Palafox Market Celebrates 11 Years in May
Palafox Market began eleven years ago as a loosely-organized seasonal farmers market with a handful of vendors. It is now open every Saturday year-round and has more than 150 vendors showcasing products from cold brew coffee to organic beauty products and anything in between. To celebrate the market — and thank its vendors and thousands of loyal customers — Palafox Market will hold an anniversary celebration on May 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition to the usual market offerings, visitors will enjoy an expanded kids’ area, live music, celebrity chef food tastings featuring fresh vendor ingredients and much more.
Set between Wright and Garden Streets along the crepe-myrtle lined Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, Palafox Market is a hub for visitors and residents, drawing crowds of up to 7,000 to downtown Pensacola on Saturdays rain or shine. The market has an artisanal spirit, with vendors curated to provide an eclectic mix of items: locally grown and produced dairy products, bakery items, chef prepared foods, produce, cheeses, eggs and more—and hand-wrought, hand-designed and hand-made jewelry, paintings, metalworks, soaps and more.
Palafox Market’s success is no coincidence. The market is built upon the passions of its eclectic vendors, who range from military veterans to high school anatomy teachers.
For some, it’s been an avenue to grow their family businesses. Fifth generation farmer Mark Fortune has been a vendor for five years but his Laurel Hill farm — Big Creek Farms — has been in the Fortune family for over 150 years. Other vendors have been able to make their dream job a reality since joining the Palafox Market community. “We founded our mom-and-pop bee operation in 2007 based on a daydream,” said Cheryl Kittrell of local honey company, Kittrell’s Daydream Apiary. “We began participating in local farmer’s markets in the area when Palafox Market began and there were 18 vendors.” Eleven years later, the honey-makers have a list of award-winning products and a thriving business.
Seventeen-year-old Ben Kent of Citrus Coldfusion sells acrylic pour paintings to fund his college education. Crystal Caraballo of Straight Up Cake started selling slices of scratch-made cake at the Palafox Market six months ago and often uses her grandmother’s recipes. “I went from working at a hospital to staying at home with my two girls and baking,” said Caraballo.
Many Palafox Market vendors have serious accolades under their belts. LA Gourmet’s barbeque sauces have been featured on Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate” show. The all-natural handmade soaps crafted by Harmony Creek Farms can be found in Ritz-Carton hotels around the country, and owners Ruta and Ali Qureshi were chosen to make custom soaps as part of a special package for former President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration. Career military officer-turned-children’s book writer Sandy Meyer’s books are read in schools throughout the country, and one of his books is currently being considered for an animation. Sandpiper Studio’s noted maritime painter, Gary Partin, has sold his paintings at the market for about five years, but his art can also be found on the cover of fishing magazines, calendars and even in the historical library of late Congressman Robert L. F. Sykes.
Celebrate the impact that these vendors and the market have had on downtown Pensacola at Palafox Market's anniversary celebration, or any Saturday between 9am-2pm.