CAPE HAZE — Tucked between the ice cream freezer and the ginger ale is a variety of hard-to-find fine wines at the Cape Haze Convenience Store.
At 10 a.m. today, Theresa Falcone invites guests to her convenience store for a wine tasting and grand opening of the Cape Haze Fresh Market, which will set up behind the store, 6900 Placida Road.
“What’s so special about this Masciarelli Wine is that it’s served at local restaurants like Scarpa’s Coastal and the Temptation Restaurant on Boca Grande and Noy’s Bistro in Rotonda,” she said. “But if you like this South African blend called Post House for $44 in the restaurants, there’s only once place you can get it to take home — and that’s here, and for half of the price. You cannot buy these 25 different wines at Publix or any local store.”
Falcone says newcomers will be surprised while visiting the convenience store she’s owned for nearly two years.
“It’s all about the comfort cooking here,” said the Brooklyn native. “Everything is homemade, including the noodles we use for our manicotti. Our sauce is cooked for six hours before the meatballs touch it. Nothing is fried.
“During the early days of the pandemic — when people didn’t want to go shopping — they could get a home-cooked meal for a good price delivered curbside,” she said. “We do catering, so we had no problem helping people with homemade meatloaf and stuffed pork chops. My chef Lori Ann is Italian and from the Bronx. She’s great.”
One by one, Falcone greets customers and their children by name. She knows who likes her homemade apple pie and who favors the Italian subs at her store.
“Last year, when everything was closed, we had some of our regulars ask if they could sing outside the store for tips,” she said. “People were out of work and needed help. We opened the parking lot to Dakin Farms to come and sell their milk to help them keep their farm during the really tough times.”
Falcone said she envisioned a farmers market for nearly two years and is happy to finally open.
“Mr. C’s Produce is so fresh he handpicks the produce himself,” Falcone said. “We have local artists, recycled art, Green Roads CBD, fresh seafood, orchids and live plants and so much more from about 25 vendors. We sell Kristin’s homemade key lime pies. She’s a vendor who comes up from Fort Myers. People love her pies.”
According to Chris Phelps, managing partner for the market, there’s also jams, jellies, honey, pre-made pies, kettle corn, barbecue, table-top gardens, local glass art, handmade jewelry, repurposed art, coffee, spices, smoothies, free-range eggs, clothing, local authors, and a life wellness coach.
“Each week, a local charity is featured like the Peace River K9 Rescue and Jesus Loves You Ministry, as well as live music, courtesy of area businesses,” Phelps wrote in an email to The Daily Sun, adding the market follows CDC guidelines for mask-wearing, social distancing, including the tents, and has hand sanitizer available. ”Disposable masks are available as well to keep Englewood safe.”
In February, the market will open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every other Saturday to serve the area’s working families. Special attractions and live music are planned in the coming months.
“This plaza sat vacant for eight years,” said Falcone, a member this year’s Englewood Chamber’s Leadership Englewood class. “I knew the community needed a store like mine. The Freedom Boat Club is behind us. When someone needs something, we are right here.”
For more information on the Cape Haze Fresh Market , for updates on Facebook. Interested in becoming a vendor? Send an email to CapeHazeFreshMarket@gmail.com for an application.