August 2-8, 2020 is National Farmers Market Week
Please Support Your Local Florida Farmers & Farmers Markets!
NOTE: These photos with people were taken pre-COVID. In compiling this article, we checked to see which Florida Farmers Markets are still open, but it’s a good idea to check the website for each individual market since everything is rapidly evolving. Please stay well, practice social distancing and wear a mask.
Boy, are we fortunate to live in Florida! While other states tend to have a “season” for Farmers Markets, the Sunshine State has an abundance of incredible choices year-round. Most of the markets happen once a week, usually on the weekend; while some of these markets are open daily. No matter where you live in the great state of Florida, you are pretty much guaranteed that an authentic Florida Farmers Market is not too far away.
It’s always an adventure to explore these unique, homegrown markets. A Farmers Market is one of the best ways to learn from and buy directly from food producers. We recommend hitting one whenever your travels bring you to a new city/town (in fact, we often pick a Florida Farmers Market as the epicenter for a road trip and then explore the area before heading home). It’s a great way to experience the flavor of the community. Each one tends to have its own personality and usually includes a surprise vendor or two … or dozen. Plus, the vibe is always very casual, laid back and friendly. There’s something for everyone no matter what age you are.
Make sure you wear comfortable shoes because you’ll be doing some serious walking, especially at the larger markets. In this era of social distancing, it’s important to be mindful and wear a mask.
We love to grab a cup of coffee or fresh juice and simply roam around without an agenda. We will scan the whole market before deciding what we are going to purchase.
Florida Farmers Markets are also a great place to do some serious people-watching. It’s always fun to observe which booths attract the most traffic and what is being purchased. You can also pretty much spot the regulars vs the first-timers.
Farmers Market Tips
Here’s a tip: Try to remember to bring your own reusable grocery bags, so you can fill them up with your purchases. Many of the vendors offer plastic bags, but it’s a good idea to bring your own. We also like to throw a cooler in our trunk. It never fails … when we don’t do that we usually find amazing frozen items.
The majority of markets have traditional fruit and vegetable selections, but there is so much more to be sampled and revered since each Farmers Market is different. We spoke with several farmers and vendors who told us they travel away from their farms/homes to other parts of the state to set up their booths. Some jump around each week, while others put a stake in the ground and build up a loyal following at one particular market. We find it’s always exciting to stumble upon a booth whose home base is another county in the state and sometimes the vendors come from out-of-state.
It’s also enjoyable getting to know the farmers/vendors and hearing their backstories. Many grew up on farms and it has been a part of their family for many generations. Several farmers told us they work on their farm several days a week and spend their weekends traveling to various farmers’ markets around the state.
The last Farmers Market we visited had a Jerky booth. We expect in Florida to see alligator jerky, but Kangaroo Jerky?!? (Are there kangaroos in Florida besides at zoos/attractions … oh wait, what about the one who escaped recently in Ft. Lauderdale?). Anyway, we certainly weren’t expecting to see something like that nor were we interested in sampling it, but it did stop us in our tracks and inspire us to check it out. As we enjoyed our grilled brie sandwich with arugula and green apples, we had fun watching people checking out the various jerky options. Did we mention how much we enjoy people watching?
Authentic Florida is based in Central Florida and it’s amazing how many options we have at our disposal. One of our favorites is the Winter Park Farmers’ Market. Every time we visit, we realize that this market truly goes above and beyond what one might expect to find at a local “farmers” market. If you know the quaint town of Winter Park, you probably won’t be surprised that crepes, kombucha, and a mobile library are just some of the items/experiences you’ll find at this particular market. When our son was younger, we purchased a butterfly kit and literally watched a caterpillar morph into a butterfly … and fly away. It was incredible. Plus, the selection of fresh veggies, fruit, coffee, orchids, plants, herbs, honey, etc., are always impressive and delicious.
