Serving up Portuguese baked goods

ALCINA LIMA'S customers can’t get enough of her home-baked Portuguese sweet bread and other baked goodies.

FRIENDS MARIA Raposo (left) and Alcina Lima at the Terrace farmers market. Alcina has been selling at the market for almost 30 years.

ALCINA LIMA’S customers can’t get enough of her home-baked Portuguese sweet bread and other baked goodies, a fact evident from the queue that regularly forms at her stand.

And the ever-cheery, good-natured vendor appreciates her customers as much as they appreciate her.

“I love to come and bring things from my garden and my home,” says Alcina.

Besides her baking – Portuguese sweet bread, donuts and cookies – Alcina also sells perennial house plants; cut flowers; fruit such as plums, apples, raspberries; plus a few vegetables.

But perhaps more than anything, it’s the homemade Portuguese bread and goodies that keep market attendees lining up.

“A lady just told me that my sweet bread tastes sooo good – the best she’s ever tasted!” says Alcina, who, with characteristic modesty, hesitates at mentioning the praise.

“Everybody who buys my stuff keeps coming back,” she chuckles.

Alcina’s fresh-baked bread and cookies get their start on Thursdays, when she prepares her dough. On Friday, she fires up the oven for the actual baking.

“The customers have always been really nice,” Alcina is quick to point out. “They keep me coming back and enjoying life.”

“People even say thank-you for keeping the prices reasonable,” she adds.

And while Alcina strives to keep her prices reasonable, she also remembers her early years at the market when the most she ever brought home was $20.

Alcina has been selling at the Terrace farmers market since it first opened in the early 1980s.

She credits her three grown children for bringing her to the market these past many years.

“They know I love to come,” she says, “so they always take turns giving me a ride.”

She is also grateful to her husband Manuel for tending to the garden, which produces the cut flowers and vegetables.

For the past year or so, Alcina has been joined at her table by her friend, Maria Raposo, who also sells similar goods.

Together they greet market attendees, their kindly salt-of-the-earth natures blending harmoniously with their Portuguese sweet bread. The Terrace farmers market is held every Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., May to October, rain or shine. It is located in the downtown, adjacent to the George Little Park.