Food and Drink

Sugar Free Pecan Butter? Yum! [Recipe: HelloSWFL Gluten & Sugar Free Apple Pecan Bites!]

Lakes Regional Park in Fort Myers doubles as not only a beautiful recreational landscape but also a weekly local farmer’s market. Every Wednesday vendors flock to the park to sell their unique local produce from 9 am to 1 pm.

Melanie, one of HelloSWFL’s multimedia journalists, and I dropped by and saw residents not only jogging and tending their gardens on the recreational side of the park but also stopping by to buy local produce and chat with the farmers.

Lakes Regional Park provides a community garden, giving people in the community an opportunity to plant their produce. The community garden is also a great way for families to engage in a healthy, inexpensive activity that not only provides them with fresh fruits and vegetables but also brings them closer to nature. These efforts are huge steps in making the city more sustainable and instilling in newer generations the importance of taking care of our natural resources.

We had the chance to meet with the vendors. Some included Dynasty’s creamy guacamole and Lizzie’s Lights homemade scented candles. One of my personal favorites was Lutz, a local farmer who makes sugar-free pecan butter. He showcased his most famous version sea salt and cinnamon. I enjoyed the smooth texture of the butter coupled with the faint sweetness the cinnamon brought.

His pecan butter contains no sugar, additives, and is from 100% pecans. Lutz explained that some many companies claim to create pure pecan butter, but they mix it with other nuts to make a profit, which he claims compromises the taste. Melanie uses his pecan butter to make her tasty apple pecan bites. For the recipe, check out the video below!

Many visitors enjoyed the openness of the local farmer’s market in Lakes Regional Park compared to Sanibel’s local farmer’s market. Instead of rows of closely placed tents, Melanie and I had the chance to examine produce freely. We could chat with farmers without stepping into the next tent, and enjoy having one-on-one conversations with the farmers themselves. Open space helped since there were crowds of residents moving from tent to tent.

Local Fort Myers resident, Rashimba Bloom, mentioned that even though some of the produce may not be ‘certified’ USDA organic, local farmers grow their food without the use of pesticides, as opposed to the limited amount of pesticides used by USDA .

Lake Regional Park was a treat. Melanie and I sampled some great food and met some amazing people. This farmer’s market adds value to the local area by making it more sustainable, green and community driven.

Lakes Regional Park has been putting on local farmer’s markets in the Southwest Florida area for the past eight years! Learn more from some of the vendors, be sure to check us out on Facebook and leave any comments about your favorite local treats!

Until next time,

Hello SWFL