The newest farmer's market on 30A all began with a rumor.
"I heard it from a vendor that there was going to be a market in Rosemary Beach," said Diane Kolopanas. "So I called Jim and Kathy [Jim Bagby, town manager and Kathy Kemp, town center director]. There wasn't one yet, but as fate would have it, they really wanted a farmer's market of their own."
Kolopanas and family just moved to the 30A area less than a year ago. Before, they were residents of Memphis, where they put together the city's Greek festival that saw crowds upwards of 25,000 people. With that kind of background, Kolopanas spearheaded the 30A Farmer's Market, which begins next week. The new market will join similar weekend efforts in Seaside, Gulf Place and Destin.
While the 30A Farmer's Market will feature vendors from Seaside's market, Kolopanas said it will be different and unique. Not wanting to compete within the community, Kolopanas made the conscious decision to hold the 30A Farmer's Market on a Sunday, versus Saturday. A Thursday market will also begin May 30 and run until Sept. 4. The market will leave the arts and crafts to the popular Rosemary Beach West Indies Market, which begins May 11.
The food featured at the market will have an international theme throughout with dishes and meal demonstrations originating from Spain, Italy, France and Greek food and pastries straight from the Kolopanas kitchen.
Local chefs already slated for the 30A Farmers Market include: Chef Chris Chirum of Wild Olives and Chef Edward Reece of Edward's. In just the past month since Kolopanas began putting the farmer's market together, she has more than 37 vendors and businesses participating in the market, and the list keeps growing.
As a consumer, Kolopanas is a farmer's market shopper and very familiar with the local and regional vendors.
"It's a way to be a part of the great community we live in," she said.
With goods available such as organic produce, grass-fed beef, sweet breads, local honey and, of course, cupcakes, you can get most of your grocery shopping done in the center of Rosemary Beach.
Vendors at the market include: Hale & Hearty Foods featuring organic frozen dishes, Jennifer's Personalized Cuisine, featuring dried soup mixes, pastas and sea salt, Santa Rosa Cheese, The Green Man featuring organic produce, Pirate Gourmet, Sir Arthur's Dog Treats, Arrowhead Beef and Enticing Cupcakes.
Eventually, Kolopanas would like to see the market expand from offering healthy food choices into a hybrid of a health and wellness expo with educational demonstrations from local businesses teaching market shoppers how to eat and live a healthier life free from antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, herbicides and other harmful chemicals. Organizers also aim to educate the community on the importance of a healthy diet and exercise. The first market will see massage demonstrations from Vivo Spa Salon, but Kolopanas said she'd like to see more businesses — such as YOLO — participate.
"We're open to letting local businesses come and promote what they do," she said.
The 30A Farmer's Market will be a family-friendly event and is first and foremost meant to be fun.
"We just want people to enjoy themselves," Kolopanas said.