As you drive up to Cheyenne’s Country Thangs in North Tampa, you might first wonder if you’re interrupting a raucous family reunion. The ring of laughter and chatter travels easily over the high wooden gables of Cheyenne’s farmhouse welcoming anyone who stops by.
Just leave your car parked out front and follow the signs. A child’s scrawl on poster board encourages the shy first-timer, “This way! Keep going!”. On the way, you’ll notice a sprawling outdoor flower shop to your left as you approach some of the best in local, farm-fresh foods.
Don’t be fooled by the name; Cheyenne’s Country Thangs sells organic produce, poultry, eggs, cheese, honey, herbs and more. Edible goods any big-city gourmet chef worth his or her salt would welcome to their table.
Cheyenne’s offers two options for accessing these local ingredients: first, a co-op where members pay a fixed fee (around $80 per month) to visit weekly and fill a large paper bag with as many organic vegetables and fruits as they can. Non-members may buy as much or as little as they choose, but for higher prices than those paid by the co-op members.
Cheyenne’s array of produce includes common staples like apples, beans, berries, greens, and tomatoes. But you’re sure to discover a few unusual items, which differ every week. The day I visited, I chose from purple carrots, sunchokes, kiwi berries, Himalayan pink salt and rainbow peppercorn. All are high-quality and free from bruising or nicks in the skin and flesh.
Beyond fresh, organic foods and unusual ingredients, Cheyenne’s also offers confidence and know-how to those who are new to organic cooking. They’ll gladly share advice and tips for making the most of your purchases. They also offer slightly more formal training to the interested and willing: gardening workshops, tastings and cooking seminars for individuals of all experience levels.
Located just off North Dale Mabry in North Tampa, Cheyenne’s Country Thangs is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and definitely worth the drive. You come away with a week’s worth of delicious organic food and a few fresh ideas as to what to do with it in your kitchen.