Archive for Dave

Celebrate Independence!

It’s hard to imagine life without freedom, so we should celebrate it and honor those who afford it to us by serving our country. Thank you to our forefathers who fought to achieve our independence, and thank you men and women who fight to keep us that way. We salute you for making this the land of the free and the home of the brave! Let’s keep our children educated, and teach them about our history and that it’s not just about fireworks. One day they will be in charge of keeping us going!

What you gonna get your father?

Juicy and Pink-Eye are back with an important question… What you gonna get your father for Father’s Day? Well? Get the awesome dad essentials at FFM!

Shave Dave at Cancer Freeze 2016

Noah Leonard wants to shave Dave Palmer of Florida Farmers Market. Dave has agreed to shave his head IF we raise $10,000 by Cancer Freeze 2016! Make checks payable to Cancer Freeze and be sure to put “Shave Dave” in the memo line.

Mail payments to:
Cancer Freeze
POB 92
Florala, Al 36442

You may also make payments via PayPal, and put “Shave Dave” in the comments.

FFM Seeks $100,000 Grant from Chase Mission Mainstreet

Chase’s Mission Main Street Grants program is offering small businesses the opportunity to compete for a $100,000 grant to improve their business. Florida Farmers Market & Cafe would benefit greatly from this opportunity, and we need your help! Businesses must get at least 250 votes to move on to the next round for consideration, so we need for you to show your support in the form of a vote. Voting is free and can only be done once, so we need at least 250 of you to cast your vote for FFM to move on in the competition. Just so you know exactly what you are voting for, I have published a copy of the grant application questionnaire and my answers. Please support us in our efforts to expand and continue our community efforts in Paxton!

Thank you,

Mission Main Street Grants Questionnaire:

1. Tell us about your business and what makes it unique. Please provide a general description of your product, customers, competitive landscape, and overall performance.

A: We are an oasis to our local community because we offer products and services no one else offers to our rural area. Farmers needed a place to sell produce locally, we built it. There was no restaurant in our town, Paxton, FL; so we created one. (Laurel Hill is actually 10 miles away, but they deliver our mail, so we have Laurel Hill mailing addresses in Paxton.) Locals had to drive 30+ miles to buy someone a decent gift or an educational book or toy for a kid, so we set up a gift shop. Local organizations needed a place to get t-shirts and uniforms printed, so we set up a print shop in the back office. We don’t have any local competitors aside from one gas station in our town, so our customers have to drive quite some distance for competitive products and services. We take advantage of the situation by offering such a wide array under one roof, but we still remain competitively priced for our area. We want to be helpful to our community and our local economy rather than be a drain on it by price gouging as businesses with little to no competition often do.

2. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur? Describe both your greatest achievements and biggest challenges.

A: I have been an entrepreneur since I was first able to buy and sell; it’s in my blood. My wife and I saw a need for farmers to have a place to sell produce. We have farms all around us, but there is nowhere within 30 miles for them to sell their produce. The cafe and gift shop were added to the idea as a way to keep the business more steady due to the seasonal nature of produce. It turns out that those parts of the business are more important to our community than produce selling. We have really positively impacted our community with the cafe and gift shop by becoming a place where people can meet, eat, and shop. It’s a serious achievement to even survive as a business in a small town, so we are proud that we are thriving. Our biggest challenge has been organizing farmers to sell produce to the public. They work hard in the fields all the time, so they have little time to spare for selling produce while the fields await their return. We are working on ways to take the burden of selling away for them. The public wants local produce.

3. How is your business involved with the community you serve? Examples include: giving back to the community, sourcing locally, and/or contributing to economic development via hiring.

A: You can see that any effort in a small rural town is needed and appreciated, so we do what we can every day to serve our community. We are a major supporter and facilitator of a local 501(c)3 non-profit organization called, Cancer Freeze. We help them throughout the year hosting events, selling goods in our store that benefit them 100%, and volunteering our time, supplies, and equipment to help their truly charitable cause. We give locals a free place to gather and have club meetings, play bridge, or just hang out with friends and family. Monthly we host a craft show for local artisans to sell their wares. We also host many free events throughout the year for children like outdoor movie showings, a huge Halloween party, kid craft days, and visits from Santa to name a few. Economically we impact by buying local produce and products when possible, and hiring local people to help us operate day to day. Local artisans can consign their wares in our gift shop keeping money spent in our store here in our community. Our #1 focus is the local economy and our community.

4. What would a $100,000 grant mean to your business and how will you utilize the funds? Please be as specific as possible.

