Events & Festivals - Sarasota County Blog

Make Your Holiday Table A Local One in 2015

Make your holiday table one that sets the bar high for all other years. Enjoy our list of local food shopping options.

As we begin planning, preparing and shopping for our special holiday menus we often find ourselves in crowded grocery stores, standing in long lines, faced with limited parking - all occurring amidst a sea of impatient shoppers.

It's a daunting thought, isn't it?

But your shopping experience doesn't have to be an unpleasant journey. There is a delightful alternative for holiday food shopping with no lines and a relaxing drive through the countryside. And it is right here.

Sound interesting? Are you in?

Regional farms and markets in Sarasota County are prepared to help with your holiday shopping needs, and provide a unique experience with no lines, personable help, and best of all - fresh local food. Plus, you get that "wonderful" feeling with the knowledge that you are supporting farmers and locally grown food.

If you are looking for fresh vegetables, there are dozens of local farms providing a bountiful harvest of lettuces, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, squash, zucchini, beets and potatoes to get you started. Brown's Grove, Hi Hat Ranch, and Seneca Farms are prepared to help you with your veggie needs. For those preferring organic choices, visit Jessica's Organic Farm.

For fresh eggs and dairy products such as milk, ice cream and milk shakes, try Myakka City's Dakin Dairy Farms, the only dairy farm in Florida open to the public. A visit to Dakin Farms also makes for an ideal family outing to experience a working farm, enjoy an old-fashioned farm tour and even have lunch at their café.

Winter is the best time for fresh Florida citrus so now is the time to add oranges, tangerines and grapefruit to your menu. There are three main local groves that will help fulfill your old-timey Authentic Florida tradition of holiday citrus. Try Brown's Grove in Parrish, which is always present at several of the local Farmers Markets or daily at their Parrish Farm & Market Store.

To fill out your holiday menu Sarasota's Seneca Farms provides a special treat - fresh farm-raised turkeys dressed and ready to take home for you holiday spread. For more main course meal items and local farm-raised meats, try Detwiler Market and Whole Foods; they work with and source from area farms. And since we are in Florida, it is quite common for seafood to be the main holiday meal. Stone crab is the delicacy of choice, but Florida lobster and fresh locally caught seafood is hard to beat for special festivities.

Looking for something fresh caught? Walt's Seafood Market & Restaurant will provide fresh "off the boat" seafood.

You don’t have to visit the farms to get fresh produce. The Sarasota Farmers Market, Venice Farmers Market on Saturdays, Siesta Key Farmers Market on Sundays and the Englewood markets on Thursdays are just a few of the markets that offer fresh produce weekly.

So have yourself a merry little Authentic Florida holiday. No matter what is on your holiday shopping list, local farmers are bringing in fresh produce, citrus, meats and seafood. It's a great way to make this the tastiest local holiday season ever.