River Cities

Miami Springs Farmer's Market set to begin this Saturday

Like a mom nurturing a newborn, Sarah Vargas launched the Miami Springs Farmer's Market two years ago and has watched it grow with vendors and crowds as the third edition gets set to kick off this Saturday on the Circle.
Like a mom nurturing a newborn, Sarah Vargas launched the Miami Springs Farmer's Market two years ago and has watched it grow with vendors and crowds as the third edition gets set to kick off this Saturday on the Circle.

Here she comes again!

Two years after working diligently to get the Miami Springs Farmer’s Market off the ground, Sarah Vargas will launch Springs’ third installment of the event beginning this Saturday, Sept. 27.

And, like a proud mom raising and watching her child grow up, Vargas has worked diligently to make the local Farmer’s Market a success and is excited once again to see big things on the horizon every Saturday for the next six-plus months.

“We’ve worked so hard to make this a success and I’m really excited to be bringing this back to Miami Springs again,” said Vargas, who said the 2014-15 version will debut Saturday with close to 35 vendors. “More and more I visited all the markets in South Florida throughout the year and met a lot of people and the fact that we have a really true loyal group of vendors every year tells the story that we’re a quality, profitable and busy market. I can’t tell you where we rank in terms of crowds in what we generate, but we’re definitely up there in terms of a good market for the vendors.”

The time, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and location of the Farmer’s Market will remain the same. It was a year ago that Vargas, thanks to the cooperation of the City of Miami Springs was able to move the venue from the All Angels Episcopal school grounds on the west side of town to the much-more-visible and traffic-friendly spot in the center median just off the Circle.

Just a fantastic move,” said Vargas. “There is a lot more traffic, more visibility and then just the beautiful little quaint setting works so well. This year I bought some bright-colored Adirondack chairs to set out under the trees for people to hang out just to keep up the ambiance.”

Vargas also made sure to thank the City once again for its cooperation in laying out the red carpet for her every-Saturday event, which will run through April 4 of next year.

“The city has once again been fantastically cooperative,” said Vargas. “Recently they went out and cleaned the area around the pump station, so we’ll be able to use the water spicket and they’ve allowed us the use of electrical outlets, put out the barriers to keep things safe and just put all of our banners up. You could not ask them to do more.”

The opening day Saturday will feature the usual standbys in terms of vendors from last year, including Benny’s Fruits and Vegetables, Mama’s Guava Bars, Lily’s Snacks (for dogs), Captain Ampie’s Cookies and The Last Crumb baked goods.

But there will also be some new vendors as well and leading the way will be the Urban Oasis Project, which will come up from Homestead to supply fresh organic fruits, vegetables and eggs. But they’re hardly your average group of folks.

“This is a very interesting organization from Homestead,” said Vargas. “Verde Farms is run by people who were once completely homeless. They’ve been all about bringing fresh produce to parts of the inner city for people who don’t have access to it and it’s been a terrific thing and we’re excited to have them coming to Miami Springs.”

Other new things on tap will include Gelato Gourmet featuring organic gelato, Cachapa Express, Dr. Pickle and jams from Jammy Yummy.

What would a Saturday Farmer’s Market be without a little entertainment as well, and this Saturday, Ray Anton from Ray’s Guitars ‘N Gear in Virginia Gardens will be on hand strumming away some tunes, while another market staple pin, Short Chef Ray Newland, will be on hand to entertain the kids while teaching them about good nutrition.

“The local Tai Chi group will also be on hand giving demonstrations and handing out information about their classes,” said Vargas. “We welcome all local health and fitness groups showcasing their classes.”

Which leads to what won’t necessarily be welcome this year.

Vargas tiptoed carefully on this one because she didn’t want to seem ungrateful to vendors who participated in the market in the last two years but admitted that she had “gotten away” from the real purpose of having a Farmer’s Market.

“We’re going to really try and stick to our roots and keep it local, top quality, organic when possible and really just food, farm, plant-based products,” said Vargas. “No knickknacks, crafts or stuff like that. We did a little of that (the first two years) but I just felt like we took everything down a notch.

“I don’t want to sound too negative or derogatory toward anyone else but my message really is that I want to stick true to my original vision for the little market, which was to have really top-quality produce and artisan locally produced foods. We want to really keep everything on the high end and top quality. Not that we can’t take more vendors but we just want everybody to know that we don’t just take anybody that comes along.”

Vargas also reiterated that she welcomes any local nonprofits interested in using her venue to fundraise.

“I’ve met just a bunch of nice people and as an ex-business person this really has fulfilled a little space in my life to develop something of my own,” Vargas said when asked if she did kind of feel like a proud parent raising their child in watching the Farmer’s Market, her brainchild, grow and mature. “There’s something entreprenorial about this and even though it’s little, it’s great and I take a lot of pride in ownership of it and certainly hope that everybody is happy with it.”

Anyone interested in reaching Vargas for vendor information or if you are a not-for-profit organization looking to raise money, call 786-223-5602.