Not wanting to make the trek down to St Pete, we decided to check out the nearby Dunedin Green Market on this fine “Shop Local” Saturday, the day after “Buy Nothing Day,” formerly known as Black Friday.

Immediately upon arriving we noticed the happy smiling faces so often seen at these sorts of weekend markets but this one seemed a bit different from the big markets I’ve been getting used to lately – it was smaller.

Aaah… What a breath of fresh air. Gone were the big crowds so often present in Tampa and St Pete but some of the same vendors were selling their wares.

While there was a very good turn out considering the size of the market, it was so nice to be able to walk around and not get bumped into by other shoppers at every turn. For once I was able to spend just a little more time with each of the vendors I spoke to.

We started our day like we start all our market days, by eating of course.

While I was busy jabbering away about the benefits of supporting local commerce, my companion kept looking over my shoulder at something behind me. Assuming it was a dog or something, I kept talking only to realize once I had finished and he jumped up like there was a fire in his pants, that what he’d actually been staring at was Paulie O’s Italian Gourmet tent and the meatballs on sticks that were coming out of it. I was a little peeved at his distracted listening skills until I actually tasted a meatball myself.

I can’t even describe these things. First off, they’re enormous, and secondly, the sauce is absolutely amazing. They call it their “old world recipe.” I call ‘awesome sauce party in my mouth.’ Apparently I wasn’t the only one having a party. Those meatballs sold like hot cakes all day.

(photo courtesy of Paulie’s website)


Once we had our fill of meatballs, we leisurely strolled around for a bit, taking pix and talking to folks.



I spent some time talking about lovely Florida beach photography with Tom from ‘Photos by Tom’- tomyetter@juno.com.


Enjoyed some jams at Lid’s Jams and Jellies

Got all bent out of shape at Twisted Mind Rusty Metal.

Spoke with Sindy Todd from of the Earth in Palm Harbor. Sindy features fantastic all natural hand woven baskets for the holidays.

The Soap Lady makes these fabulous smelling soaps.

And Eden’s Nectar sweetened things up with their seasonal local raw honey.




After all that, we were ready to eat yet again and the choices were vast…


The guy that runs the Original Nut Hut, featuring famous sweet glazed pecans, almonds, cashews, and p- nuts, is a nut himself. Check out his nutty shirt.

I <3 it almost as much as I <3 his nuts! (No dirty jokes from the p-nut gallery please).

The Edible Plant Store has, you guessed it – edible plants including heirloom and open pollinated vegetable varieties, unique and unusual tropical fruit trees, edible landscaping plants, and vintage roses.

Personally, I love giving people plants as gifts for the holidays. That way, every time they see your plant (which could be for many years!), they’ll think of you warmly. <3


Speaking of gifts, Organic Sweetness provided me with some tasty gifts for the holidays. One free taste and I was hooked.

I ended up buying the roasted garlic, hawaiian black lava, and their german rock sugar, all of which came in cute little decorative glass jars, perfect for holiday gifts. We found out just how potent the garlic was the next night putting a bit in our dinner – Whew, now that’s real garlic! Garlic is one of my favorite foods on the planet but next time we’ll have to remember that a little goes a long way.


Lastly as everyone was closing up shop, I stumbled upon Pirate Jonny’s caribbean BBQ rubs & seasonings. Talk about tasty! If I wouldn’t have run out of dough and if my camera battery had lasted, I would have bought some more holiday gifts from them and taken pictures. Fortunately they were nice enough to send me this pic:


If you find yourself up in Dunedin at any point, I highly recommend the Green Market on Saturday. It’s a great relaxing way to spend a lovely Florida Saturday morning and another fantastic way to support your local community.

Lastly, as the holiday season comes upon us, let us all remember that the holidays aren’t about how much money you spend or what flashy toys you were able to buy your kids. It’s about spending quality time with family and friends if you’re lucky enough to have them, and appreciating what you’ve already got.

If you do want to buy a few gestures of appreciation for your loved ones, be sure to make smart purchases, putting your money back into your local community where it counts.

Every time you want to save 20 cents by buying something from a big corporation who’s main motivation is profit at nearly any cost, you’re feeding into a system that doesn’t care about you or your children. When you shop local, sure it may cost a tiny bit more, but there’s a grateful face on the other side of the counter who’s life you’ve just helped to improve in a really tangible way.

