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  • Strawberry Cookies at Yelptucky Derby

    Do you Yelp?  Yelp is an online community where customers can leave reviews of their experiences at almost any business.  Whether you are looking for a new place to eat in your town, or you are visiting a new town, Yelp has tons of helpful reviews to stir you in the right direction.  We were invited by Yelp Tampa Bay to their Yelptucky Derby event on Friday April 26th at the Winthrop Barn Theatre in Riverview.  Amy and Chef Gary, owners of Wimauma in Tampa, hosted the event.

     

    winthrop barn theatre, strawberry cookies Winthrop Barn Theatre photo courtesy of yelp.com

    This was our second visit to the Winthrop Barn.  In early April, Amy invited us to Chef Gary’s French Country Dinner at the Winthrop Barn.  The dinner consisted of four courses: fresh green salad with a poached egg, Pork sausage with wilted spinach, grits and feta cheese, a second main course of red wine braised duck leg with lentil Brussels sprouts, apples and L’Orange sauce and a pickled peach clafoutis with basil Chantilly.

    Winthrop Barn, strawberry cookies French Country Dinner


    Every dish was perfectly executed.  Just amazing.  The braised duck leg with L’Orange sauce and the basil Chantilly were my favorite.  I will never forget either dish.  I almost licked the sauce off the plate with my finger.  That Basil Chantilly, so delicately sweetened, is what I would imagine a cloud would taste like.  They are hosting another theme dinner at the Winthrop Barn this Wednesday, May 1st at 6:30pm.  Here’s a link for more information.  If you are available, you should really check them out.

    Screen shot 2013-04-29 at 7.39.47 PM

    Along with Chef Gary’s offerings, other local restaurants were sampling their food: Pelagia Trattatoria, Hula Bay, Eats, Fred’s Market and the corner store.

    Screen shot 2013-04-29 at 7.40.10 PM

    Hula Bay had some amazing ceviche and my favorite sushi roll made with cucumber instead of rice.  Fred’s Market was sampling their grits with salmon and field green salad.  I didn’t get a chance to try the dish, but everyone was raving about it.

    photo_1 Parkesdale Strawberry Cookies

    And you know what other people were raving about???? Our Strawberry Cookies!!!! Most people at the event had never heard of our famous cookies.  I almost felt like the cookie fairy.  These people would take one bite and immediately smile.  They couldn’t believe how fresh they tasted.  By the end of the night, people were coming back to our booth to get some cookies to go.  Mission accomplished!

    photo

    If you are still on the fence about our strawberry cookies, you better hurry.  We only have the cookies seasonally and we’ll probably have them for another week or so.

    Have you used yelp before? 

    Have you had our cookies?

  • Looking for a u pick blueberry farm?

    Looking for a u pick blueberry farm? It's that time of year were blueberries in Florida are at is ripest.  This is the time most farms begin their u-pick period.  Blueberries have been on the media lately as they've become a member of the "super foods" group.  According to the Florida Blueberry Growers Association, blueberries are full of cancer fighting anti-oxidants and anti-aging/memory enhancement nutrients.

    Here's a list of local blueberry farms who are now open for U-picks.  Remember to dress comfortably when visiting these farms, wear a cap/hat and bring sunscreen.  Also, bring cash and please call ahead to make sure they are open.  But most of all, have fun!

    Big Bear Farms

    u pick blueberry farms

    Big Bear Farms is located at 7606 Kinard Rd, Plant City, FL.  Big Bear Farms will be open April 26 from 1pm to 6 pm and April 27 from 9 am to 6 pm.  In addition to blueberries, they sell elderberries and un-gassed tomatoes.  Please remember to bring cash and call before heading out there.  Big Bear Farms can be reached at (813) 986-1152 or via email at bigbearfarms@verizon.net.

     

     Keel and Curley Winery

    u pick blueberry farms photo courtesy of www.keelandcurley.com

    Keel and Curley Winery is located at 5210 W. Thonotosassa Road in Plant City, FL.  Their Winery is open year around, but their fields are only open for U-pick during their Annual Blueberry Festival.  This year they are celebrating their 6th Annual Tampa Bay Blueberry Festival on April 27 and 28, 2013.  Entrance to the Festival is free, but they charge a $5 parking fee.  For more information, please contact them directly at (813) 752-9100.

    Update: Keel and Curley will be open for U-pick Saturday, May 4th and Sunday, May 5th from 8 am to 2 pm.  They'll provide buckets for you to use.  Blueberries will be $4/lb.

    Kirkland Farms

    u pick blueberry farms Bucket of blueberries courtesy of www.kirklandfarms.net

    Kirkland Farms is located at 2632 Old Medulla Rd in Lakeland FL.  You can check out their Facebook page for u-pick information.   We had some of their blueberries last week and they were amazing.  If you sign up for their email newsletter, they will send you an email Saturday night with u-pick times for Sunday.

     

    Blue Youth Berries Farm

    u pick blueberry farms photo courtesy of www.orangespoken.com

    I found this farm through my friend Steph at Orangespoken.  She's a Parkesdale frequent shopper and a friend.  Her enthusiasm for u-pick farms borders on fanatic. :)  Blue Youth Berries Farm is located at 8201 Cosme Rd in Odessa FL.  For more information, follow this link to their website.

    Are you ready to go blueberry picking?

  • Feeling Fresh...Social Fresh

    Disclosure: I received a free entrance to the Social Fresh Social Media Conference in return for this post.

    After spending almost two days away from the market, my brain is just bursting with ideas.  Listening how big name brands like Jet Blue, Campbell Soup and ESPN do their marketing has made me fall in love with our market all over again.  :)  Obviously, as a small business we do not have the same advertising budgets as some of these giants, but the point is still the same: listen to your customers!

    social media conference

    Spike Jones’ presentation “Word of Mouth – Your Ultimate Distribution channel” resonated with me because that’s what Parkesdale Market is all about.  One of my favorite things to do when I’m at the market is ask customers how they heard about us.  Sometimes they are locals, but a lot of times they are not. So many people at our market tell me they’ve heard of us through a friend, a neighbor, or a coworker.  These “new” customers are so excited to be here.  It’s like they’ve gain access to the secret clubhouse.  Thankfully, they are willing to share us!

     

    Through my time at the market, I’ve heard so many stories about how Grandpa Parke would wear his Parkesdale Farms hat everywhere he went.  And people all over the world would recognize him and say hello.  That’s how you create a community.  He created a “community” of fans and followers before there was Facebook and Twitter.

    social media conference

    Ted Rubin’s presentation “Content Creation is the Ultimate Fan Advocacy” also touched on the same topic of making connections, telling stories and building relationships.  Long after Grandpa Parke “retired”, he still loved coming to the market and shaking hands with customers, sorta reliving the past meanwhile building relationships.  Funny that my takeaway message from a social media conference, would be to follow Grandpa Parke’s footsteps.

    social media conference

    As part of the Social Fresh conference, we were to participate in a group exercise to create a campaign.  Unfortunately, I was unable to participate because I left early to finish some things at the market.  Other friends of mine who participated really enjoyed the networking opportunity the exercise provided.  However, I was still able to make some great connections during break times and through Twitter.

     

    Overall, I was very happy to participate in Social Fresh. The caliber of the speakers and attendees was exactly what I expected, highly qualified motivators and engagers.  My feeling is that after attending a conference, one should feel renovated and motivated to improve.  Otherwise, the time and money spent was a waste.  Social Fresh was definitively a very engaging and motivational conference for me.  I’m already using some of the ideas from the conference and can’t wait to see how Parkesdale Farms’ social media increases throughout 2013.

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