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Will East End Market become Orlando’s new food hub?

The community market on Corrine Drive faces competition from all sides, but says “a rising tide lifts all boats”

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Heather Grove, John Rife and Gabby Lothrop

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

It gets easier to picture it all when we get to the vendors tasting at Palmer’s. While enjoying a particularly tasty wine-and-cheese pairing, the image of surrounding myself in this lifestyle is electric. I feel as ready to see this happen as any of the organizers; like many of the others here, I’ve worked toward goals of food sustainability for years. So is it finally happening? Is it viable? Should we see East End Market as a tangible expression of the local interest that led to the creation of the Audubon Park Community Market and the Homegrown Co-op, or does the recent shake-up in which Homegrown got a whole new board of directors suggest that interest still hasn’t manifested in a commercial way?

On June 14, Rife and Lothrop posted a teaser video on East End’s Facebook page that featured them talking about the Audubon Park Community Market on Monday night and asking, “But if you miss Monday night, then what?” The whole time, they are standing in front of a bustling East End Market, with people milling about in front of the new vendor counters, brought into being with the magic of CGI. The two feign surprise at finding this beautiful imaginary market open, and begin talking in shocked tones about the possibility of a permanent farmer’s market.

“Maybe Orlando’s not ready,” says Rife.

Lothrop smiles. “Maybe Orlando is very hungry.”

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