandemic as a reason a lot of people are getting into this field,” said Jamilla. “A lot of people turned to what they know and that’s food. Black Restaurant Week is getting the word out.”

For a list of local, black-owned restaurants, check out this chart at https://tinyurl.com/r6568e8z, compiled by Cassie Nicholace, who has done a great job.

There are always changes so please comment if you know of any additions or places that have closed. FYI, Great Plates and Soul Vegetarian Restaurant have closed; Nefetari’s is no longer open for dining service but for catering and event rental opportunities and Leola’s Crab Shack has moved to 1911 S. Adams St.

We always meet so many inspiring people at farmers’ markets. If you haven’t been to any in Tallahassee, they are a wonderful resource and source of locally grown food, homemade goods and creative ideas. For a directory, see our website — https://www.tallahasseetable.com/tallahassees-farmers…

The Frenchtown Market is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays
Where: 524 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

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