To Market We Go
East End Market, a neighborhood food and culture hub, celebrates sustainable farm-to-table living.
By The Robinsons
The slow food movement has gathered steam over the years as a way of living and eating that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment. That is right in line with the goal of East End Market, which opened this past fall in Orlando’s Audubon Park neighborhood. It’s a thriving market for artisans, tradespeople, food entrepreneurs, chefs, gardeners and farmers who collectively give back to the community.
“Our mission,” says community manager Heather Grove, “is to make being a conscientious consumer and community member convenient and entertaining.”
The two-story structure on Corrine Drive was an adaptive reuse project that gave new life to an abandoned 14,000-square-foot church. The market houses a variety of merchants, as well as a large event space, a demonstration kitchen, retail shops, an award-winning caterer and a restaurant focused on farm-fresh ingredients.
“All of the merchants share an ethos for sustainable sourcing, which takes all that label reading out of the shopping equation,” says Grove. “Whether you are shopping for groceries or a prepared meal, if you have a question, you can ask the artisan or purveyor right in front of you.”
A focal point of the market is the large functional garden installed at the front of the building by My Yard Farm, an edible-landscape company. On any given day, visitors may find cucumber, pinto and lima beans, Heirloom tomatoes, kale, onions, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, turnips and more flourishing in the garden. Other edible plantings include macadamia nut, avocado, starfruit and mango trees. The market’s on-site restaurant Txokos (pronounced “show-kohs”) Basque Kitchen utilizes the garden’s fresh vegetables and herbs in its dishes, which are inspired by the Basque region bordering Spain and France.
Opposite the garden is the East End Event Hall, which incorporates reclaimed wood and antiques to create a rustic, cozy and sustainable space. An attached demonstration kitchen is available for cooking classes, as well as classes in knife skills, basic butchery, urban farming and other general homesteading skills such as butter making and canning and preserving. The event hall also is used for cookbook release gatherings and chef-run events, with catering available through Cuisiniers, East End’s caterer, or á la carte by the market’s merchants.
Currently, the market is home to more than a dozen merchants. In addition to Cuisiniers and Txokos, the list includes Fatto in Casa Italian specialties; Hounds-tooth Sauce Company; La Bretxa seafood market; La Femme du Fromage artisan cheeses; Lineage coffee roaster; Local Roots Farm Store; Olde Hearth Bread Co.; Skyebird Juice Bar; Old Inc. furniture and décor; and 99 Market plantings and florals.
Future development phases allow East End Market to incorporate other green designs such as solar panels, a windmill for pumping water to irrigate the garden, a cistern for harvesting rainwater—even a green roof. For more information, check their website: eastendmkt.com