Spending a Saturday morning at the Sarasota Farmers' Market has been a downtown tradition since 1979, and attendees cross county lines to take part in it.
From 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. all year long, about 85 vendors gather along Lemon Avenue, between First Street and South Pineapple Avenue. They sell homemade pastas, apparel, jewelry, herbs and produce from local farms, as shoppers fill their canvas totes and wheelbarrows with fresh ingredients for weekend meals.
Siesta Key Farmer's Market
On the sandier side is the Siesta Key Farmers' Market, which is held in Siesta Village Plaza just steps from the shoreline of the award-winning Siesta Beach. Thirty-plus vendors display tropical artwork, body products, specialty cheeses and bright bouquets from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, year-round.
San Marco Plaza Farmers' Market
Further east, past the Sarasota border and into Bradenton's Lakewood Ranch is the yearlong San Marco Plaza Farmers' Market. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday (until 2 p.m. during the non-summer months), peruse merchandise from 30 local vendors of organic goods and crafts, while listening to live music.
The Phillippi Farmhouse Market
The Phillippi Farmhouse Market may only be open from October to May, but during those months (from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday), more than 30 vendors cover the grounds of Phillippi Estate Park with tempting booths. Kettle corn, ice cream, lemonade, orchids and tea are among the highlights.
The Bradenton Farmers' Market
Three other seasonal markets include the Bradenton Farmers' Market on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (October to May) along Old Main Street in downtown Bradenton; Sunday's Bridge Street Market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. from November to April along Bridge Street on Bradenton Beach; and Palma Sola Farmers' Market from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays from November to May at Geraldson Community Farm in Bradenton.
Daily/Weekly Farm Stands
Daily/weekly farm stands and markets abound in Sarasota-Bradenton, too, from Yoder's Fresh Market to Detwiler's Farm Market to the Red Barn Flea Market and the Friday-to-Sunday Jessica's Organic Farmstand. Keep your eyes and wallets open to the delectable world outside the grocery aisle.