Since the opening of Oakland Park's highly lauded Funky Buddha Brewery, we've been eagerly awaiting more news of culinary progress.
Fortunately, that moment has come. The first step of the urban farm park has recently been implemented; the Urban Farmer has set up its farmers market in Jaco Pastorius Park, just steps from the brewery.
About two weeks ago, the new covered patio market rolled open its doors to community supported agriculture (CSA) members and the general public.
Open every Friday from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., it sells a wide range of locally grown produce from small farmers in Palm Beach and Dade counties, free-range eggs and chickens, honey, and yogurt.
"You can't always be sure where the food is coming from at many farmers markets, unless you really get to know the individual farmer," says Stephen Hill of the Urban Farmer. "We'll always tell you where our food comes from. Right now we have a lot of summer stuff, like lychees, mangos, and some of the best okra in the world, but we'll be back to regular seasonal items very soon."
The market is the first component of the larger farm park scheme that will be phased in as city construction progresses.
In October the Urban Farming Institute, the educational branch of the organization, will begin offering classes in the same building that hosts the market. Hill is hoping the farm park, which includes commercial hydroponic growing systems and a community garden for the public, will be up and running by the end of this year.
"We're hoping by January at the latest," he says. "Hopefully, in time for the spring season."
Once all the elements are functioning, the organization will be providing gardening classes, available through the city, a garden in which to grow, actual urban farm, and a market that will sell produce straight from the property as well as other local farms.
"We're taking land that didn't have anything on it; it was empty," says Hill. "Our goal is to take vacant land and put it to another use. It's healthy for the community, not just on a bodily level, but it's also fixing it through local jobs, the economy, and beautification."
Jaco Pastorius Park is located at 3407 N. Dixie Highway in Oakland Park. Call 954-586-6686, or visit theurbanfarmerflorida.com.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.