Most markets showcase the work of an artist or two … and usually a couple of vendors focus on items organic selections for furry family members. There are usually a couple of food trucks that offer delicious ethnic foods or authentic barbeque. It’s such a nice outing whether you pop in for a few minutes or you spend a nice, relaxing time just browsing through each booth.
It’s also a great place to buy gifts for the people in your lives. We’ve bought wicker baskets, filled them up with various Farmers Market finds and given them as gifts. We usually collect business cards from the vendors because so often are baskets are the hits of the party and everyone wants to know about the suppliers.
Florida freshness is at the heart of all of these markets and expectations of purchasing high-quality locally grown food is what keeps so many of us coming back week after week … Also, a lot of these Florida farmers do trades with farmers from other parts of the state and country, so the selection of items is usually very diverse and impressive. So many of your grocery needs can be found at a fraction of the cost and you know you are getting the freshest of the fresh … plus, you are helping keep our fellow Floridians afloat financially as you enjoy the fruits of their labor. Now that’s a win/win for everyone!
A Few of Our Favorite Authentic Florida Farmers Markets:
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, please make sure you check their website and call ahead before heading out on an adventure. Many are offering curbside shopping. It’s also a great time to add any of these adventures to your future Florida bucket list.
Apalachicola Farmer’s Market
Apalachicola, FL (Franklin County)
Located at the beautiful Millpond Pavilion at the end of Market Street (479), the Apalachicola Farmers’ Market offers local seafood, produce, honey, homemade bread, pies, and other regional specialties offered every 2nd and 4th Saturday since July 11, 2015.
Audubon Park Community Market
Orlando, FL (Orange County)
Since 2009, the Audubon Park Community Market has been a Central Florida hub for the best selection of local food. From freshly picked produce to fully prepared meals, this pet- and family-friendly gathering is truly a celebration of food, friends, art, and live music. It takes place in the Stardust parking lot every Monday (rain or shine) from 5 pm to 8 pm.
Brooksville Farmers Market
Brooksville, FL (Hernando County)
Note – due to COVID-19, The Brooksville Farmers Market has the option of online ordering. Check it out here! The Brooksville Farmers Market in Brooksville provides fresh produce direct from farms along with unique crafts, foods, and other unique hand-crafted items! You can even search for one of the local farms to provide produce for your business – they grow it all!
City of West Palm Beach GreenMarket
West Palm Beach, FL (Palm Beach County)
Note: City of West Palm Beach GreenMarket is temporarily closed due to COVID-19. Add this one to your future Florida bucket list! Located in the historic district of downtown West Palm Beach on the Waterfront, the GreenMarket is open every Saturday (October thru April) from 9 am – 1 pm. In addition to fresh food and local goods, the GreenMarket features live music and refreshments in a shady seat seating area. We recommend taking the historic walking tour.
Downtown Fort Myers’ Farmers Market
Fort Myers, FL (Lee County)
This Downtown farmers’ market takes place on a different day than most normal markets. It is held every Thursday, year-round, from 7 am-1 pm. They offer local produce, seafood, honey, nuts, flowers, and much more! If you’re a local, or on vacation make sure to stop by early in the morning to collect your fresh products.
Fresh Market at the Shops at Wiregrass
Wesley Chapel, FL (Pasco County)
Fresh Market is help on the first and third Saturday of each month, year-round, from 10 am-2 pm (except in November, December, and January when it’s only held the first Saturday of each month). This open-air destination showcases 50-80 vendors. There’s always a good variety of local, certified organic, hydroponic and conventional produce, Florida grown plants, herbs and flowers, organic garden food/supplies, locally made take-home foods and so much more. Local artists also exhibit their creative efforts and the eco-friendly products are endless.
