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Side dish: Thai grocery store opening 

Panang pick-up

The Springs received its first dedicated Thai grocery store in mid-June, which also serves as a venue for Thai cooking classes and a small take-out eatery. Thai Eats (640-B S. Academy Blvd., thai-eats.com) offers the take-out during regular store hours, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays.

Owner Meaw Merrell, born in Thailand's northern Chiang Mai region, grew up cooking with her mother and siblings and says she's always cooked at home. She's priced her daily-changing menu super reasonably: three-item meal combos run $5.95, with à la carte curry entrées running $3 and stir-fries, soups and noodle plates costing only $2.

As for the classes, she began offering them out of her home kitchen in 2007. On South Academy, they'll be available by appointment from 6 to 8 p.m., and will top out at six people (minimum four people, $50 per head). Expect four courses, prepped, taught and sampled, with leftovers to-go — anything from papaya salad and Thai eggrolls to mango sticky rice with coconut cream.

Growing scene

A tiny new farmers market started last week and will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesdays through October at the three-week-old Mother Nature's Sun (325 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 634-4769), a grow store and nursery.

Calhan's Heritage Belle Farms (heritagebellefarms.com) is selling sustainably raised pork and chicken, as well as eggs, there. And local nonprofit BizKidz International (bizkidzintl.org), which teaches youths entrepreneurial skills, is selling sustainably grown vegetables from its urban gardens.

MNS co-owner Lori Faff, a former medical marijuana dispensary owner, says that although the new shop does carry equipment that MMJ growers can use, it's more geared toward hydroponic growing at-large, for those interested in raising food indoors year-round. "We're really trying to focus on sustainable living," she says, "encouraging people to grow their own."

Mingle plates

In January, we reported that five-year-old Faerie Tales Bakehouse and Catering (1015 W. Colorado Ave., faerietalesbakehouseandcatering.com) had moved into the former Le Bistro space under mother-daughter crew Lindsay and Marty Williamson.

In early June, the outfit expanded from just catering to regular lunch and dinner service (11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, until 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays), as well as Sunday brunches (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.).

Lindsay says the menus are big on desserts and small-plate appetizers, but also feature soups, salads and heartier fare like buffalo or pulled pork sliders. Check the eatery's Facebook page or call ahead to avoid occasional catering-related closures.

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