Tampa Bay Farmers Markets Re-Open, Add Wares

Fall is in the air and, with that, some of Tampa Bay's best community markets are back open and filled with vendors.

Offering fresh produce, baked goods, artwork, jams and jellies, woodwork, crafts, and a variety of other wares, markets such as St. Petersburg's Saturday Morning Market, Gulfport's Tuesday Morning Fresh Market, Sarasota Farmers Market, Bradenton Farmers Market and Tampa's Downtown Market strive to provide high-quality products made locally.

“Markets are the closest connection between people and the food they eat -- other than growing or preparing it yourself,” says Gulfport Fresh Market Coordinator Daniel Hodge. “It's a more human-conscious way of selecting food while building community spirit in the process and being a much-needed alternative to mass-produced and mass-marketed merchandise.”

Growing in size and variety, the Fresh Market, at Gulfport's Waterfront District on Beach Boulevard below 28th Avenue South, offers more than 10 new vendor spaces in its October line-up, offering a touch of fall spice to the year-round market.

In addition, St. Pete's Saturday Morning Market (SMM) is back for the season as the largest one-day-a-week fresh market in the Southeast U.S. with 7,000 to 10,000 customers visiting every Saturday.

Located at Al Lang Field at 1st Street and 6th Avenue South in St. Pete, the Saturday Morning Market connects local farmers with city residents while promoting buying local and modeling sustainability.

“We're really committed to our community, considering our vendors to be one of our biggest assets. We really value creativity, community and providing quality,” says SMM Manager Gail Eggeman. “I think bringing farmers to St. Pete is our biggest achievement.”

Bringing farmers to Downtown Tampa, Tampa's Downtown Market is also back with a new location: the 200 and 300 blocks of Twiggs Street. With a strong focus on sustainability and community, one of the market's main goals is to serve as a community gathering place where local farmers, producers and artisans can generate a sense of local pride while developing Downtown Tampa's economy.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Daniel Hodge, Gulfport's Tuesday Morning Fresh Market; Gail Eggeman, Saturday Morning Market
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