Union Market growing roots at Celebration Pointe

Lauren and Eric Morales of Humble Nature Farm in Lake City are good at growing pasture raised poultry. Now, they are hoping to continue to grow their business in the new location of the Union Street Farmers’ Market.

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The market was transplanted to the promenade at Celebration Pointe after the City of Gainesville closed it three months ago due to the pandemic. The vendors say that the new location has potential but it will take time for it to get established and draw the volume of customers they were used to having pre-pandemic.

Eric Morales said there is a silver lining in all of the changes.

“It forced us to get online,” he said about launching a website for sales. “We had Facebook, but with all this happening it pushed that to the forefront.”

Humble Nature Farm has had a spot at the Celebration Pointe location every week since the June transplant.

“In the beginning it was a little slow,” Morales said. “In the last two weeks, we’re seeing more foot traffic and a lot of people are finding out about this location more and more.

“Like any farmers market it takes a couple years to catch on.

Several vendors commented that the demographic of customers is different but being adjacent to  I-75 does make traveling and set up easier.

The variety of food and goods remain varied. Produced on the Farm from Old Town in Dixie County sells raw cow milk, yogurt and cheese at a dollar an ounce. You can even pick a cow to buy your milk from by choosing from a photo board with images of each cow.

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Wild Man Foods is serving up local all grass fed beef, Florida gator tail, shrimp, raw pet treats, and cured beef hot dogs.

The market hosts several nonprofits. This week, the Well Florida Council set up and offered people a take home HIV test kit to encourage everyone to check their status every few years just in case. The effort is funded by the Florida Department of Health and Representative Morris Sherman said that HIV testing numbers have dropped across the U.S., especially since the pandemic started.

Alachua resident and Mushroom Farmer Adam Dagen has been in the new location for six weeks. “Bo Diddley was really popping,” he said. “This is a good location that can get more steam.

Dagen and his brother-in-law partner sell Blue Oyster mushrooms for their business Innovative Ingredients. They chose mushrooms because they discovered they could grow them inside by mimicking the outdoor conditions in a fruiting chamber.

Gainesville based Swamp City has a glass gallery, CBD lounge, beer garden and offered CBD and medical cannabis.

Jersey’s ice cream owner Karen DeConna had a creamery in Micanopy for six years before going mobile. “It’s the way to go,” she said but added that she had a thriving business at the Bo Diddley location. “We had a lot more vendors at Bo Diddley, the energy was different,” she said. “I don’t think it’s developed yet (at Celebration Pointe) and things don’t happen overnight.

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DeConna said she disagreed with the closing of the previous location. “They closed the plaza down so we had to move,” she said. “They shouldn’t have because we are food, we are essential. I hope it comes back.

Michael Martin of Bleu Basil Artisan Pasta was a chef but now sells pastas that include vegan and gluten free choice with no preservatives and fresh pesto.

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He’s out of Ocala and also notices the, “different and unique different demographic.”

The market runs every Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. and includes live music entertainment.

For more information click here. https://www.celebrationpointe.com/ or follow them on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/celebrationpointeFL.

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