Crepes, Candles, and Creativity—The Farmer’s Market on Palafox
“Jocelyn, it’s fall here.” As we climbed out of her car on Gregory Street, downtown Pensacola, we noticed colorful leaves on the sidewalk. In sharp contrast to PCC’s manicured sidewalks and lawns, the leaves looked strangely out of place. But they were just the introduction to the autumnal affair we were soon to enjoy at the Farmer’s Market on Palafox.
Just last Saturday, my adventure partner slash roommate slash travel buddy and I went downtown to find out what everyone was talking about at the farmer’s market. Every Saturday from 9–2, rain or shine, vendors gather under colorful tents on Palafox Street to lure passersby to find culture, refreshment, fresh food, or artistic wares in the fresh open air. Jocelyn and I had heard rave reviews about the market, so we dedicated Saturday morning to settle those curiosities for ourselves.
We were not disappointed.
First stop, free kettle popcorn samples. Morsels melted in our mouths—the perfect combination of sweet and savory—but it was too early for popcorn. "We’ll be back,” we told the friendly man bagging popcorn.
“Well I’ll be here,” he said. “Till two.” His voice faded behind the bustling people, strains of faraway guitar, and the earthy clink of pottery jars being placed on tabletops.
Meandering through the brisk morning air, crunching crisp leaves on the uneven brick walkway, we ducked underneath overhanging boughs to reach the next booths. Here were more wares, more people, more friendly dogs who panted on their haunches waiting for someone to drop a sample of hickory smoked sausage.
The dogs were not the only ones drooling, either. The smell of freshly-ground coffee lured us past rows of bread still so warm they fogged up the bags, frosted metal bins filled with icy sweet tea and lemonade made with locally-harvested honey, whole and ground coffee beans, and even mini pancakes fried using cornmeal ground on-spot—free samples of heaven.
Every college student knows the versatility of Nutella—put it on anything and create a delicacy. But a crepe? Yes, a crepe if that crepe is handcrafted by Frenchmen in the open autumn air, tossed on a cast iron skillet, sandwiched with thick smears of Nutella, sandwiched with rosy strawberries, and laced with cream. Yes please.
All too soon, the market ended, and Jocelyn and I walked back to the car, sharing bites of crepe and moist pumpkin bread. Even as we drove away, we heard the market calling us back with vintage wind chimes fashioned from flattened spoons and hung with beaded strings from inverted teapots.
“We’ll be back,” I had promised the popcorn chef, the crepe master, the pottery artist, and the sea salt crafter. And that is an easy promise to keep.