Enjoying St. Pete

In late December, W & I headed South to spend some time in St. Petersburg, Florida.  We went down with family who highly recommended the city.  While we spent most of the vacation sitting on the beach or by the pool, we make time on Saturday to wander around downtime and spend some time at the Saturday Morning Market as we are fans of farmer’s markets and we’d heard lovely things.

The market was amazing.  Every type of produce you could imagine was available for purchase.  The colors were almost overwhelming.  I was so tempted to buy, but we were leaving the next day and I knew most of it wouldn’t survive the drive home.

We did make time while there to eat.  Aside from all the fruits, veggies, breads and pasta, there were a large number of stalls selling prepared foods.  Again, the variety was amazing.  Beyond the typical things you would expect, there were empanadas, flat breads, Thai food, crepes and Ethiopian.

The other side of the market is full of craft stalls and clothing shops with performers at various intervals around the exterior.  I fell in love with a sustainably focused booth that was selling palm frond hats (one may have come home with me).  There were gorgeous terrariums and yummy canned goods.

After we finished wandering, we drove around the corner to the Brocante Vintage Market. It is 15,000 sqft filled with vintage goodies.  It opens for one weekend once a month and we just happened to pick the perfect weekend.  I adored the chair and side table above, but we ended up taking home only a few gifts.

We’ve seen amazing photos of the street art downtime and know there were so many places on our list we didn’t get to see.  Our time there was so short, we can’t wait to go back.

From the Road: Forsythia & Fried Green Tomatoes

Forsyth Georgia is a quaint town midway between Atlanta & Macon.  Every year, on the second weekend in March,  the good folks of Forsyth celebrate the coming of Spring with the aptly named Forsythia festival.  Artist and crafters setup around the beautiful downtown courthouse as folks from the surrounding area come out to enjoy food, fun and hopefully some good weather (this year was picture perfect!).

 

Pets weren’t allowed but somehow this little fella slipped in (yes, that is a pet goat)!

 

 

If you know us at all, you know that we like to seek out good food wherever we go.  While Forsyth isn’t necessarily a culinary mecca (no dissin’ here, they do have a couple of nice restaurants downtown) I did stumble on an interesting eatery in the small town of Juliette, a few miles away.  For anyone who remembers the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, you will recall the central role that the Whistle Stop cafe played in the film.  The building had actually been a general store that was converted just for the movie. After the movie was made, the owner decided to keep the cafe and to serve up the southern favorites made famous in the movie.

 

 

Here is a basket of the famous fried green tomatoes with the obligatory mason jar of sweet tea!

 

 

Here is the pit where the “special ingredient” was added to the bone sauce (and yes, he totally deserved it!).

 

 

The rest of Juliette is an homage to the movie with numerous shops dedicated to Idgie & Ruth.  If you enjoyed Fried Green Tomatoes and you enjoy good southern food, it is worth a little detour to check out this piece of cinematic history.

 

 

Update: We received an email from a customer that the original Whistlestop Cafe that was the inspiration for the book is actually the Irondale Cafe in Alabama.  “They’ve been serving up fried green tomatoes for decades, and the cafe sits right by the railroad tracks. Fannie Flagg wrote the book, and she is from Alabama.”  Thanks for sharing!

(Not So) Local Eats: The Atlanta Underground Market

A few weeks ago we visited Atlanta with my parents so my dad could dive with the sharks at the aquarium.  It was his birthday wish and we were more than happy to oblige.