Season’s Greetings from Local Flavor!!

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The day after Thanksgiving…

Swarms of people fight their way through swarms of more people just to get their hands on a slightly discounted cheap piece of plastic made in China that will end up in a landfill (along with it’s plastic bag) by next year.

It’s a strange custom and indicative of the throw-away, instant gratification society we’ve become.

Personally, crowds make me a bit angsty so every year for me is “Don’t buy anything Friday” but this year it seems I may not be alone. There are several reasons for this:

1.) Um… everyone’s broke.
2.) People are starting to wake up to the fact that disposable junk is exactly that.
3.) People are starting to wake up to the fact that most corporations will do absolutely anything to get our money.

4.) People are starting to wake up to the fact that those corporations then use our money to buy off lobbyists and politicians

to pass laws in their favor so they can maximize profits and avoid paying taxes and continue to keep doing anything and everything to get more of your money to use to pay politicians to pass laws so they can get more of your money to use to pay politicians

to pass laws so they can make more money to pay politicians to pass laws so they can take more of our money, and on and on, until their CEO’s are dining on fried endangered species souffle’ on a veranda in Monte Carlo somewhere, washing it down with rare fermented 17th century grapes grown on the backs of the peasants below (that would be us).


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We can continue to squabble over the crumbs they let ‘trickle down’ to us or we can choose not to partake in this kooky corporate consumerist custom and instead begin working to build a new conscious model of spending and living, which brings me to my favorite reason people have decided not to shop on Friday this year…

5.) We’re actually boycotting it in lieu of something much better and far less crowded.


Welcome to “Don’t buy anything Friday and it’s perky cousin, Shop small Saturday!


Hooray for two new holidays we can finally get behind!!

……………………………………………………………………………………………


Ok, so you’ve agreed to cut out the Friday mayhem this year and you keep hearing about this ‘shopping local’ thing but maybe you don’t understand exactly what that means or why it’s so important

Click here to read this and you will…


That said, i say get out and do something active that doesn’t require money on Friday

and then Saturday, hit up your local street market.



Open air markets are so much more nowdays than just produce. There’s all sorts of fun goodies and unique holiday gifts for everyone.

The best part is that these items are locally made (read: in America, hence, keeping jobs here), usually by hand, with love and purpose.

By purchasing these sorts of goods, you are not only giving back to your community by stimulating your local economy, you’re giving a big tangible thumbs down to the machine that continues to fund all sorts of lawmakers and policies not meant to support the average working american.

Corporations exist solely for profit, so speak to them in the only language they know – Money.



Don’t think there’s a market near you?

Think again…

The USDA actually provides a pretty fantastic search by zip code so you can find out exactly where and when the closest one to you might be – HERE

If you’re in Tampa, check out the downtown market near Gaslykes Park (Fridays):

If you’re in Dunedin, check out the Green Market, Saturdays near Pioneer Park:

Lastly, if you’re in St Pete, of course check out the Saturday morning market

I visited the St Pete market last weekend for the first time in a long time and was pleasantly surprised to see how they’ve grown.

I picked out a few great holiday gift ideas just to share and as you can see, took lots of pix as well…

There were beautiful orchids:

Secret spices:

Awesome fruit trees:

Wonderful smelling soaps:

Gorgeous hand tinted fabrics:

Adorable holiday ornaments and festive figurines:

Creative uses of clay:

Vertical gardens that water themselves!

Salt scrubs and smiling faces:

And all sorts of other uniquely random gift ideas:

Oh, and how could i forget? The food was delicious (and i ate way too much of it)!

Check out the links here to find websites for many of the vendors. Some allow you to order on-line too.

My Garden Products

Sassy Serving Designs

Edible Plant Store

Mark Noll Designs

Creative Clay

Abike Natural

Beachy Wreaths

3 Hip Chicks


My absolute favorite gift idea (that would be because it’s what I’M asking Santa for this year;) was the mini-batch composter.

For $35 in just three weeks, you can turn your food waste into fertile rich soil for your garden to grow more veggies with to use to turn into more soil to grow more veggies with to turn into more soil….(you get the idea).