A: A $100,000 grant would allow us to make an even bigger impact in our community. It would allow us to expand our operation by giving us the means to improve our facility, hire more staff, and provide more outreach in getting produce from local farms to local tables. Specifically we are in need of more restrooms which we would add on outdoors to the side of our building to handle all of the extra traffic generated by our events. We also need to run electricity to each stall in our outdoor market. We currently have to run extension cords and discourage the use of electricity unless it is absolutely necessary. A lack of cooler space has always been a problem for us, and we would like to offer betters ways to keep produce cool to reduce spoilage to better serve our farmers as well as customers with the freshest produce possible. An additional employee would also help us tremendously because we are doing so much with so few people. Adding even one employee would increase our productivity and give us the ability to do more with our time spent building our community through our business.

5. What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term growth plans for the business? How will this grant contribute to your plan?

A: As business has increased over the last 2 years, we are starting to see a little profit which will help us to reduce our business debt. Getting this grant would allow us to expand our business and community outreach efforts without incurring more business debt. We are in a position where we are holding steady and recovering from the initial investment involved in opening and developing the business. Being able to do the things specified in question #4 without adding debt would be so helpful to accomplishing our goals faster and more efficiently. In a small town, $100,000 is a lot of money, and we would make the most of it by using it to expand and improve our business, which will improve our community. We’ve already made a major impact in our community just by opening our doors, but a grant like this will help us greatly to continue community support efforts for our town. In a year, we can do all that we have discussed. However, we want to be here for many years to come and not fizzle like so many other businesses around us have done due to poor business support, practices, and/or lack of funds.

Mission Main Street Grants

Thanksgiving Holiday Hours

FFM will be open on Thanksgiving Day just like last year from 7 am – 2 pm. We found that a lot of places are closed locally, so we will be open to feed those who may not have plans with family or just want to have breakfast or lunch with us. Our suggestion for your meal if you aren’t having turkey elsewhere is the Holiday Meltdown! It’s a delicious combination of Smoked Turkey, Mozzarella Cheese, Cranberries, Pecans, and Goat Cheese all melted together in a Spinach and Herb Wrap. It’s a perfect way to celebrate Turkey Day without the mess in the kitchen!

After Thanksgiving we will have a BIG Black Friday Sale (7 am – 7 pm) with 25-50% off most everything in the gift shop (excludes consignment items). Shop early and we’ll even be on hand to gift wrap those treats so you can go ahead and stick them under the tree! Happy Holidays from FFM!

Thanksgiving Holiday Hours

FFM will be open on Thanksgiving Day just like last year from 7 am – 2 pm. We found that a lot of places are closed locally, so we will be open to feed those who may not have plans with family or just want to have breakfast or lunch with us. Our suggestion for your meal if you aren’t having turkey elsewhere is the Holiday Meltdown! It’s a delicious combination of Smoked Turkey, Mozzarella Cheese, Cranberries, Pecans, and Goat Cheese all melted together in a Spinach and Herb Wrap. It’s a perfect way to celebrate Turkey Day without the mess in the kitchen!

After Thanksgiving we will have a BIG Black Friday Sale (7 am – 7 pm) with 25-50% off most everything in the gift shop (excludes consignment items). Shop early and we’ll even be on hand to gift wrap those treats so you can go ahead and stick them under the tree! Happy Holidays from FFM!

FFM Seeks $150,000 Grant From Chase

Mission Main St Grant
Florida Farmers Market & Cafe has applied for a Chase Mission Main Street grant for $150,000. If awarded the grant, FFM will use the grant money to grow its business and enhance its ability to serve our community. When asked to detail projects in mind to grow the business, Owner Dave Palmer listed several specific projects to Chase.

Some of the high priority project include:

  • Permanent signage on US-331 to the North and South of Florida Farmers Market to increase public awareness of the market and cafe.
  • Outdoor restroom facilities added to the building to handle large crowds drawn by special community events held at FFM.
  • Installation of high tunnel greenhouses to serve as a place for fruits, vegetables, and herbs to be grown to better serve our community with fresh produce and extend the growing season of some crops often unavailable locally.
  • Construction of a roof to cover the existing deck to expand seating outdoors for the cafe and offer shade to visitors of the market.

In addition to funding these projects, some money would be held in reserve to cushion the cash flows of the business during slower times of year. Before FFM can compete for the grant with other businesses also applying for the grant, a minimum of 250 votes must be collected and qualified (requires Facebook). Please support Florida Farmers Market with your vote at the Chase Mission Main Street website located at the following URL:
(The voting link is on the right side of the page.)

Thank you for your votes and for helping us to serve our community better!

Dave Palmer and the Florida Farmers Market Family
21867 US HWY 331 N
Paxton, FL 32567
(850) 708-9195

Build A Bling! Custom Jewelry

One Year Ago Today…

Dave Palmer, Tank Palmer, and Heather Johnson

Dave, Tank, and Heather celebrated the opening of their new business on Friday, December 15th 2012

Dave reminisces:

I woke up this morning like most any other day. It was dark, Tank (age 2) had crawled into bed with Heather and I. Margot (4 months), who wasn’t here a year ago, was snoozing away. No one was nervous, excited, or anxious to see what/who the day would bring. Maybe it’s because it’s a cold, sleepy Sunday this year… definitely nothing like Friday, December 15th last year.

