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Cape Coral Farmers Market finds out-of-season home, joins other year-round market

By Staff | May 13, 2016

For the first time, year-round residents and visitors will not have to say farewell to the Cape Coral Farmers Market when it wraps up its final weekend in the South Cape.

Organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral, the market typically runs from October to May in Club Square. Featuring up to 130 vendors in the peak months, it offers everything from local produce, honey and baked goods, to fresh seafoods and meats, homemade soaps, flowers and more.

Saturday would mark the market’s final weekend for this year, but the popular one-stop-shop for everything local has secured an out-of-season home. Starting May 21, shoppers can find the market at Cape Harbour and its bringing many of its in-season vendors with it. It will run through Sept. 25.

“We felt the need from our local residents for a market year-round,” Claudia St. Onge, the market coordinator for the chamber, said. “We want our local foods, our local native plants, our local crafts.”

Cape Harbour had featured an off-season market on Saturdays, but it only had a couple of vendors.

“This year, we’re going to kind of take over running the market that was operating,” she said.

The market will kick off with approximately 35 vendors, many coming from the Club Square one.

“That will build as long as there’s a good reception from the community,” St. Onge said.

The mix of vendors will vary greatly as compared to what was available before, including produce, spices, handmade potteries, nut butters and homemade jams and jellies. There will be aquaponics and hydroponic greens, animal treats and fresh local seafood, even flash-frozen fish from the northwest.

Starting from the area located between the towers, the market will extend to the tented pavilion.

“We’re really hoping to make use of that,” she said of the permanent structure.

“It actually gives me a lot of room to expand,” St. Onge added.

The pavilion, plus the harbor’s layout, will provide some comfort during the hot summer months.

“They seem to have a natural waterfront breeze and shade from the buildings,” she said.

One reason why running the market year-round in Club Square is not possible.

“There’s not even a tree for shade,” St. Onge said of the South Cape spot.

Shoppers will also get a chance to check out the businesses and restaurants at Cape Harbour.

“We’re thrilled to be down there,” she said. “We look forward to having a great summer out there.”

The hours of operation will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday.

According to St. Onge, the Cape Coral Farmers Market in Club Square has probably become one of the top 15 farmers markets in the state of Florida based on vendor participation and public attendance.

“Our markets have been very successful,” she said.

The chamber also organizes the Surfside Sunset Market on Tuesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Shops at Surfside. Operational for six years now, it is held outside for six months and inside for six months.

“It is a year-round market,” St. Onge said.

The Cape Coral Farmers Market will return to Club Square on Oct. 1. As for any changes, St. Onge mentioned maybe working more with various food trucks as they have become a popular aspect.

“We’ll probably increase some of our food trucks,” she said.

The chamber will likely use social media to reveal which ones will be on hand each Saturday.

For more information on the markets, visit: capecoralfarmersmarket.com or visit one of the Facebook pages by searching for “Cape Coral Farmers’ Market” or “Surfside Sunset Market.”

People can also contact the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral at (239) 549-6900.

Cape Harbour is at 5703 Cape Harbour Drive.

The Shops at Surfside is located at 2366 Surfside Blvd.

Club Square is at Southeast 47th Terrace and Southeast 10th Place.