The nimbus clouds hung low and dark. They loomed over the the local merchants' tents as their tarps flapped violently with each gust of wind. At 5 p.m. the main downpour had passed or, at least, everyone hoped it had. It was the first night of the Tuesday Oakland Park Farmers' Market.
As part of newly launched Oakland Park Culinary District, the Urban Farming Institute and the City of Oakland Park have teamed together to host the farmers' market from 3 to 8 p.m. every Tuesday in the lot on the southwest corner of NE 38th Street and Dixie Highway.
The tablecloths were soaked, the ground was wet, but everyone stayed optimistic. The vendors lined up, rearranged their unique locally sourced foods, and kept a smile as the people of Oakland Park strolled in.
"We just want to create a fun spot for people to go on a Tuesday and raise awareness to the new culinary district and to local food," says Stephen Hill of the Urban Farmer. "The market will definitely be an alternative to a weekend market. Not everybody shops on the weekend, and I hope it will become a fun event for cool evenings out in Oakland Park."
Since October, the Urban Farming Institute has been offering classes -- anything from hydroponic systems to planting a community garden -- at Jaco Pastorius Park. It is run by the same family behind the Urban Farmer, who throw their own market every Friday and Saturday on the covered patio at Jaco Pastorius Park. They have a community-sourced agriculture (CSA) program and sell locally sourced produce for the general public.