Farmer’s Markets make the perfect venue for leisurely shopping when you need great produce, flowers, handmade gifts and baked goods. It’s the perfect Saturday morning activity where you can choose the freshest and healthiest vegetables and fruits to complement your meals throughout the week and perhaps pick up a colorful bouquet of flowers to set your table just right. One-of-a-kind gift ideas and artisan crafts appeal to most people who are searching for unique finds that are both good for the environment and easy on the wallet.
The Sarasota Farmer’s Market has been a hometown staple for the past 37 years. The market now includes over 70 vendors and occupies over 5,000 square feet of produce and plants. It is open every Saturday from 7:00 A.M.to 1:00 P.M. and is located at Lemon Avenue and State Street. This popular market is a regional-draw for its abundance of fresh locally grown and farm-produced items, wide assortment of prepared foods, live music and high quality artisan and craft products. Currently, market vendors and concerned citizens are working with city officials in hopes to save Pineapple Park, an adjoining piece of land that the market uses. A concerted movement to encourage the city to donate the land as green space is underway.
There are several other farmer’s markets in the area also, with varying times, dates and locations to keep your pantry stocked with the freshest of everything. And there are even online farmer’s markets to accommodate hectic schedules with ease of ordering freshly grown produce with a few quick keystrokes when you have time. Convenient meeting places and group pricing are enticing to those who lack the time to venture out to a farmer’s market, but who also possess a strong desire for the healthiest and freshest foods available to feed our families. Markets that are open all week long or who have developed niches among organic-only followers are also readily available. When our northern friends are bundling up for the cold days ahead, we have the luxury of experiencing fall and winter, Florida-style, with plenty of sunshine and an abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Take some time this week to support your good health and your neighbors by purchasing locally grown and produced healthful products at a number of local destinations.
If you’re heading to the beach this weekend, you may want to stop in at the Siesta Key Farmer’s Market, which is held every Sunday from 8:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. at Siesta Village. Organic produce, tea, plants, olive oils, pastries and breads delight the senses as you wander the quaint but popular outdoor market. Clothing, gifts, pottery and locally made jewelry are also sold.
Detwiler’s Farm Markets are open throughout the week and operate several locations throughout the county, including two stores in Sarasota and one in Venice. This local favorite has been serving the area with farm-fresh produce, a deli, nursery, ice-cream, baked goods and more in a nostalgic old-time farmer’s market atmosphere. The original Detwiler’s Farm Market is located at 6000 Palmer Boulevard in Sarasota.
Central Sarasota Farmer’s Market is another option at 4454 S. Beneva Road, Sarasota. Visitors to the market enjoy a variety of greens and fruits, homemade baked goods, meats, prepared foods and craft items. Produce vendors are required to also be growers at this market, which is open every Saturday from 8:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M., rain or shine.
Jessica’s Organic Farm Stand is a neighborhood favorite near Honore and University Boulevard. Featuring organically grown fruits and vegetables with seasonal favorites like berries, lettuce and corn, this small stand draws a steady stream of longtime-regulars and others looking for quality organic produce that is often harvested and sold on the same day. They are located at 4180 47th St. in Sarasota. Their hours of operation are Friday from noon to 7:30 P.M., Saturday 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., and Sunday 11:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
The Phillippi Farmhouse Market offers an open-air market on the grounds of Phillippi Estate Park every Wednesday from 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. Over 40 vendors sell a mix of fresh fruits and vegetables and shoppers can also enjoy baked goods, prepared foods, handmade arts, crafts and jewelry. Live music adds to the ambiance as you stroll the grounds.
Fruitville Grove, a family-owned market at 7410 Fruitville Rd., is another local favorite for fresh fruits and vegetables, ice cream, and a nice assortment of Amish baked goods, cheeses and jams. Their annual Pumpkin Festival has grown to be one of the most-widely attended fall events in the area.
Gather your favorite hand-made basket or decorative bag, or purchase one at one of your favorite farmer’s market, and fill it with the freshest, eye-appealing and most delicious foods. Don’t forget to check out our local talent for their crafts or wares that they bring to the market. You might also notice that the vendors are just some of the nicest people to do business with!
Photos: Organic Produce at Siesta Key Farmer’s Market by Larry Hoffman on Flickr, commercial use allowed
Farmer’s Markey by Clyde Robinson on Flickr, commercial use allowed