Sunday, January 20, 2013

To market, to market, to buy a fat clam

January 19, 2013
North Fort Meyers, Florida
Seminole Campground

No matter where we have traveled in the world, I love to check out the local farmer’s markets.  So it was an easy “yes” when our friends Mike and BJ asked us if we wanted to venture out with them to one of the local markets in Cape Coral—about 20 minutes away.

To make the day even more special, we started out by joining them for a hearty breakfast at the Perfect Cup Roastery and Café in Matlacha (mat’-lah-shay), a cute little artisan town on Pine Island—also about 20 minutes away. The café roasts their own coffee and offers several types of brew for customers to serve themselves. Their breakfast menu includes a variety of homemade specials like crab benedict, corned beef hash, kielbasa omelets and Greek specialties.  Great way to start the day. 

As we were leaving the café, we spotted these birds hanging out by the back parking lot of the café.

The market in Cape Coral is open every Saturday from 8-1 and is located at the Club Square in the downtown area. We were pleasantly pleased with the variety of goods for sale including local produce, bakery, fresh flowers and plants, dog treats, seafood, meats, and even a few tables with antiques and other chotskies. This market also allows pets so there was no shortage of cute pooches to look at as part of the morning entertainment.

Vic couldn’t resist saying hello to this little blue and brown eyed Australian Shepherd puppy who was soft as a lamb.

One type of plant that is often for sale at Florida markets is these air plants, also known as epiphytes.  They don’t require any soil, need very little water, and can survive temps ranging from 32-100 degrees. Because they don’t need soil, you see them in all kinds of unique containers ranging from teacups to driftwood. The ones pictured below are large but they can be small enough to fit in a small shell.

I always look for things that are local to the area. These beautiful seagrass baskets were handmade by local artisans. I am thinking about making a return trip to buy one to adorn our picnic table.

Another local flavor here was the smell of seafood cooking as you entered the market. This crab cake stand had a long line of devoted customers.

I am not sure about the Transylvania connection here, but seeing Transylvanian food offered at a market in the United States was a first for me.

We arrived back at the campground around noon with a few dollars left in our pockets. I couldn't pass up the homemade dog treats, locally grown cantaloupe, Florida sweet onions, and some zucchini. It is probably a wise practice to go the market after having a big breakfast!  I was tempted by the fresh clams but I am rather spoiled by the amazing clams from the Northwest. It did, however, inspire me to make a big pot of clam chowder for a potluck meal that night with our friends.  A good way to end our first Saturday in our new locale.

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