The wildly popular Cape Coral Farmers' Market is back this week, starting officially this Saturday, Oct. 20. It will run each Saturday through May 11, 2013,
"It's a nice Saturday morning destination for people," said Chamber of Commerce Marketing Director and Farmers' Market Director Claudia St. Onge. "Produce is the core of the market, with the majority of vendors local. I call them our 'veteran vendors,' they keep coming because it is a great venue for them. We also have out-of-town vendors from as far as Lakeland, Port St. Lucie and Jenson Beach."
Every year it builds on itself, she said. This will be the 19th year for the market to offer the community fresh, healthy, local and certified organic produce and more.
"These are delicious foods to eat while you shop or take home; gulf-fresh seafood, Pine Island clams, home-made pickles, guacamole, fresh bakery items from breads to cupcakes to strudel and so much more and of course, the great vendors you have come to know and love. Lots of new vendors are joining the market this year to offer you even more choices."
The market is open each Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Club Square in downtown Cape Coral, at Southeast 47th Terrace and Southeast 10th Place. Admission and parking are free.
"This year we're going to have 11 new vendors as of today (Tuesday) and that may be more by the end of the week. That's over 70 vendors, a very big market."
And another piece of the market is that on the first and third Saturday of the month there will be an antique and craft market.
"Add another approximately 30 vendors," she said.
On-site craft vendors will be offering unique hand-made jewelry, natural soaps and finely crafted wood items.
There will also be great entertainment while you shop.
"Enjoy the live music every week by Trop-Rock artist John Friday and Steel Drum artist Dave Lapio," she said. "There will also be a special performance on Saturday, Nov. 3, by 'Yard Dog Charlie.'"
For the first time, the Cape Coral Farmers Market will also be designated as an authorized SNAP/EBT market offering healthy and affordable produce and foods to those in need. SNAP designation (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program - more commonly known as the food stamp program) has recently been encouraged by the Department of Agriculture for all farmers markets.
"It was a very rigorous process to get the designation, but definitely worth it," said St. Onge. "It definitely helps anyone who has any kind of struggle make good healthy meals, healthy choices at affordable prices - less than a grocery store. It was the right thing to do for our community."