Six finds from Naples and Fort Myers farmers markets to up your fall charcuterie game
Fall is my treat-yourself season.
The weather is a bit milder, the candle scents at Bath & Body Works are cozier and I can smell the holidays in the air a mile away, like my dog can smell a strip of pumpkin-spice beef jerky.
Then there's the food.
Apple crisps, sweet potato curries, pork chops with sauteed apples, spiced apple cider and pumpkin Alfredo are on my fall recipe list this season.
But there's one dish I hold dear to my heart this time of year: the charcuterie board.
I'm not claiming to be some kind of charc expert, and I'm certainly not a purist. I believe in tailoring your board to what suits you, your family, your friends — whoever will be indulging in these cured meats and cheeses with you.
Fall is the perfect time for charcuterie. Having to make dinner after soccer practice or a long day of work or school can be exhausting. That's when I get out my big wooden cutting board, assemble my platter, and have at it, snacking the night away in front of a Halloween movie.
It is my opinion Southwest Florida has some of the loveliest farmers markets in the state, made all the more lovely as the weather cools and the season's bounties come to harvest. These markets offer dozens of locally sourced ingredients to fill any charcuterie board. Below are a few such options.
Naples Canning Co.
Pickles, jams and spreads are classic additions to any charc board and Naples Canning Co. has all three covered. This local artisan kitchen crafts garlic-dill pickles, pickled jicama, paprika mustard and more. It also creates a plethora of jams, including mixed berry lavender, bourbon peach smash, spiced blueberry and orange.
Naples Canning sells its wares Saturday mornings from 7:30-11:30 at the Third Street South Farmers Market, 1207 Third St. S., Naples. The company also ships its products throughout the U.S. For more information, visit naplescanningco.com.
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The Fisherman's Daughter
The Fisherman's Daughter's smoked fish dip adds a distinctly Floridian twist to the more traditional charc offerings. The company was started by Chanda Jamieson, who comes from a family of professional anglers. Her products range from smoked mullet, salmon and kingfish dips to blue-crab dip and Key West shrimp salad.
The Fisherman's Daughter will return to the farmers market circuit in October, but for now, its products are available at Trico Shrimp Co. and Seafood Market near Fort Myers Beach, and online through Local Roots Online Farmers Market. For more, visit thefishermansdaughterfl.com.
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This Central Florida company makes a huge variety of dip mixes. It features sweet dessert mixes, such as chocolate mousse, Florida Dreamsicle, caramel apple, and Kris Kringle's eggnog, along with a host of sugar-free options. Simply Savory's savory dips include roasted garlic and red pepper, cilantro lime ranch, and Taste of Sicily. Most mixes require a base of cream cheese, mayonnaise or whipped topping, and instructions are included on the dip packaging. Simply Savory operates out of farmers markets across Florida and sells its dips online at simplysavorygourmet.com.
Stamper is a lot like our Florida snowbirds, it operates half the year up north in Wisconsin and the other half down here in Naples. It'll return to Southwest Florida in November, with cheeses such as its chipotle-espresso cheddar, mustard-seed Gouda and triple-creme brie with apricots and toasted almonds. Stamper will be available at several farmers markets in the area, including Naples, Fort Myers and Marco Island. Follow the Stamper Cheese of Florida Facebook page for updates.
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Rubee's Raw Florida Honey
The final touch to any truly great charcuterie plate is good honey and honey comb. There are so many local honey options in Southwest Florida, but today I'm featuring Rubee's. Its honey comes in sticks, quart-sized jars and 5-pound jugs. The owners do free, weekly honey deliveries in Naples during season and twice monthly deliveries during the summer. Rubee's honey is also sold at several stores in Southwest Florida, including Scoops Ice Cream & Acai Bowl, InPlay! Family Fun, Corey Billie's Airboat Rides, The Sweet Science Boxing and Fitness Gym, and Sugar in the City Skin and Body. For more and to order online, visit therubees.com.
For honey lovers in Lee, Walker Farms Honey is another sweet option, with farmers market stalls and products sold in brick-and-mortar stores throughout the area. Visit walkerfarmshoney.com for the online store and a list of local locations.
Ever heard of a calamondin? They're little hybrid citrus fruits, kind of like a mandarin-orange-kumquat crossover, and Calamondin Cottage uses them to make delightful cakes and jams that come in small, medium and large sizes. Jams and club cakes will be on sale at the Third Street South Farmers Market in Naples starting in November. For more, email email@example.com or visit the Calamondin Cottage Facebook Page.
Sarajane Sullivan writes about food and restaurants for The News-Press and Naples Daily News. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and find her on Twitter @bysarajane.