Who knew the cycle of life could be so fun and quick!! ;)

And of course don’t forget these kitschy prints for your kitchen by Creative Loafing’s own, Shanna Gillette (shameless self plug) of Sasha Rae Photo make awesome holiday gifts!

Also, for more crafts, this just in: Check out Studio 620 Saturday Dec 3 for Craft Heroes.

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So this Saturday and every day, shop small, shop local, and shop proud. Keep your local community alive!

2 million people already have!!

“We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered. A nation can flounder as readily in the face of moral and spiritual bankruptcy as it can through financial bankruptcy.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, April, 1967

Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving, remember to give thanks to those who make you happy!!

-Local Flavor Productions

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I’m smiling from ear to ear!!

November 26, 2011 has been declared “Small Business Saturday” – a day to shop smart by shopping small and local!!

.

(Ok, so American Express is sponsoring it. But it’s a great start;)

We really can make a difference. If enough people take part in this simple action, we can make an impact and visibly demonstrate support for our local communities.

Money talks! Put it where it can be heard!!

Shop small – Buy local – this Nov 26 and always!!

Love,

Local Flavor Productions

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Creative Loafing recently featured one of our photos from the Bluebird Books shoot with owner Mitzi Gordon.

Check it out! HERE

<3!
Sasha Rae Photo & Local Flavor Productions

Local Flavor attended the very first Tampa food truck rally of 2011

As promised, here are a few pix:

Turn-out was spectacular…

and lines were long…

But that didn’t stop folks from enjoying tasty treats from

Juicy Jugos

Fat Tortillas

The Killer Samich truck

Wicked Wiches

The newly named Sinful Pleasures

Nelly Nel’s mobile grill

Fire Monkey Food truck

And of course,
Michelle Faedo’s on the Go

Todd Sturtz from Tasting Tampa and Creative Loafing, as well as Michael Blasco from 352 Media Group did an amazing job putting it all together quickly and already have a second Tampa food truck fest scheduled for Oct. 22!

If you missed the first one or turned back due to the huge crowd, this one is going to be much larger so lines should be far more reasonable. It will be from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. in Seminole Heights at 300 E. Sligh Ave. There will be 25 trucks or more in addition to the added space and temperatures promise to be much more tolerable this go around.

Are you in St Pete and wondering why you haven’t had one yet? Well, apparently you’re not the only one.

Organizers say they even had a church offer up their grounds and offer volunteers to work it.
When it got right up to the final planning stages, suddenly the city of St Pete decided it would not be allowed.

Once again, Local Flavor stumbles upon yet another city set in it’s old ways…

Not to worry. There’s something you can do!

If you live in St Pete (or just like supporting Local Flavor style businesses) go to Fire Monkey Food Truck’s Facebook page and sign their petition. They need to get at least 2,000 digital signatures before they go back to the city (again) to “beg to be able to sell food just like every other legitimate, legal, licensed, inspected food establishment in the city.” (Thanks Todd;)

In the meantime, word on the street is that Tampa will now be holding food truck rallies Every Month!!

That’s one small step for local flavor business and one giant leap toward a local flavor future.

See you at Saturday’s rally!

<3
LFP

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Having spent the last couple years living in Austin, TX and Los Angeles, CA, I was quite used to seeing food trailers and trucks of all sorts all the time. When I moved back to the Tampa Bay area, it took a little while to find them as they’re quite spread out, but I was very pleased to see a small but quickly expanding Local Flavor scene here as well.

Wicked Wiches‘ sweet potato chips were so delish…

Freshley’s serves up lunch for the Tampa crowd.

3 Ballers gets their name from the 3 different types of delectable dessert balls owner Stephanie Barr makes. Word on the street is that this food trailer is soon to receive a make-over and a new name: Sinful Pleasures Dessert Co. – just in time for the Tampa food truck rally!

Update:  I was fortunate enough to be assigned to shoot the Tampa Food Truck Rally for Creative Loafing.
Turn out, much like the “Gypsy Picnic” food trailer festival in Austin, was amazing….So Amazing in fact, that lines wrapped around each other and many of the trailers ran out of food. Apparently there are a lot more food trucks in Tampa than anyone ever knew!
(Pix coming soon:)
If you tried to attend the rally and crowds were too much for you, not to worry. A second bigger & better Tampa food truck rally is already scheduled for Oct 22 with more space and even more trucks!

