NEW PORT RICHEY — Traffic is picking up at Tasty Tuesdays, the New Port Richey Library's weekly organic market, held in the center courtyard between the library and City Hall.
While steadfast vendors were able to hold their own through the summer months with offerings of cukes, tomatoes, summer squash, eggplant and other handmade sundries, the annual post-Thanksgiving snowbird bump and Florida's ongoing cool-season harvests bring a boost for local organic gardeners.
"Our season really starts with the people that come for the winter," said Cindy Cadle, a New Port Richey resident who sells vegetables and fruit that she and her husband, Don, harvest on land they own in Madison County.
While organically grown vegetables are a definite draw, the market also features 17 to 18 regular vendors selling micro-greens, honey, gluten-free baked goods, fresh eggs, poultry and handmade medicinal soaps, as well as the blueberry preserves that New Port Richey urban gardening guru Jim Kovaleski brought back from his summer spent farming in Maine.
Add to that spontaneous food demonstrations utilizing fruits, vegetables and other items sold at the market.
"We're showing what can be made with what's on hand," said associate library director Ann Scott. "Things like soups, salads or maybe a blueberry pie made from raw blueberries and persimmons."
Among the recent offerings on Cadle's table — bok choy, radish greens, peppers, persimmons, eggplant, a lettucelike green called Tokyo Bekana and a bin chock-full of shiitake mushrooms.
The mushrooms have been five years in the making, said Cadle.
"I finally got it figured out," she said with a smile. "There's no mistakes in gardening — only experiments."
Contact Michele Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MicheleMiller52.