Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Northeast Harvest Agricultural Fair, Legislature Moves to Ban Junk food, North Shore Music Theatre Annonces 2011 Schedule

As I enter the last week of my winter sojourn in Florida, I thought that I would offer one more comment on a Florida attraction that I had the good luck to enjoy. This location was one that we visited twice. The first time was early in our stay and the second visit was just this past weekend. The second visit was made because the fist stop was so enjoyable. The location visited was the St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market. This is one busy place with hundreds of vendors displaying their agricultural products, crafts, greenery and baked goods for sale. The market that was first organized in 2002 is the largest market place of its kind in the State of Florida. The farmers market part of the gathering is spectacular with a wide variety of local home growth products for sale, There are citrus products of all kinds, and fresh vegetables ranging from tomatoes to green beans and other locally grown produce.

The vendor that attracted dozens of potential purchasers including me was Rudy’s Produce. This is a family business and Rudy’s oldest son Nadar is a show under himself. Nadar sings and carries on some wonderful banter with the long line of clients as he cores and slices pineapples for the amazing price of two for $5.00. The product itself is amazing, and I have enjoyed the slices of pineapple in cereal and as just an appetizer to almost every meal. The market that also offers local entertainment draws local residents and well as visitors and the most difficult part of the visit is trying to find a place to park. It is interesting to note that the marketplace takes place in the parking lot of a famous old Florida ball park called Al Lang Field named after a former Mayor of St Petersburg who was instrumental in bringing Spring Training baseball to Florida in 1916. Many major league teams have played at the field, including the Philadelphia Phillies, the Boston Braves, the New York Yankees, and the St Louis Cardinals and until last year the Tampa Bay Rays. Last year the Rays moved their training facility south to Port Charlotte in an attempt to open a new group on potential fans to that team. Over the years I have watched many games in the park while the Rays played there, and the history of the field make it that much more enjoyable to watch spring baseball.

Northeast Harvest Day at the Topsfield Fair

While we are on the subject of agriculture, and since I just provided some information on a wonderful Farmers Market of a sort that I attended in St Petersburg, I want to offer some information on an activity for farmers that will be held in our region. Essex Heritage has had for some time a relationship with the Essex Agricultural Society to assist the farmers of this region. That relationship has been advanced with a website and a monthly newsletter that provides information to consumers about the wonderful agricultural resources available in this region. Now the relationship that is called Northeast Harvest Buy Local is offering a first ever seminar for the agricultural resources of the area.

Northeast Harvest Buy Local is hosting Ag Day on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 from 9 AM to 3 PM at Coolidge Hall at the Topsfield Fairgrounds. Farmers, farmers' market management, agricultural commissioners, state officials, and legislators from Middlesex and Essex Counties are invited to attend. Among the speakers will be Essex County Farm Bureau President Lisa Colby, Massachusetts Farm Bureau President Rich Bonanno, MDAR Commissioner Scott Soares, Essex National Heritage marketing director Mary Williamson, and others who will enlighten us with the latest in farming news and techniques. Spray credits have been applied for (two different sessions available), morning coffee and lunch will be served, and farm kits will be distributed. Information on the use of the website will be provided by Mary Williamson from the Essex Heritage office.

Legislature Considering a Ban of Junk Food in Area Schools

Staying on the food theme, I did read in the local papers recently that the State Legislature is now considering a ban of certain junk foods in our local schools. This initiative if approved seems to be a most positive step. I know that we can never legislate good health for teenagers, but whatever steps that can be done to help limit the amount of junk food and soda that is consumed by are teenagers is helpful. It appears that our some of our local teenagers are getting the wrong diet and anything that can be done to help control the epidemic of teen obesity would be a great step. I did see a notice in a local paper here in Florida that the Panera Chain will become the first fast food national chain to post the caloric counts of food served in their stores. This seems like another positive step that other fast food chains might consider emulating.

Danversbank Announces that Jack Good will join that Bank

It was nice to see an announcement recently that Jack Good has agreed to join the staff of Danversbank. Jack has been a wonderful community activist for many years, and I am proud to be able to call him a friend. Jack worked for many tears for Beverly Hospital as their primary community contact and just recently Jack worked for Beverly National Bank that was recently acquired by Danversbank. Jack has also served Essex Heritage with great distinction as a Commissioner.

Congratulations to Two Area Schools

On Saturday evening two local schools both from the lower Merrimack Valley section of Essex County won State Basketball Titles. The girls from Andover beat East Longmeadow to secure the Division One title and Central Catholic High School beat St John’s of Shrewsbury by a single point to win the boys Division One State Title. Congratulations to both schools and the athletes who represented them so successfully this year.

North Shore Music Theatre Announces 2010 Schedule

It was nice t see an entertaining schedule of performances announced for the new North Shore Music Theatre. The schedule that ends with the Christmas Carol during the holiday season begins in July and looks like it might bear some promise. I hope that the new management at Theatre can find a way to encourage the large base of season tickets holders from the past regime to support the new schedule. The large and loyal group of season ticket holders from the past were severely disadvantaged by the last management group, and it would seem that trying to find a way to get that group reengaged would be a positive marketing strategy.

Happy St Patrick’s Day

Since I will not post on March 17th, let me offer all of you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day today.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts at www.essexheritage.org. Thanks. Tom Leonard


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