Port Orange Farmers Market vendors choose to make food their own way for their children’s health.
For two independent vendors of the farmers market in the Pavilion, healthy eating became the cornerstone for their businesses.
Carol Mugo developed a passion for crafting wholesome treats when her niece was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. She wanted to create recipes that her niece could enjoy, and ultimately, that's what she did. It helped with her niece's symptoms, Mugo said. The recipes focused on organic and Non-GMO ingredients without inflammatory foods such as wheat, dairy, soy, corn and nuts.
“I started meeting a lot of others in the Port Orange community that had allergies or other health issues that wanted treats but could not find them,” Mugo said,
That's how her business, The Healthful Baker, was created in Port Orange.
Mugo said she is starting off at the farmers market to gain some recognition for her company. Eventually, she wants to get a commercial kitchen.
“I believe small vendors at the farmers market encourage people to eat healthier because we provide one-on-one interaction, unlike the big supermarkets,” Mugo said.
Mugo believes that sharing her history and personal story will encourage people to move from a conventional diet to a diet that will better support their health.
Brenda Detweiler comes to the farmers market every weekend to purchase treats from The Healthful Baker because of her diet restriction.
“Treats like hers are impossible to find in the area,” Detweiler said. “Take the time to invest in your diet instead of investing in medicines.”
Zachary Harman, owner of Harman Farms in Ormond Beach, and butcher Jason Taylor chose to start a sausage business for similar reasons as Mugo. They wanted to provide healthy foods for their kids.
“We found that we could make chicken thighs taste similar to what you can find in the store without all the extras like nitrates and extra seasonings,” Harman said.
Harman started out by making just a few pounds of sausage for family and friends, and eventually grew to making 300 pounds to sell at the farmers market.
“We do this as a hobby and for the love of the product and our kids,” Harman said.
Not only do the independent vendors encourage customers to eat healthier, but the fresh produce also attracts Port Orange residents like Ted Perarsall, who was at the farmers market picking up various types of lettuce.
“[The farmers market] absolutely encourages me to eat healthier," Perarsall said. "The produce is cheaper, better, and fresher."
For Rocky and Karen Collins, of Port Orange, the farmers market is about more than just the food.
“I want to support local vendors and farmers," Collins said. "We come here every week ... It’s great for the community."