Local News

Morning Market is Lake Placid's place to be on Saturdays

LAKE PLACID - Larry Prillwitz found what he came to Saturday Morning Market for: two bunches of red radishes.

"They're going right here," he pointed toward his stomach. "These are the sweetest radishes you can get."

Lettuce, tomatoes, apples, onions; it's all crisp, it's all fresh, and it's all from farms in Lake Placid, Venus and Plant City, said Jasmine Molina, whose mother operates Alicia's Produce under a double tent at the Saturday Morning Market at Stuart Park, just west of downtown.

Prillwitz is sorta local, sorta out-of-towner. He's originally from Michigan, but his folks operated groves southwest of Lake Placid.

After he and Kay married, they branched out - pun intended - into the pecan broker business in Hugo, Okla. Now the retired Sooners winter in Florida.

More than a dozen outdoor vendors sell arts, crafts, jewelry, wine, homemade pastries, even breakfast and lunch at the mart, scheduled from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on second Saturdays from October through March. On Saturday, customers numbered in the hundreds.

A few booths away, Marie Kruse displayed three tables of gourds. "I get them from South Georgia and California," Kruse said. "They look like this."

She held up a giant, goose-shaped, manila squash. They're washed with soap and water, and she draws a design in pencil. A tiny saw will cut off the top or scroll a design.

"And then I stain them. It's not paint," she said. One was dyed with men's mahogany shoe polish, then shined until it glowed.

While Barney and Nancy Miesse and Party Dog Rick entertained in the pavilion, Jacqueline sold yummy pastries next door: guava, applesauce loaves, pumpkin cake with cream cheese, almond biscotti, and dulce de leche (candy of milk).

"It's like carmel, but better," she said. It's one of the delights that will be available when she opens Havanna Nights in the former Chef Buddy's location at 204 N. Main. They'll serve have Cuban coffee, cafe con leche (coffee with milk), and the staple, of course, Cuban sandwiches.

And then there's M.J. Chappy, who is head of marketing for a financial education firm in Naples but spends her weekends in Lake Placid. "I've been coming here since 2002," she said. I live it here. It's a small town. It's where I have my woman cave."

That's her garage, where she and watches the world go by. It's where a neighbor gave her the idea three years ago for Cone Chic.

She and her bud, Peggy Bucher, bike around Lake Placid and fill garbage bags with pine cones. In their new lives, conifer seeds and pollen pods are painted and glittered and transformed into warm, welcoming baskets for the home. Some assume Jack Frost colors, others fancy Thanksgiving or Valentine themes and become centerpieces for doors and tables.

The next Saturday morning market is scheduled for Feb. 8.