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    Tuesday, 11 November 2014

    Anna Maria Island Farmer Markets

    One of the best things about the Gulf Coast is the abundance of farmers’ markets.

    There are a few that are diverse enough to stay open year round while others open only seasonally to accommodate visitors and show off the freshest and best local produce. This month we’re shining the spotlight on all of the amazing markets in the Anna Maria area.

    Anna Maria Island Markets

    Bridge Street Market (Sundays from 10am-3pm, November through April)

    In the past several years, the Bridge Street Market has become a Bradenton Beach tradition. It’s a very arts-oriented market: you can find sculpture, photography, mixed media art and all kinds of other unique items from local vendors, as well as the more traditional fresh produce and gourmet cooking items.

    There’s plenty to explore outside the market, too: Historic Bridge Street is one of the most charming and historical thoroughfares on Anna Maria Island along with Pine Avenue.

    Beach Market at Coquina Beach (Sundays from 10am-4pm, November through July)

    Every Sunday except Easter, you can find something special at the eclectic Beach Market in Coquina Beach (Anna Maria Island’s southernmost beach).

    In addition to fresh produce, you can find arts and crafts, jewelry, apparel, health and beauty items and more. Unlike more crowded markets, its location makes it easily navigable for wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers. The best part? It’s accessible by the free trolley, so you can enjoy a leisurely and beautiful ride on the way to do your shopping.

    Bradenton Food Markets

    Downtown Bradenton Farmers’ Market (Saturdays from 9am-2pm, October through May)

    Though this market is relatively new, it has quickly grown and become one of the most diverse markets in the area.

    Over thirty-five different vendors provide locally-grown fruits and veggies, plants, organic products, fresh seafood, and gourmet prepared foods. They even take their food love to the next level with their Chef at the Market series which features chefs from local restaurants doing live demos so you can see the delicious meals you can create with products exclusively from the market. If you love art and music, be sure to come by on the third Saturday of the month to listen to local musicians and support local artists and craftspeople.

    Sarasota Markets

    Downtown Sarasota Farmers’ Market (Saturdays from 9am to 1pm, and Wednesdays from 10am to 2pm, open year-round)

    For over three decades, Sarasota’s Downtown Farmers’ Market has been a vital part of the culture and economy of Sarasota. It’s probably the area’s largest market, and it features an array of vendors. You can grab sinful baked goods, locally-grown fruits and veggies, fresh seafood, and handmade soap all in a two-block radius. You can even bring your knives and get them sharpened!

    And as of this month, the market is expanding – every Wednesday from 10am to 2pm the market will be open at Five Points in downtown Sarasota. Be sure to visit during the new hours and check out some of the great local restaurants and boutiques nearby.

    Phillipi Farmhouse Market (Wednesdays from 9am to 2pm, October through April)

    This laid-back, pet-friendly, mid-week market has a little something for everyone. Produce vendors are required to be growers and not resellers in order to augment the market’s mission of supporting local agriculture. There’s also a vast selection of prepared foods, specialty and sustainable items, and agriculture-related products. It’s one of the most curated markets the area has to offer.

    Central Sarasota Farmers’ Market (Saturdays from 8am-1pm, open year-round)

    One of Sarasota’s younger farmers’ markets is in a somewhat unexpected location – the parking lot of the Sarasota County Technical Institute. But its unusual locale adds to the quirky, diverse charm. It also has some of the best vendors of prepared foods in town, from Baja Boys food truck to the Purple Belle ice cream truck to the Brooklyn Knish stand.

    When you’re exploring Sarasota’s culinary landscape, be sure to check out this rising market star.

    Let us know if you have visited any local farmer markets that are worth a mention!

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