For months, my parents bragged about this produce market in Melbourne that served awesome hot food and had all kinds of cool stuff. My parents apparently shop at Downtown Produce a few times a month, and then eat lunch when they’re finished. They both tell me that the hot lunch line is always long, and that the food portions are delicious and large, so large in fact that they usually share a meal. They have all kinds of pasta, my mom said. Lots of good wine, my dad said. I finally had to go see it for myself.
Downtown Produce is family owned and operated (since 1982). It’s much more than a produce market. The market offers produce from all over the nation, an extensive assortment of wine and beer, freshly prepared “comfort foods” (by resident chefs), and a gourmet grocery. It’s also a wholesale distributor for many Central Florida restaurants.
I was greeted by a rather large sign that was hugely overwhelming when I first entered the market. I knew then I was going to love this place.
Then I noticed large mounds of fresh produce, a meat and seafood counter, gourmet food products, and prepared comfort foods. The market offered an array of freshly prepared hot foods, and I’m told the menu changes daily.
I so wanted to bring home several desserts, but I was also love-struck by the cheese counter and I nearly cried when I saw the large assortment of imported pastas (my weakness).
It was a tough decision, but I opted for the pasta. I debated for sometime between long spaghetti or a macaroni. I picked up a bag of Maestri Pastai’s Pennoni Rigati, mainly because it reminded me of extra-large rigatoni. I haven’t made it yet, but soon I’ll serve it with a meat sauce and a good Chianti.
One of the big draws at Downtown Produce is, of course, the produce. I noticed that they carried many produce items that are often hard to find in the grocery stores like baby zucchini, poblano peppers (double yum), and tiny yellow squash. I picked up a couple of packages of baby zucchini for my mom, which she prepared after I left so I didn’t get to taste them. I suspect this was on purpose.
I noticed, too, that Downtown Produce carries the line of Dr. Oetker products, many of which I use in baking. My mom got attached to these products when we lived in Germany, and we’ve used them ever since. They’re hard to find in Orlando, but Downtown Produce has them all.
I might have spent hours gazing at all the gourmet food products Downtown offers, specifically the assortment of olive oils and vinegar, but the extensive wine and beer collection got my attention. I think it may be possible to drink a different brand of wine or beer every day and not have the same thing twice for many months, maybe even a year. A challenge worth taking, I think.
I stood at the meat counter for sometime, but it, the seafood counter, and the hot food stations were so crowded that I really couldn’t get a good look at all of the food. That’s okay; I returned to the gourmet foods and soon became absorbed in all that I wished I could buy that day.
If you’re in West Melbourne, or not too far away, it’s worth your time to visit Downtown Produce. You won’t leave empty-handed.
Downtown Produce Market & More
7856 Ellis Road
West Melbourne, FL