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Farmers markets ready for business
May 2, 2007
By Jennifer Chandler

Farmers markets ready for business

By Jennifer Chandler
Special to The Commercial Appeal

May 2, 2007

I am so excited -- farmers market season is finally back...

I know you've heard it a thousand times before, but there truly is nothing better than locally grown produce. A strawberry picked a few days ago from down the road is so much juicer and tastier than one shipped from California or Florida. And no one will dispute that there is nothing better than a Ripley tomato.

On Saturday, the Memphis Farmers Market returns. Fresh off the success of its inaugural 2006 season, the Memphis Farmers Market will again be at the Central Station Pavilion, Front Street at G.E. Patterson, Downtown. Open only on Saturdays 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., this "growers' market" will feature more than 50 local farmers and vendors.

Each week, the Web site (memphisfarmersmarket.org) will list what's in season and the schedule of entertainment and special events.

On the other side of town, the Farmers Market at the Agricenter International (7777 Walnut Grove, 355-1977) is also open. Hours: Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Saturdays 7 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. This market features seasonal fresh produce, flowers, herbs and crafts.

Safari Soiree

On May 10 from 7 to 10 p.m., The Memphis Zoo will host its annual Safari Soiree. This tasty fund-raiser will feature food from 14 area caterers and live music, as well as the chance to mingle under the stars in the Northwest Passage. Tickets are $150 per person or $1,500 for a table of 10. For reservations, call 333-6553.

Special dinners

On Sunday, a benefit for the Memphis Oral School for the Deaf will be held at Frank Grisanti's in the Embassy Suites from 6:30- 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $150 and all proceeds go to the school. For reservations, contact Kathy Smith at the Oral School, 531-6726.

For those who long to visit Thomas Keller's Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry, Thomas Schranz, executive chef at La Tourelle, 2146 Monroe, is preparing a six-course meal based on recipes from Keller's cookbook. The meal will be served at 6:30 p.m. on May 9. The cost of the meal is $65, tax and gratuity not included. Four wines by the glass can be matched to the menu for an additional $25. For reservations, call 726-5771.

Thanks to Midtown

At the end of the year, Morteza Gerani is closing Marena's, 1545 Overton Park, to open a new establishment in East Memphis.

But from now until then, Gerani is offering a special weekday menu of items such as veal Marsala and chicken Parmesan for under $15.

"I want to do something nice for the Midtown neighborhood," says Gerani.

Ground broke last week on the new restaurant, which will be in Brookhaven Circle and co-owned by the Marciano Corp.

Scoop up the good will

Head to your local Baskin- Robbins today from 5 to 10 p.m. to get a scoop of ice cream for 31 cents and to support a worthy cause as Baskin-Robbins honors the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and makes a $100,000 donation. At select stores, you will also be able to donate to your local fire station.

Please share your fabulous food finds and restaurant news with me at jennifer@cookwithjennifer.com.

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