Audubon Park Community Market, Winter Park, Fla.: Locally Oriented Treats

The Audubon Park Community Market can be found nestled away in the Winter Park suburbs on Monday nights (from 6 to 10 p.m.). Featuring a small collection of locally oriented food vendors and farmers, this is a fairly new (2009) market to the central Florida green market scene. It overflows with education and flavorful offerings.

The community market is situated on a parking lot in front of the Stardust Video and Coffee Café (with vegan vegetarian options). The café clientele consists of 20-something students, who are patrons of both the market and the restaurant. In fact, there is such a symbiotic relationship that customers who buy food outside at the market are encouraged to eat their selections at tables inside the restaurant.

I sought out the Audubon Park Community Market after a conversation with Trish Strawn of Deep Creek Ranch (who sells grass-fed beef at the market). I was amazed how small yet diverse it was. There were jewelry makers, farmers, and food vendors all from Florida. I didn’t get a chance to visit with them all.

I spoke to Cinthia Sandoval, Marketing Director of Wild Ocean Seafood Market about the company that started in Port Canaveral with just one type of seafood, Florida Rock Shrimp. Sandoval says she uses the Audubon Park Market more for local Florida seafood education purposes than sales. She says Wild Ocean Seafood Market delivers seafood to south Florida restaurants on Wednesdays. Sandoval adds central Florida farms (Deep Creek Ranch, Heart Of Christmas, and Lake Meadow Naturals) get to piggy back on the deliveries as long as their customers buy something from Wild Ocean Seafood Market. I bought some frozen de-shelled rock shrimp ($12/lb). Several days later, my husband cooked the shrimp in a white wine garlic sauce…yum.

I talked to Richard Kann, owner of Heart of Christmas Farms (Christmas, FL), a hydroponic organic-growing-methods contract-grower farm. They grow specific crops for chefs, restaurants, and other contract clientele. They have a wide variety of vegetables and herbs, like 26 varieties of micro-greens. Kann also sells raw-milk products (cow and goat) labeled “For Pet Consumption Only.” I bought a quart of vanilla flavored drinkable yogurt ($5), and a pound of sweet raw-milk butter ($10). I never knew butter could taste so good.

I chatted with self-taught chocolatier (and musician) DiViNCI who makes vegan-vegetarian confections with the affectionate title Deez. I inhaled Deez Fudge: creamy peanut butter fudge ($2). And fell in love with Deez Balls: truffles made with peanut butter ganache center, crunchy outer shell, dipped in rich chocolate ($1). He shares a table with vegan baker Alexandrah of Love is Love, who cooks brilliantly delicious vegan cookies and cupcakes. I loved her chocolate-chip cookies with maple syrup frosting ($1 each).

The Audubon Park Community Market, sponsored by Ourlando (a non-profit dedicated to promoting locally owned and operated businesses in the Orlando) is the market style of the future.

Public parking lot nearby and lots of street parking on Corrine Drive after 6 p.m. For more parking information go to www.audubonparkmarket.com/

Located: 1842 East Winter Park Road, Orlando, FL 32803
Hours: Monday 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. (approx.)