Lastly, this week’s featured Local Flavor-ite is Mitzi Gordon with Bluebird Books.
Blue Bird is housed within a converted short bus which she has affectionately coined ‘Beatrice.’ Mitzi calls the big blue bus a “mobile station of inspiration; one part vintage bookstore and one part mobile art house.”

We assisted Mitzi in removing the seats from the bus not long ago…

It was a sweaty but fun challenge. The bolts holding those seats in had been in there a LONG time and in true school bus fashion, we did in fact find some fossilized chewing gum under the seats.

Blue Bird is slated for official launch in November.

Thanks for tuning in to this edition of Local Flavor Productions… And don’t forget, if you’ve got an independently owned, kitschy cool business in your town that you think we should cover, feel free to send a write-up with fun pix to: localflavorproductions@gmail.com

Lastly, as fall approaches, don’t forget:

Don’t underestimate your personal buying power.
Buy local!

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I met so many awesome people at the Hermosa Beach weekend long farmer’s market!

Here are just a few:

The Enchanted Lantern

Where I “took the handmade pledge” at BuyHandMade.org

Simple Living

And winner of the first place award for jewelry this year: David Leight with his gorgeous Leight Works jewelry.

Other great places to check out not pictured:

Amazing paintings at Ora’s Art

Unique sculptures at Bolt People

Quirky tees and such at Pineapple Princess

More gorgeous jewelry at Aquamarine Jewelry

Amazing photos at Mike Woodward Photography

Photomanipulation Art and Framing at Tony Galindo Photomanipulation Art & Framing

Kitschy jewelry designs at Twisted Temptations Jewelry

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And just in case you’re new here and wondering…

What is the “Local Flavor?”

…There’s a small but ever growing revolution taking place in cities and towns across the nation. People are taking the country back from the big box corporate chain mentality that has become the norm in recent years. With job security and career happiness at an all time low, people are taking to the streets literally in droves. They can be found in food trucks and trailers, at farmer’s markets, and in pedi-cabs. They are do-it-yourselfers. They are independent-minded. They run Mom & Pop make-shift shops. They are local-minded freelancers of all sorts and while some still maintain their 9-5′s, many more do a multitude of things to get by. They are inspiring, innovative, and infinitely interesting and their businesses make up the real flavor of a community.

They love what they do and do what they love.

They are the Local Flavor.

Do you know know of an independently owned, kitschy cool business in your town that you think we should cover?
If so, feel free to send a write-up with fun pix to: localflavorproductions@gmail.com

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Every Saturday morning at 4th & Guadalupe, Austin hosts a fantastic morning market

featuring vendors of all sorts hocking wares ranging from soap to screenprints; from sourdough to seaweed…

One of the most interesting things about all these Local Flavor style businesses are the people who operate them and the variety of ways they are forging ahead to create a new and different kind of world through their work and the local goods they produce.

Sarah Ray at Confituras is just one of those people. When she’s not helping to produce locally sourced jams, jellies, and preserves at Confituras, she’s studying electrical design and has plans to move to Montana to work on a solar farm community. Awesome!



Just next door, Imagine Lavender sells these super smellerrific soaps!

In true Local Flavor style, Julie from Imagine Lavender also makes gorgeous silver jewelry at Formplicity.


The Carlson’s keep the whole family involved with their Swede Farm Artisanal Goat Dairy. Christin is the oldest of 12 children!

Buddha’s Brew is the place to go to “awaken your energy” with their fresh, local Kombucha. Started in 2004, their teas have become so popular that they’re now sold at Whole Foods (or as I refer to it — “Whole Paycheck”) in Houston and Dallas.

Serious Sourdough is the home of “Seriously Good Gluten Free” baked goods.

Straight from the Vine features healthy soul foods.

Local Baby offers local foods from “farm fresh to bib mess.”

Austin Sea Veggies features aquaculture seaweed.

Get your Bokashi compost bin at Microbial Earth Farms .

Composting is a great way to make use of your used food scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, and more to create rich fertile soil for your garden instead of sending it off to the landfill. I have a compost bin in my yard. It’s surprisingly easy to create and pretty cool to watch the cycle of of life. Call me kooky but I love going out into the yard and turning the compost to see all the bugs and wormies converting my veggie waste into soil for my garden so i can plant and eat more veggies and use the waste to make more soil to plant more veggies to make more soil to plant more veggies to make more soil and so on and so on… Heehee!



