Wednesday, December 5 marked the opening of The Market for its second season in Lakewood Ranch. Located on the grounds of the Sarasota Polo Fields, the Market returns this year with 40 vendors, a significant increase from last year according to market manager Morgan Bettes.
Each Wednesday the Market will have a featured activity on the grounds as visitors enter from the parking area. This week the 73 Degree Flea hosted a Traveling Maker’s Market with an assortment of crafts ranging from distinctive jewelry to soaps and oils, and even engraved swizzle sticks, for a unique hostess gift. Next week the activity is a create-your-own wreath workshop, and the fourth Wednesday of each month is reserved for bingo. Sign-up is required for the wreath making, which can be found on the Lakewood Ranch website by clicking here
Worden Farms has a significant presence toward the entrance of the market. In addition to picking up a pre-ordered organic produce subscription box visitors can now choose from a variety of the farms’ organic lettuces, herbs, vegetables or even pick up a bundle of sunflowers. As more people attend the market Worden Farms will accommodate increased interest.
Another popular attraction was the pen of baby goats which belong to Yolker’s Wilde Dairy Goats farm. Glenna Roberts from the dairy sold a variety of goat’s milk cheeses including feta, kefir and creme fraiche. She said she will expand her selection to include additional cheeses and yogurts in future weeks.
As I strolled down the lane of vendors I was pleased to see there really is something for everyone. There’s fresh baked breads, Key Lime pie, skincare products, jams and jellies and seasoning mixes. Jubilee Organics is just one of the new vendors who bring new meaning to “farm to table.” They sell jarred soups, chilis and a “Miracle Mango Nectar” — all from products grown on their 12-acre farm in Palma Sola. I was sold when I tasted a sample of the mango nectar.
As I continued my walk I couldn’t miss the hot pink banner from “Bite Me Cookies by Cindy.” These giant cookies come in five varieties, plus a gluten free option. According to Cindy’s son, who was working at the booth, the Chocolate Chunk and White Chocolate Macadamia cookies are their best-sellers.
The market is the perfect mid-week pick-me-up; even if visitors aren’t interested in shopping, per-say, they can relax, get a bite to eat at one of the food trucks and enjoy live music.
The Market at LWR is a community endeavor. The local YMCA also hosts sunset yoga every Wednesday on the grounds at 5:30. Hours for the Market are 3 to 7 pm, every Wednesday from December through April. Well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome. Learn more at their FB page here.
Photos courtesy of Heidi Schild