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3 questions with Seden Yapa, farmers market vendor/personal chef 

She offers a fusion of tasty treats distinctive to her Mediterranean homeland

For many of us, the words "farmers market" conjures an image of colorful raw produce. Though this picture is pleasantly refreshing (depending on how plant foods rank in your diet), it omits the many vendors that sell more than just veggies and fruits. Seden Yapa sells one of Matthews Farmers Market's newest foodie delights: handmade and baked goods. Yapa's Turkish-style bakery items include sweet desserts (cookies, cakes and baklava), and tasty pastries and pies, many of which are filled with ingredients like spinach and cheese. Yapa, a native of Iskenderun, Turkey, came to the United States almost four years ago when her husband began a masters program at UNC Charlotte. Yapa always had a passion for cooking, and she creates a fusion of treats that are distinctive to her Mediterranean homeland. Her website (http://sedensturkishcuisine.blog.com) also features other traditional dishes, such as manti (Turkish dumplings with yogurt sauce) that can be pre-ordered and picked up at the market or her home.

Creative Loafing: Have you always been baking and selling goods at farmers markets?

Seden Yapa: I've never sold items there before, but I've always preferred to buy local food from the farmers market instead of buying from a big supermarket.

I was a personal chef back in Turkey. I've always loved to bake. In Charlotte, I first started looking for a space to sell my goods in one of the bigger farmers markets. Then one day some people directed me to the smaller, Matthews Farmers Market. I really like it. The people are very friendly. Now, I wouldn't prefer to be at a bigger one.

Do you use family recipes?

Most of the recipes that I use came from my grandmother. I also use recipes from other family members, friends and people I know. I like to try new stuff. Whenever my mom likes something, she takes the recipe and gives it to me. I'll try it and if I like it, I'll do that, too.

What are some of your best sellers at the farmers market?

It's definitely baklava first. People also really love the spinach cake. It has cranberries and spinach and is actually really healthy. Another item would be the börek, which I make with spinach and feta cheese. It takes like seven or eight hours to make it because I prepare the phyllo dough by myself.

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