Volume 3 Issue 3 | March 2023

As a Home Watch provider, we want each of your return trips to Sarasota to feel as refreshing as the first. Our "Piece of Paradise" newsletters provide a brief glimpse into Florida homeownership, followed by a featured activity for your next visit.

Homeowner Insight

News stories of alligator to human interactions are on the rise, which is to be expected as alligators enter their mating season. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission points out that humans and alligators can coexist. Alligators are found in every part of Florida, and can thrive in healthy neighborhood ponds. The FWC recommends keeping small animals on leashes and at least 10 feet away from ponds, and for humans to keep their distance from ponds between dusk and dawn. You should never, ever feed an alligator. That includes not feeding fish, birds, or turtles within the alligator's vicinity.

This photo of an alligator on our neighborhood pond bank isn't the most amazing close-up, but remember - humans should not try to approach alligators for a selfie!

March Piece Of Paradise

Fresh and Local

The Sarasota Farmers Market is open every Saturday of the year from 7am to 1pm.

This month we wanted to feature "fresh and local" Sarasota, and you can't get much fresher or more local than a farmers market! The Sarasota area has plenty of markets to choose from - the Meadows Farmers Market, the Newtown Farmers Market, the Phillippi Farmhouse Market, the Venice Farmers' Market, and the Lakewood Ranch Farmers Market. There are also streetside stands and the popular mini-farm with weekend market, Jessica's Organic Farm. But the grand-daddy of them all is the Sarasota Farmers Market, so that's where we went.

Worden Farm, located in Punta Gorda, brought an impressive variety of produce.

We presume most people go to a farmers market to purchase the produce. We were slightly surprised, but not disappointed, to find only two produce stands during our stroll. Our mission was not actually to find food to bring home - it was to find the stands that make vendors at the markets here different from the vendors up north.

Our first exciting find: locally harvested and seasoned salts.

Until our visit to the farmers market, we had no idea there was a man who is spending his time in retirement perfecting local, designer salts. Tim Norton of Sea Salt Florida thought he would spend his later years starting a high-end winery, but realized if his family wanted to live in Florida he would probably need to change that dream. He spent several years perfecting how to naturally harvest and filter salt, and continues to evolve his products through special seasoning blends. His salt is so localized you can even buy it based on origins from Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key, Lido Key, Siesta Key, or a few others. He says each salt contains the same minerals, but the balance of the minerals is different depending on the source island.

One pork and one veggie tamale for our tastebuds to test, please!

Bake, bake, the chimney cake.

We also enjoyed sampling the fresh -baked goods: steamed tamales from Azteca Rojo, one savory and one sweet bread from Kurto's Chimney Cakes (trying a Chimney Cake from their downtown restaurant has been on Miranda's to-do list for nearly a year), and some dill-pickle kettle corn.

As an added bonus, there was a street craft fair only a couple blocks from the Sarasota Farmers Market that brought more booths for us to enjoy.

Above: A musician played at the craft fair. Below: (ssssh, don't tell) we picked up a couple handpainted hummingbird coasters for an upcoming family member's birthday present.

Nearby or Similar Considerations

This tiny hotspot is tucked into an unassuming strip mall near the Ringling College campus.

We thought about visiting a "U-pick" establishment to accompany our fresh and local theme, but here's the reality: we like eating the food much more than preparing it! There are so many Sarasota area restaurants that incorporate fresh ingredients into their dishes. After reading about Fork and Hen in a recent issue of Edible Sarasota, we decided to check it out. Be forewarned: there is not much seating and it filled up FAST after we arrived at noon. Our crew tried three different entrees, all featuring the restaurant's "base" ingredient: fried chicken. Yummy stuff, but the hands-down winner was the House Sprouted Falafel Hushpuppies appetizer.

The House Sprouted Falafel Hushpuppies were golden crispy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside, full of flavor and served with perfectly paired pickled slaw and dill tzatziki.

Learn more about our Home Watch services, Florida homeownership, and activity ideas in and around the Sarasota area on the Coastal Haven website.

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