Sample, Sip & Savor Your Way Through This West Orange Gem!
by Kirsten Harrington
With a weekly farmers market; lively festivals; numerous restaurants; and artisan shops selling gourmet goods like craft beer, chocolate and olive oil, Winter Garden is a food-lover’s paradise. The following is just a small peek at what the area has to offer:
• This weekend is a great time to head to Winter Garden for the sixth annual Blues & BBQ (Feb. 18, from 4–10 p.m., at the Downtown Pavilion, 104 Lakeview Ave.). Bring your lawn chair and enjoy the sounds and flavors of the South, with all profits benefiting the American Cancer Society.
Fresh crawfish, drink specials and live music are part of the Big Easy’s Mardi Gras celebration Feb. 28.
• Let the good times roll and celebrate Mardi Gras at the Big Easy on Feb. 28 with fresh crawfish, drink specials and live music (15502 Stoneybrook West Parkway, 407-654-3279).
• Green thumbs and novices alike can learn about organic gardening and plant-based cooking, and bring home some edible plants from Spring Fever in the Garden on April 8 and April 9. Admission is free, and the event is pet-friendly. For more information, visit www.springfeveringarden.com.
Learn Something New
• Don’t know the difference between a porter and a pilsner? Sign up for Crooked Can Brewing Co.’s tours, held on Sunday afternoons (www.crookedcan.com). A $5 fee gets you a glass of your favorite brew from this small-craft brewery located in Plant Street Market (426 W. Plant St.). While you are there, options abound to satisfy your hunger, from pizza to ice pops and sushi to smoothies. More than 20 vendors offer local, organic and natural products to sample, enjoy al fresco or take home for later.
• Learn to appreciate the complexities of premium olive oil and aged vinegars at The Sacred Olive (125 W. Plant St.) and indulge in some samples. Stay tuned for exciting new cooking classes coming this spring.
• The nearby Roper YMCA (100 Windermere Road) will be hosting its next event in an ongoing series of cooking demonstrations Feb. 22 at 10:30 a.m. Try a sample and learn how easy healthy, tasty cooking can be. Stop by the YMCA on Tuesday mornings from 9 a.m.-noon for fresh produce at the weekly produce stand. Nonmembers are welcome.
Beckmeyer Family Farms in Winter Garden provides u-pick strawberries and other seasonal offerings.
• There are plenty of spots to get your hands on local produce. Roll up your sleeves and head to Beckmeyer Family Farms (1055 E. Story Road) for u-pick strawberries and hydroponic vegetables. Find the company on Facebook for hours and seasonal offerings.
• The Farmacy has just the prescription for healthy eating with weekly protein and produce baskets showcasing the best from local organic farmers. Visit them (18 E. Joiner St.) for grass-fed beef, raw milk, organic produce and more (www.jointhefarmacy.com).
• And, of course, don’t miss Winter Garden Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Downtown Pavilion (104 S. Lakeview). It offers a treasure trove of fresh produce, baked goods and local food vendors. In addition, live music is performed from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
One of the fun things about visiting Winter Garden is that there is always something new to discover. If you haven’t visited in the past year or so, here are a few new finds:
• Melts on Main Street has moved in (108 S. Main) to offer a full lineup of grilled-cheese sandwiches, soups, Sunday brunch and meals-to-go.
• The Deli Downtown (18 N. Boyd St.) is another newcomer, serving sandwiches, soups and salads, along with wine and beer with patio seating.
• At Market to Table Cuisine (146 W. Plant St.), chef Ryan Freelove serves seasonally inspired American cuisine for lunch and dinner.
• Kaebisch Chocolate (50 W. Plant St.) is the newest place to get your coffee and chocolate fix with beautiful decadent treats.
• Pollo Tropical and Pei Wei Asian Diner add to the quick-serve options now available at Winter Garden Village at Fowler Groves.
With something delicious waiting around every corner, Winter Garden is the perfect destination for a romantic date night or weekend family outing, so grab your appetite and favorite friends and head on over. 💓