Local Chef Supporting Local Farmers and Producers at Carmel Farmers Market

3.5/5 - (2 votes)

May 2021

The Carmel Farmers Market (CFM) opened its annual summer market on May 1 with outstanding success and about double the attendance of opening day last year. For me personally, returning to the market marked my physical return to my Carmel community and provided a sense of prepandemic “normal.” I walked the market with Vivante French Eatery’s Executive Head Chef Joseph Hsu who was eager to return to his Saturday morning shopping routine. Chef Hsu believes in supporting local farmers and producers and shared his appreciation for having fresh and reliable sources just a few yards from his kitchen.

A Local Restaurant Supporting Carmel’s Local Farmers Market

As we walked through the market, Chef Hsu was greeted by practically every vendor we passed. One of our stops was to pick up fresh honeycombs from Eagle Creek Apiary. Chef Hsu shared that if he’s planning something special for the menu, he can walk right over to the market and hand select his ingredients. He has established relationships with several of CFM’s vendors who supply Vivante with some of their kitchen’s food staples. For example, vendors like Becker Farms provide Chef Hsu with eggs, bacon and sausage that the restaurant uses every day.

Supporting Carmel Farmers Market

“It’s not [just] about the products,” Chef Hsu shared. “You get to meet the producers and learn about their back stories—like I just learned a little bit more about the honey and what else [Eagle Creek Apiary] does. You can feel the passion that [the vendors] put into their work.”

Both Vivante French Eatery and Hotel Carmichael believe in building partnerships with local farmers and producers and have been working with CFM vendors since opening their doors.

Supporting Carmel Farmers Market

“We find reliable products and sources like Indie Coffee Roasters,” Chef Hsu said. “We use their coffee at the restaurant and the hotel. We use Groomsville Popcorn [relatives of the My Dad’s Sweet Corn family] as garnish, and we’ll be using their popcorn as one of the snacks over at Feinstein’s [club]. We use Tulip Tree Creamery’s Trillium, Nettle [cheeses] and a couple of other different products from them. And as the season progresses, the selection of products [at the market] will continue to grow.”

Supporting Carmel Farmers Market

A Return to a Prepandemic Market Vibe

CFM President Ron Carter shared that they had 3,400—up from last year’s 1,700— visitors on opening day, complete with perfect weather and an impressive flyover to kick off the start of the season.

“It was wonderful,” Carter expressed. “Everything worked out really well, and I think both the vendors and guests were pleased. From our point of view, it was a really exciting and fulfilling start to the season. We’re pleased that so many people in the community have been responding so positively and have come back to the market. There’s a sense of electricity in the air, and people are glad to be able to [safely] become reacquainted with their neighbors and friends. And of the most gratifying things for us [the volunteers] is to be able to interact with so many of the people that come to the markets on a regular basis. We’re very pleased with our lineup of vendors and welcome our new vendors to the market. They’re all outstanding farmers and producers.”

Making a comeback after a decade, Carter is thrilled to have apple dumplings back in the mix at the market, provided by McClure’s Orchard.

“I’m so glad they’re back at the market,” Carter enthused. “We haven’t had [apple] dumplings for almost a decade, and now that they’re back, they have become my Saturday morning breakfast again!”

For a complete list of vendors, visit carmelfarmersmarket.com. And remember—“Get fresh on Saturday”!

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