First Friday events draw praise from local businesses


Susan and Frank Fisherman of Viera, co-owners of Papa Pasquale Ravioli and Pasta Company, pose in front of their vendor stand at the First Friday event held in Viera Regional Park on Aug. 3.

VIERA VOICE Chris Bonanno

The First Friday food truck and farmers market events, held on the first Friday of each month at Viera Regional Park and jointly produced between Brevard County South Area Parks and Recreation and Viera Park Market, give locals an opportunity to unwind and socialize in a festive atmosphere.

But for some local businesses, the event is extremely important in that it represents one of, if not their biggest opportunities monthly, to sell their products.

Take for example the case of Viera residents Susan and Frank Fisherman, who own Papa Pasquale Ravioli and Pasta Company, a company that also sells other Italian products such as eggplant rollatini, chicken parmigiana and fried Sicilian artichokes. The duo started their business, which Susan Fisherman said sells products that are manufactured in Brooklyn from old family recipes, last August and sells only at farmers markets. That makes events like First Friday a vital part of the success of the business.

“We do a farmers market here and then some other areas in Florida and we hope to get into some local stores soon,” Susie Fisherman said. “The market is a wonderful opportunity to expose our product and our brand, as well as the other vendors here and we’re hoping to see the market grow.”

Fisherman added that combining the food trucks and farmers market events seems to help their business.

“The food trucks events always bring out a lot more people so we love doing them,” she said.

Also at the event was Deedra Earl, who represented Grant-Valkaria-based Hidden Palms Farm, which includes a small dairy that produces raw milk and also acts as a distributor for Capra Gia cheese in Georgia.

She said the business already was seeing benefits from participating in the farmers market despite it being just the first time that they had set up at the farmers market.

“We have our cheeses in a couple local restaurants and a couple local stores. (We are) very excited about how supportive people in Brevard are about supporting local businesses, small businesses and just helping the economy here for small American farms and farmers,” Earl said. “We were thrilled. We packed out and we’ve sold out of almost every flavor that we have here at this market. It’s been our best market so far and we’re like super excited.”

Fisherman and Earl’s businesses were just two of the roughly 30 on hand at the Aug. 3 joint event. The event, according to Chris Vawter, recreation leader with Brevard County Parks and Recreations South Area Operations, drew more than 1,200 people. The evening’s weather was about as pleasant as it can be in early August in Brevard County.

“Anything we can do to help out — not only the farmers market but also the food trucks themselves. We’re creating an event that has an opportunity to sell their services, to give their services,” Vawter said.