From left, Annmarie, Lance, age 6, Matt, age 7, Andrew, age 2, and Scott Gunn, of Palm Harbor listen as Alan Feivelson of Frivolous Fruit Products talks about his large array of fresh, homemade, and delicious jams, jellies, and pickles at the Cross Roads Farmer’s Market. The market is open Sundays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pop Stansell Park in Palm Harbor.
PALM HARBOR – Due to complaints about noise, traffic and garbage, the Cross Roads Farmers Market was forced to shut down April 2 at its location on the grounds of the historic Hartley House.
However, upon hearing about the demise of the market, Palm Harbor Parks and Recreation stepped in and offered Pop Stansell Park as a potential site for the weekly Sunday offering. The market reopened June 2.
In 2008, the market relocated from a parking lot in downtown Palm Harbor to 2043 Curlew Road. It is the only year-round market in north Pinellas County and was held on the grounds of the museum each week for the past five years.
Market Manager Barb Haley said the new location is quiet compared to the old one at the corner of Belcher and Curlew roads.
“I don’t have to listen to motorcycles, Ferraris, ambulances, fire trucks and police cars anymore,” she said. “The traffic just flies down both those roads.”
Pop Stansell Park is just a few skips away from historic downtown Palm Harbor. It is located two blocks west of Alt. U.S. 19 on Florida Avenue. It offers more amenities over the former location. The park has a playground for children, covered band stage, picnic shelters and rest room facilities. The park is nestled on the quiet waters of Sutherland Bayou, where a fishing pier (temporarily closed) and boat ramp are available. An ocean breeze and shady palms and pines make a visit to the park tolerable during hot summer months.
Haley said the old market location was close to its surrounding neighborhood and had established regular customers. The park, however, has enough room for about 25 vendors.
“This is one area where people really get out, ride their bikes and walk,” she said.
Although the market is no longer held on museum grounds, it still supports the efforts of the Hartley House. Proceeds help maintain the museum and its grounds while community volunteers help vendors set up booth displays. Vendor rental space is $20 per week or $70 per month.
Sisters Mary Kay Oney and Kathy Gonya operate Sweet Ida Mae’s Bakery, a mobile bakery rehabbed from a 1985 Ohio bomb squad truck. The sisters bake breads, cupcakes, cookies, chocolates and soft pretzel buns from their cottage home kitchen. The sisters, who appeared on Bay News 9 in March, said they miss the museum grounds but like the park.
“It’s peaceful,” Oney said. “People come in their golf carts and they’re spenders – they’re buying big-time.”
The sisters have already established new repeat customers and are starting to take orders for the week ahead.
Smoothie girl Tomeka Oliver, who lives in St. Petersburg, sells performance-enhancing smoothies at both the market on Sunday and the Azalea Market on Saturday, which is located at the Science Center of Pinellas in St. Petersburg. Oliver serves free samples of a super green energizer smoothie made from kale, apples, bananas and wheat grass.
A sweet and savory addition to the market is Frivolous Fruit Products. Partners Charles Cox and Alan Feivelson create handmade jams, jellies and pickles from their licensed, professional kitchen in Largo. Most, if not all, recipes used to make the 22 flavors are at least 150 years old. The recipes come from great aunts and grandmothers who made jams, jellies and chutneys using only fresh farm ingredients. Likewise, no dyes or preservatives are used in any Frivolous Fruit Products.
“Charlie and I have taken old recipes that people have given us and we have recreated the way jams, chutneys and pickles should taste,” Feivelson said.
Three different types of apples – Fuji, Gala and Red Delicious – are used to make Adam’s Apple Jam, which can be used as a pie filling. Rita’s 3 Fruit Marmalade is made with pink grapefruit, navel oranges and sour lemons. The marmalade can be used on breakfast toast or as an accompaniment to a chicken or fishmeal. For an exotic taste of Indian cuisine, Virg’s Plum-Rhubarb Chutney is a must-try with the added flavors of jalapeno, peppers, ginger, cardamom and lime.
“The response we’re getting is really exciting,” Feivelson said. “It’s a lot of work but people are coming back. They’re buying five and six jars – last week, someone bought one of everything.”
Creative Director Trina Messano also uses natural ingredients in her “Doggie Cakes” or biscuit treats for dogs. Messano, who lives in New Port Richey, has been baking dog treats since 2007. She joined the market when it reopened in the park.
“We do a lot of dog events and we were looking for a more permanent location,” Messano said. “We heard they were restarting the market. I think it will be well established for when the snowbirds come back.”
At the urging of some customers, Messano has recently started making extra-large biscuits for large breed dogs. She makes the biscuits from flour, peanut butter, bacon, fruit, carob chips and granola in shapes of bones, brownies and fortune cookies. Messano also makes dog and cat beds from recycled sweaters. Visit www.DoggieCakes.com to view a selection of items for sale.
The market will restart its pet adoption program in the fall. It brings in rescued dogs from animal shelters that are scheduled to be euthanized. Rescue Pet Adoption volunteers provide veterinary care, shots, flea treatments and certificates for all dogs that are placed in a household. In the past, the market and nonprofit agency have placed nearly 70 dogs in Palm Harbor and surrounding area homes.
The Cross Roads Farmers Market is open every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Live music is also featured. A variety of vendors sell fresh produce, honey, jewelry and more.
For more information, call the North Pinellas Historical Museum at 724-3054.