Before leaving I happened to get an email that the Atlanta Underground Market was the same weekend.  What luck!  I had attended once before, but Wayne had never been, so I signed him up and we were on our way. Continue reading

Wrap Up: LAAFF

LAAFF 2011

And so, our love affair with Asheville continues.  This weekend we had the pleasure of vending at the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival (LAAFF).  It was the first time for us, and the 10th year for them. I must say that it was the most fun we’ve had in quite some time.   As usual, I made the rounds and took tons of pictures to share. Continue reading

Fun along the way: The Scrap Exchange

I’ve been in Chapel Hill for the past four days for classes at UNC.  I decided while I was there I would make time to have a little fun.  I spent a couple of hours on Monday wandering around the Scrap Exchange in Durham.  I heard about it a while ago from SweetGumHandbags when I purchased one of her adorable bags on Etsy.  She said it was one of her favorite places in the world and I truly believe it.  The place is every crafter’s dream.  Best of all, it’s full of reclaimed materials.  Their mission is “to promote creativity, environmental awareness, and community through reuse.”  How wonderful is that?

As if the entrance wasn’t intriguing enough….

….you come inside to find barrels upon barrels of goodies.  They have a ton of purchase options.  You can buy individually from the barrels or you can purchase the contents by the bag.  The bag cost varies by size, but all of them are remarkably cheap for what you’re getting.  Once I started digging and finding tons of good stuff, I decided the bag route was the way to go.

You name it and they probably have it.  From the mudane to the wild.  I walked around gawking with a silly grin on my face.  As crazy as I looked, they were still kind enough to let me take some pictures.

My favorite (of course) was the fabric scraps.  I picked up I don’t know how many different patterns, colors, and types of fabric.  Not sure what I’m going to do with it all, but as the lady at the register reminded me, that’s the fun part.  🙂

More misc stuff including old dress patterns, vintage magazines, etc:

One side of the store was filled with shelves labeled to describe the wares they contained.  For example, one shelf was labeled “scientific.”

I laughed when I walked up to this sign (click on the pic to see a larger image):

I had so much fun taking in all the items for sale and imaging what I (or more likely others) could do with it all.  I walked away with two bags of fabric scraps to play with as soon as I have time.

Many thanks to SweetGumHandbags for sharing the find.  I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

Something Old and Something New

Over the weekend, W and I attended the Mountain Farm Tour with David and Tina.  We always enjoy coming together with other like-minded folk on the tours.  This year we visited a few new farms that are noteable: Flying Cloud and Gladheart.  W was particularily fond of the blueberries we picked at Flying Cloud and the Peach Yerba Mate they were kind enough to share at Gladheart.  I loved watching the goat milking and seeing Gladheart’s impressive biodiesel operation.   We managed to see goats galore over the weekend and even saw an angora goat for the first time.  They are wild looking!

Flying Cloud Farm

Flying Cloud Farm

Lessons learned: we can likely get by with less than 10 acres and be just fine.  In fact, we learned that two people can manage 2-3 acres in full production.  Anything over that seems to require the assistance of interns or generous friends.  Hoop houses seem to be the way to go in extending the growing season and increasing yield per acre.

Firefly Farm Hoop House

Firefly Farm Hoop House

I was particularily aware of the different atmosphere of each farm.  Some are hippy-driven, communal living situations where people seem to want to just live happily off the land.  Others are family-based businesses which are still warm and fuzzy feeling, but definitely driven to succeed.  Lastly, there are farms that are pure business.  There is an obvious concern and passion for sustainable living, but the farm is their job. They are keenly aware that it is their livelihood, and needs to be treated appropriately.  I am personally drawn to the communal living situation and the idea of living sustainably for ourselves regardless of profit whereas W is drawn to the latter situation and wants to farm in order to retire.  I hope somewhere along the way we can manage to find a happy medium.

Gladheart Yurt

Gladheart Yurt

All in all we had two very enjoyable days with new friends and old acquantinces.

Mountain Farm "Kid Barn"

Mountain Farm "Kid Barn"

Dancing & Drumming

I had the lovely opportunity to take K to see Asheville & (of particular interest to me) the Drum Circle.  I could literally watch for hours and hours.  All ages, colors, & sizes are represented.  I stopped counting as the 30th drummer arrived.  The sound is so infectious…it makes you want to get up and move.   Here’s a snippet shot on my Cannon Powershot (please forgive the quality).