The Frenchtown community has a rich history in Tallahassee dating back to the early 1800s. After the Civil War, newly freed slaves moved from plantations to nearby towns and neighborhoods such as Frenchtown.
The area boomed with commerce, community and culture with businesses, schools and churches. Some of those businesses included the Red Bird Café and Café Deluxe that hosted famous musicians such as Ray Charles and the Adderly brothers.
The Frenchtown Neighborhood Association, located on North Martin Luther King Boulevard, has been around since the mid-1900s. The association hosts the Frenchtown Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on selective Saturdays. The market has food vendors and miscellaneous arts and crafts.
The organization has a food pantry and childcare food program where it feeds local schools and partners with Second Harvest to collect fresh foods and give back to the community.
In recent years, the association has worked with those seeking jobs, housing and transportation. This summer they are working with local churches and camps, feeding school-aged children in the community.
“I always ask myself what will attract more people to the market and the answer is music. The Frenchtown Market has not been the same since COVID, the community hardly comes out for the market, so we are working to build it back up,” said Meltonia Chandler, the association’s director of operations.
Morgan Hutchinson, a Florida A&M student, is a fan of the market.
“I have lived here for the majority of my college life, and I really enjoy attending the Frenchtown Farmers Market. It allows me to meet new people, support local businesses and purchase fresh foods, it’s a win-win,” Hutchinson said.
The Frenchtown Neighborhood Association also hosts the Tallahassee Farmers Promotion Program. The program uses a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that promotes and establishes farmers markets in Leon, Gadsden and Jefferson counties. It is designed to empower local farmers and entrepreneurs with better marketing and technical skills for a successful business.
Another program the association provides is KitchenShare. It is a communal kitchen program for local food entrepreneurs who would like to grow their craft. A local food support system called Heritage Hub is made to diversify the city’s economy. KitchenShare provides the operational space for businesses to get their ideas off the ground and take them to the next level.
The Frenchtown community hopes to continue growing and keeping its history alive.
For more information on the Frenchtown Neighborhood Improvement Association and its programs, you can follow the Facebook page @FrenchtownFarmersMarket and visit their website ** Frenchtown Farmers Market **