Royal Red Shrimp and Purple Cauliflower


The Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers market will be seeing the season end for some of your favorite winter vegetables on March 4, 2017, while other favorite items are just coming into season. A few interesting vegetables thrive in Florida winters and their appearance just begs for you to try them. One of my favorites, is the Romanesco from Kings Kountry Produce. Farmer Tommy King, told me, “It is like a cross between cauliflower and broccoli.” Another find you will have fun with is their colored cauliflowers. You have seen the traditional white cauliflower, however in the winter months it is also grown in orange and purple varieties. Use your favorite white cauliflower recipes when you cook with colored cauliflower; the taste is just about the same. I like to steam it, roast it, mash it, or for a great conversation starter, serve it fresh at your next pot luck supper.

The end of winter is also when the royal red shrimp begin to find their way to the farmers market. Eddie and Debbie Chesser, of Chesser Seafood, bring local shrimp from Mayport every Saturday, and now through May, the “reds” will be available, too. Caught on 100 foot boats, shrimpers go over 60 miles off shore and put out over a mile and a half of line to capture this delish seafood.

Shrimp are priced and sold by weight, with the “heads-on” or the “heads-off”. The farmers market shrimp is priced with the heads on, but, Eddie and Debbie will remove the heads for free if you ask. As the Market Place manager I am often asked about how much less shrimp will weigh when you remove the heads.  Removing the heads will reduce the weight of the shrimp by about 35%, according to the “Seafood Handbook” found at “When the shell is removed weight decreases by another 15%. For example, 100 pounds of heads-on shrimp will result in 65 pounds of heads-off shrimp. When shells are removed 50 pounds of shrimp flesh is the result.”

The Chessers bring hundreds of pounds of shrimp each Saturday and still sell out before the Market Place closes at 1:00 p.m., so please call – or text – your pre-orders to Debbie at (904) 509-3337; she will be happy to reserve your shrimp. 

This week the Market Place is introducing a new, local musician to the farmers market, Jacob Dylon Taylor. Jacob performs as a solo artist, and often with the musicians collective, “None of the Above”, at local and regional venues and events. An artist and social service developer, all proceeds from his work are donated to charity.

Our “Booth with a Cause” this week will be the Big Red Bus. Volunteers will be on-site to help accept your donation or answer your questions about giving blood. Learn how your blood type can direct the best way for you to give this lifesaving gift. Our Business of the Week is Fernandina Beach’s ERA Realty who will be on hand to share information about the upcoming Home and Patio Show at the Atlantic Avenue Recreation Center.