That Friday was special. It was the first official day that Florida Farmers Market was open to the public! The first faces I saw come through the door were friends; the smiling faces of Caleb and Jennifer Davidson and their boys Mitchell and Maddox were the best way I could have started my day. They made a point to be there when we opened the doors, to show us the love and support that they show everyone they touch in their lives. Their presence was like a green light from the community saying “GO!” …we haven’t stopped since.

Dave's famous TV fish tank

Dave’s famous TV fish tank

Many other friends and family members, as well as other people who were just curious, came to help us christen FFM to set sail on an adventure based on the ideas that Heather and I came up with in many late night conversations. They got to see the result of all the long hours of cleaning, painting, building, renovating, plumbing, electrical work, and more that took 9 months of our lives to reach. A few things are still on the shelf that were here the first day, but very few. We’ve had visitors from all over stop and have a cup of our gourmet coffee on their way to somewhere else. Nearly every person that’s walked in the door has said, “This is bigger/nicer/fancier than it looks from the outside.” The TV fish tank still surprises new visitors and still captivates regular customers. There is a lot to see and do here.

Margot Palmer meets Santa for the first time at FFM

Margot meets Santa at FFM

I’m proud that we stuck to our guns and our hours (9-5 became 7-7 daily when we opened the cafe), and we only closed 4 days of 365 (Christmas, New Years, Easter, & Margot’s birth). We’ve built on to the building to expand our ability to entertain more guests, covered up the mud with asphalt, put a roof on the pergola for the outdoor market, built shelves and displays, arranged and rearranged countless times, and even installed a projector and screen for 100″ of TV in the cafe. We’ve opened early and late for community events like outdoor market sales, parties, trick or treating, Santa even came for photos with the kids. It’s been a BIG first year!

To all of our friends old and new, we thank you for your support! If I made a list, it would take forever to write all of your names down, so I won’t do that. I do have one person to thank specifically that many of you might not know is involved. Bill Smith and his family have provided us with the property and building to accomplish this community building effort for Paxton. Without Bill’s generosity and the cooperation of the educational trust, the Meghan Burkhart-Smith Foundation (in memorial of his daughter), we would Photo May 06, 7 56 25 AMbe set up in an old house without the capacity to reach the community like we have here. So the next time you see him, thank him. He put it out there that he wanted someone to do something with his building and land to benefit Paxton’s community, and we took him up on the offer. This day would just be another day if we hadn’t. Thank you, Bill. We really appreciate you! Thank you employees old and new… Jenn, Haleigh, Danielle, Robert, Karlie, and Emily. You help us keep it going! Thank you Paxton and the surrounding areas for taking part, for shopping and eating locally, and for helping us build up the community for everyone’s benefit!

So who wants some gourmet coffee? (I got freshly roasted coffee yesterday) … It’s on the house today :)

What’s new? LOTS!

At FFM Cafe we strive to be different. Most of you are probably thinking, “Y’all don’t have to try that hard! *snicker*”, and you would be correct. We are sometimes just plain weird, but that’s not a bad thing! Feel free to blame Dave… He’s used to it.

Speaking of Dave… He has been tinkering with the menu lately, and some delicious combinations have come from it. Enter: Chicken Pancetta Ciabatta! It’s a mouth-watering combination of grilled Italian chicken, grilled onions, crispy thick-cut bacon, melty monterey jack cheese, all piled high on a rustic Italian ciabatta loaf. It may be hard to say, but its name isn’t the only thing that makes it a mouth-full.

Keeping in the chicken mode of things, the “Summer Snow” salad was added to the menu due to its extreme popularity during the Christmas in July promotion. It’s just called “Grilled Chicken Salad” on the menu now, and it is exactly the same aside from an improvement in the preparation of the chicken. It’s now marinated to keep it moist and delicious even after a little grill treatment… Mmmmm!

We also expanded our breakfast menu to include sausage. Just say “no” to rubbery, hard, hockey-puck-like patties! Our sausage is tender and tasty like it ought to be. Coupled with scrambled eggs and real cheddar cheese on our buttermilk biscuits, you will find our hot breakfast hard to beat at a price you can afford. Forget the heat lamps at the fast food joints and gas stations. You deserve to have your breakfast prepared fresh for you!

Haleigh and Dave have been mixing it up in the kitchen and creating milkshakes you can’t find elsewhere. Next time you are in, check out our new milkshakes: Root Beer or Orange Creamsicle. Our milkshakes are made from hand-dipped real ice cream and flavored with real ingredients rather than sugary syrups and powders in soft-serve. Old fashioned, yes. Outstanding, also yes.

Coming soon… We will be breaking out the barista skills and whipping up lattes and cappuccinos reminding Paxton that you don’t have to drive out of town to get a gourmet coffee drink. Get ready!