The Grand Lagoon Waterfront Farmers’ Market
Panama City, FL (Bay County)
The Grand Lagoon Waterfront Farmers’ Market is known for hosting the region’s favorite makers, bakers, and growers every Saturday and Sunday mornings (June, July, August) and Saturday mornings (May through September) from 8 am to 1 pm. Be sure to find them outside of Captain Anderson’s Restaurant bright and early …. many produce vendors and bakers sell out midway through the market. This Farmer’s Market stays open year-round and twice a week for the locals and visitors to enjoy.
Jacksonville Farmers’ Market
Jacksonville, FL (Duval County)
The Jacksonville Farmers Market is open daily from 7 am to 5 pm and is known for its authentic, ethnic, and imported specialty items that are not only unique but typically hard to find elsewhere. It’s North Florida’s largest and oldest Farmers Market. 2018 will mark its 80th anniversary. A great place for seafood, flowers, plants, honey, boiled peanuts, syrups, gourmet dressing, and more.
Lakeland Downtown Farmers Curb Market
Lakeland, FL (Polk County)
The Downtown Farmers Curb Market is a positive force in bringing people Downtown to purchase fresh produce, plants, and local handcrafted items every Saturday from 8 am to 1 pm. The year-long market is a showcase for the talents and the work of local artisans and local growers. Check their website for the tasty produce picks of the week.
Lincoln Road Farmers’ Market
Miami, FL (Miami-Dade County)
Note: City of West Palm Beach GreenMarket is temporarily closed due to COVID-19. Add this one to your future Florida bucket list! It’s Sunday and your weekend is almost over, end it right starting at 9 am with a stroll to the green market on South Beach. You have until 6:30 pm to continue your stroll or stop by to get hydrated with an icy (still in the shell) coconut water. If that doesn’t do it for you, make sure to visit the vendors with hand-cut flowers, fresh produce, local honey, and much more for sale.
The Market at Rockledge Gardens
Rockledge, FL (Brevard County)
Note: Due to COVID-19, The Market at Rockledge Gardens is operating at 50% capacity. You must also keep your party to two guests maximum and you must wear a mask. You can also schedule curbside pick-up here! The Market is a community farmers’ market featuring their very own crops as well as those of other local Space Coast growers, including pick-your-own herbs. Wonderful local vendors provide eggs and meats, cheese, fresh breads, jams, pasta, and a range of small-batch prepared foods. The Market is open 9 am-5 pm Monday through Saturday and 11 am-4 pm on Sunday (in the Garden Center yellow building).
Mount Dora Village Market
Mount Dora, FL (Lake County)
Note: Due to COVID-19, The Mount Dora Village Market has extra guidelines in place like social distancing, a new footpath, and required masks. Located in charming and historic Mount Dora, the Mount Dora Village Market has over 40 vendors and is open Sundays from 9 am – 2 pm in Sunset Park. You can pick up fresh seafood, fresh produce, plants, crafts and so much more! You can also check out the quaint shops and restaurants of Mount Dora while you’re visiting the market.
Robert Is Here
Homestead, FL (Miami-Dade County)
Note: Due to COVID-19, Robert is Here, is only open for drive-thru ordering. Check it out here! Family-owned and operated, this daily market is well known for its wide range of tropical fruits. Come hungry, Robert Is Here has the most exotic fruits blended into hand-spun delicious milkshakes. Try something unique like guanabana or tamarind. This market is open from 9 am-5 pm every day.
St. Augustine Amphitheatre Farmers Market
St. Augustine, FL (St. John County)
Note: City of West Palm Beach GreenMarket is temporarily closed due to COVID-19. Add this one to your future Florida bucket list! Fresh foods, artisan goods, local art, and music happen every Saturday from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. Great variety of vendors. Don’t leave without trying the kettle corn. They also offer donation-based yoga on the first Saturday of each month next to the Front Porch. They also have the Night Market, a local favorite, featuring handmade arts, crafts, and goods along with a variety of local food trucks, a full bar, and live music! Check it out every 2nd and 4th Tuesday from 6 pm-9 pm March-October.
