Farmers market prepares for third season

 PHOTO PROVIDED    Ian and Dan Hunter of Judy’s Jungle sold plants, herbs, fresh eggs, jams and pickles canned on the farm at the Englewood United Methodist Church farmers market last year. This season’s market is set to begins from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 16, and will run the second and fourth Saturday every month through April.

PHOTO PROVIDED
Ian and Dan Hunter of Judy’s Jungle sold plants, herbs, fresh eggs, jams and pickles canned on the farm at the Englewood United Methodist Church farmers market last year. This season’s market is set to begins from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 16, and will run the second and fourth Saturday every month through April.

ENGLEWOOD — Diane and Jack Boyer bring more than business to the Englewood United Methodist Church farmers market. They also bring a sense of family.

Rosalie Levi, who’s been participating in the market for two years, helps manage Nino’s Bakery in Punta Gorda, a family-run business for six generations.

“I’m very excited to be a part of this again,” Levi said. “Diane approached me at another market I was doing two years ago. She’s a wonderful and godly person.”

Kat Padgett, an independent director and trainer at the Pampered Chef in Port Charlotte, has been with the EUMC market since it began three years ago. The Pampered Chef specializes in home parties and selling kitchen gadgets online.

“I’ve done several of the vendor events, and I enjoy the farmers market because it’s done in the right spirit,” Padgett said. “Her market is helping others and the mission of the church.”

Padgett credits Diane Boyer with helping to promote other businesses and the market; running it in conjunction with the EUMC pancake breakfast.

“Diane will make sure we’re taken care of,” Padgett said. “My mission is to get clients. After the first year, I’ve been getting lines for my tent. People are buying stuff from my table faster than I can replenish.”

Levi and Padgett said their business tends to peak when seasonal residents start coming in the fall.

“There are customers that will request special breads. Like, in October, we do pumpkin bread, muffins, pies, loafs,” Levi said.

“Starting in November, we get a huge increase until March/April,” Padgett said. “The snowbirds really drive the market. January/February are my best months.”

Padgett said while seasonal residents account for more business than local customers, she hopes to see an increase from her local base.

“The purpose for me is to get more contacts, and I like to get more locals, because they’re my neighbors and here year-round,”

Levi and Padgett also credit the ambience provided by musician Garry Dilley, who’s been providing entertainment since the market started.

“I think Diane and her husband Jack do a good job — putting a lot of time into it — and the vendors are good Christians,” Dilley said. “I provide some southern and classic rock, Christian, reggae, country and smooth jazz. I try to help people navigate and promote the different vendors.”

Diane Boyer, market manager, said all proceeds from the market go to funding the missions of the church, local and abroad.

“We have normally around 20 vendors,” she said. “We have a bunch of food vendors and artists who sell work, including jewelry, bakeries, quilted bags and purses, pet products, homegrown vegetables and herbs, canned jellies and preserves, Tupelo honey, pickles, soaps and scents. We might have a chain saw artist, who also specializes in produce. It’s just a fine atmosphere.”

The church is located at 700 E. Dearborn St. The market begins from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 16, and runs the second and fourth Saturday of each month through April 2014.

For more information, visit http://www.englewoodumc.net/The_Farmer_s_ Market.php, or call 941-474-5588.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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