Meanwhile in the land of cool apparel, Will Heron is an Illustrator and Screenprinter. His tees are awesome and you should totally buy one.

South Austin’s (my hood) So.A.P People have the most amazing smelling soap I’ve ever laid a nose on. I met them last year and bought some for myself and for family as gifts for the holidays. They loved it. I remember watching my little cousin walking around the X-mas tree all night literally holding the soap up to her face and inhaling like it was the greatest thing she’d ever smelled. Good thing it’s all natural.

Their motto is very south austin too:

“Strong enough for a dirty Hippy, gentle enough for a dirty CEO!”
Love it.

Be Groovy Be Green features live children’s shows and recycled art projects. They encourage children to be friendly and eco-active thru stories, songs, and play!

They’re also looking for some talented kids for their Austin Has Talent workshops. These kids are adorable!




Johnson’s Backyard Garden is a 200 acre community supported farm only fifteen miles east of downtown Austin. Over 1,000 Austinites enjoy their homegrown, organic vegetables, herbs and flowers. They deliver boxes weekly or biweekly to members at convenient neighborhood locations.



I spoke with fellow Photographer and foodie, Christian Bowers from the Austin Food Journal at Bola Pizza for some time about the local Austin scene, how he got started, etc. Much like Local Flavor and I, he started with a blog and some great pictures. These days, Bola has been keeping him so busy, he barely has time to work on the blog. Now there’s a man I can relate to!

Speaking of busy men, last but certainly not least, I ran into the man who inspired me to start all of this, my friend Andy Zubik of the Zubik House. I was there when Andy launched his food trailer in the very beginning on the east side. I offered up suggestions for decor and marketing – fancy ideas like x-mas lights and flyers, yknow…

Andy calls his food “Texas Czech” and features dishes like Czech Benedict, unique kolaches, and his famous fried strawberry.

Nowdays, the Zubik House is growing by leaps and bounds. Andy recently quit his day job to run it full time and is hoping to get into a much needed, much larger trailer soon.

Along with approximately 34 other unique local vendors in Austin, the Zubik House will also be taking part in the 2nd annual Gypsy Picnic on Oct 23, 2011. This year’s festival will be expanded to feature the Sustainable Food Center Demo Tent , a craft beer bar, live music, a market, a cook-off, Mellow Johnny’s bike station, the Prius V Creation Station and photo booth, and Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day area.

UPDATE:
Local Flavor Productions has some plans in the works to hopefully incorporate this same sort of model into the monthly food truck rally now happening in our local Tampa!! Keep checking back for more info!

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My poorly made, sweaty, first time attempt at a video. (Pardon the excessive movement!)



and more awesome Austin food trucks!



This week’s featured Local Flavor-ite is Cree with Iron Leg Pedicab. Call him at 512.696.6436 for a ride in the coolest looking pedicab in Austin, complete with X-Mas lights and a boombox. Dig it!


Next time, Local Flavor will be hitting the fantastic Saturday morning farmer’s market downtown.


Stay tuned!!

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Made it up to Baton Rouge about an hour before an enormous storm front which was predicted to send the mighty Mississippi up over it’s banks.

After spending a few minutes with the good people of Baton Rouge taking pictures of sandbags piled several feet high, I think it goes without saying that I decided not to stay long…

I found Taco De Paco just as the rain started and grabbed a yummy taco and a couple pix on my way westward back toward Austin. Once again, the folks working the truck said the next day they were due a visit from the Food Network (if the town wasn’t under water, that is).

After hearing this so many times during the journey, I started to wonder if the Food Network was actually stalking me. Probably not…

Next stop, Austin, TX – Again. This time I plan to hit the big Saturday morning farmer’s market…

Editor’s Note:  No cities or towns were harmed in the making of this blog. Baton Rouge escaped Mother Nature’s wrath unharmed.

{Are you a Photographer / Journalist with a great little ‘Local Flavor’ style, independently owned business or person in your town that you’d like to see featured here? Feel free to send your write-up and fabulous pix to localflavorproductions@gmail.com}

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