Chef Anthony Scaife considers himself a member of many families.
In his nine years at the Haile Farmers Market, he has watched babies grow into children and children develop into young adults, all from under the nylon tent where he sells his crowd-pleasing fresh-pressed juices.
“Here’s the one thing about the Haile Farmers Market, you actually get the opportunity to be a part of someone’s family,” Scaife said,“because they’re taking your product to their home.”
This May celebrates two decades that the market has connected vendors and patron from across the region each Saturday. The Haile Farmers Market offers locally produced foods and crafts located at Haile Plantation, a planned residential and golf community in southwest Gainesville.
Scaife’s business, Chef Anthony’s Ambrosia, uses produce from around the state to make fresh, non-pasteurized, sugar and preservative free juice that he sells at the market. While Scaife has been producing juice for 25 years, he only began attending the market in 2009 after he moved from Chicago.
“Haile Farmers Market is really an anomaly in northeastern Florida,” Scaife said. “The people that are using Haile Plantation Farmers Market are using it as their grocery store every weekend, like in Europe.”
The Haile Farmers Market was started in 1998, the same year as the downtown market, said Justine Henry, marketing director for the Haile Farmers Market.
Their joint purpose was to get as many people as possible involved in the local crafting and growing, she said.
“What better way to support local foods than being a part of your local farmers market?” she said.
Anna Winchester considers herself a regular at Haile. Since moving back to Gainesville in 2010, Winchester, her family and her 8-year-old dog, Cosita, try to make it every Saturday. While she enjoys the variety of products, for her, it is the atmosphere that is the main factor in her continued patronage.
“The quality of the produce is hard to beat, and I like the people, too,” Winchester said. “It’s nice to see the same faces every week.”
One of those familiar faces is vendor Scott Gove from Price Creek Farm.
Gove has brought his business exclusively to the Haile Farmers Market for the past seven years. Other markets in the area simply don’t fit into the Price Creek Farms business model, he said.
“You just know what you’re going to get when you shop from the farmer as opposed to buying at the supermarket,” Gove said.
The Haile Farmers Market differentiates itself from its competition because it is based on community, not just selling goods, said Henry.
“It’s a community gathering place where you can just so happen to buy your groceries at, too,” she said.
Haile Farmers Market marks its 20th anniversary on May 12 during the market’s normal hours, 8:30 a.m. to noon. The celebration will coincide with the market’s Mother’s Day festivities and allow visitors the chance to craft bouquets from seasonal flowers, Henry said.
He added that during the past two decades, the market has developed into a community of people who share a passion for local agriculture, local businesses and creating an environment in which they can all prosper.
“It’s just a beautiful atmosphere,” Winchester said.