St. Petersburg’s Saturday Morning Market
St. Petersburg, FL (Pinellas County)
Note: Due to COVID-19, the St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market also has a drive-thru option (Saturday 9 am-11 am) in addition to their in-person vendors. Vendors at the Saturday Morning Market represent a wide variety of ethnicities and nationalities, contributing to a rich multicultural experience of food, crafts, and music. The mission of the market is to be the ‘heart’ of St. Petersburg — the place that people feel a strong sense of joyful connectedness and creative community. The market first opened in November 2002 and runs every Saturday from 9–2 pm in the Al Lang Field parking lot. It’s open from early October–late May each year. A smaller Summer Market changes venues for shade at Williams Park from June to August from 9 am–1 pm.
Sarasota Farmers Market
Sarasota, FL (Sarasota County)
The Sarasota Farmers Market was established in 1979 and continues its tradition of serving the community with 80 vendors providing local produce, plants, prepared foods, and artisans. The vegan food vendor has delicious selections at reasonable prices. Bring your pets, listen to music, and enjoy the experience. Open Saturdays from 7 am to 1 pm.
Stuart Green Market
Stuart, FL (Martin County)
From kombucha to coffee, French pastries to fresh veggies, honey to herbs, prepared gourmet delicacies to live toe-tapping music each and every Sunday from 9 am to 1 pm – there is something for everyone at the Stuart Green Market. This market is full of fresh, local, hand-crafted, and exceptional items. The barbeque ribs are delicious!
Tallahassee Downtown Market
Tallahassee, FL (Leon County)
For over 20 years people have been enjoying their Saturday mornings under the many beautiful oak trees as they stroll along Park Ave at Monroe Street. March thru November you can enjoy the Tallahassee Downtown Market every Saturday from 9am to 2pm. In addition to fresh organic produce and loaves of bread, you will find arts and crafts for sale along with LIVE entertainment. There are also hands-on arts and crafts stations to keep the kids occupied.
Winter Garden Farmers’ Market
Winter Garden, FL (Orange County)
Note: Due to COVID-19, the Winter Garden Farmers’ Market has put in place additional safety features. There will be no food preparation or sampled food at this time. All vendors will be screened for illness before they come to the market, and you will be expected to socially distance. They have also set up a curbside pick-up program for customers who don’t want to get out of their car. Check it out here!
The Winter Garden Farmers’ Market has quickly grown into a community landmark. It’s located in the beautiful town of Historic Winter Garden every Saturday from 9am to 2 pm (Summer hours are 8:o0 am to 1:00 pm). There’s a large selection of vendors from fresh baked goods, locally grown produce, and homemade soaps. Don’t forget to bring your friends (furry four-legged friends too) and family to experience the Winter Garden Farmers’ Market with live music playing from 10 am-2 pm.
Winter Park Farmers’ Market
Winter Park, FL (Orange County)
Located a block away from the shops and restaurants of popular Park Avenue, the Winter Park Farmers Market is held at an old train depot that has been restored into a historical landmark. This is one of the top produce and plant markets in all of Central Florida (and there is a lot of competition: Maitland, Lake Eola, Winter Garden, etc.). The market takes place every Saturday morning from 7 am to 1 pm and always offers a few surprise specialty vendors.
Yellow Green Farmers’ Market
Hollywood, FL (Broward County)
The Yellow Green Farmers’ Market in Hollywood is South Florida’s largest farmers market. With the focus on promoting green living, this market features over 300 booths where you will find everything from flowers, to smoothies, to organic produce. You won’t want to miss spending your Saturday or Sunday here. It’s open from 8 am to 4 pm.
Did you know that Authentic Florida has a whole section of wonderful Florida recipes?
We asked one of our favorite foodie/blogger, frequent Florida Farmers’ Market shopper, and friend, Nicole Coudal of @MyDeliciousBlog, to share with us one of her favorite Farmers’ Market recipes. Check out her Homemade Tomato Soup.
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