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Sanibel farmers market back for its 12th season

By Staff | Oct 1, 2019

The Sanibel Island Farmers Market is returning to the island with its first event on Oct. 6.

Marking its 12th season, the market will take place on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sanibel City Hall from October through May. Organized by Local Roots, which is co-owned by island residents Jean Baer and Betsy Ventura, the weekly market will feature a mix of vendors and products, plus crafters.

“I think we do it because it’s a great community event that brings people together, and it provides alternative shopping choices – other options for people,” Baer said.

Those shopping to stock up on groceries will find fresh produce, exotic fruits, breads and pastries, guacamole, seafood, cupcakes, smoothies, barbecue and more, along with plants and flowers.

“Those are a sample,” she said. “We’re pleased to welcome back most of our vendors and are excited about some new additions. I think customers will be pleased with all the choices that they have.”

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There are approximately 50 vendors set to take part.

“You can only make them so big for everybody to be successful,” Baer said.

Some of the new additions include Aurora’s Fresh Produce, Fruits and Vegetables from Naples, Doug’s Seafood of Bonita Springs, Gina’s Tamales featuring salsas, Kalypso Yogurt, and Popcorn and More.

“And The French Artisan will be featuring fresh meats this year,” she said. “He’ll be expanding his offerings.”

A range of prepared and take-home ethic foods will also be available, like Greek, Argentinian, German, Italian and Mediterranean.

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Incorporated into the market last year, there will be a limited number of crafters each week.

“They will be rotating in throughout the season, so it changes up,” Baer said. “Each month we’ll be featuring different ones.”

As far as changes, the big one this season will be no plastic bags.

“In an effort to eliminate single-use items, we are banning the use of plastic bags. Last year we did straws, and this year we’re doing bags,” she said. “We encourage everyone this year to bring reusable bags.”

Baer explained that the move is an effort to try to be more environmentally conscious.

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“It’s a big topic for cities and it’s a huge trend at farmers markets,” she said.

When Local Roots shared the news on social media, the public response was positive.

“I think people really embrace it,” Baer said.

For those who forget to bring bags, reusable ones will be for sale for $3 each or two bags for $5.

Another change to this year’s market has to do with parking.

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“With BIG ARTS still under construction, that parking lot is not available,” she said. “Please follow the signs for additional parkings, and as always you’re encouraged to carpool, walk or bike to the market.”

There is free parking at the Sanibel City Hall and the Sanibel Public Library.

Bike racks are provided.

Keeping in line with a change last season, only service animals are permitted.

Once again, Local Roots is partnering with F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva to collect unsold boxes of vegetables, fruits and other offerings from the vendors each week to donate to the food pantry. The market also will again serve as a drop-off site for donations of non-perishable items for the pantry.

On behalf of Ventura and herself, Baer expressed her gratitude to all involved.

“We appreciate the support from the Sanibel library, BIG ARTS, city of Sanibel and all the local residents,” she said.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to stop by.

“Come out and get some fresh produce, talk to a vendor – have a smoothie and walk around the market or try a new fruit that you’ve never tried,” Baer said. “It’s just a great gathering place.”

In November, the Captiva Island Farmers Market will return for its third season.

Also, there will be a Sanibel Outlets Farmers Market starting in December.

For more information, visit online at buylocallee.com.

The Sanibel City Hall is at 800 Dunlop Road.