Sanford and Lake Mary, Florida, are no longer small farming towns. Gone are the days when celery was king, cattle was highly visible and oranges were plentiful. Small, locally-owned farms are still here, but the Sanford/Lake Mary area is better known nowadays for the Seminole Town Center shopping mall, the David Maus automotive empire, the Riverfront in Downtown Sanford, and Flea World (“America’s Largest Indoor Flea Market”) on Hwy 17-92.
Farmers markets are no longer the produce and junk stands I remember as a kid in the 70s. Don’t laugh! You’ve seen them. In those days you would always see a produce stand where a greasy-haired guy was selling oranges right next to some old and dusty knickknacks or the collard greens were dangling over the edge of the table staring at four or five stuffed teddy bears. Luckily for us all, those days seem to be gone.
Today’s farmers markets appear to be more from the 1950s, when you would casually meander along, chatting with the vendors along the way because you knew them. The farmer’s wife selling the produce was your neighbor. Her kids played with yours, they went to the same school and maybe even had a few classes together as well. The farmers markets in my area are more along the lines of a weekly community event. An event that is on everyone’s schedule, even if only for an hour.
In my opinion, the farmers markets in my area are sized with the visitor in mind. They vendors are comfortably positioned with enough space to allow patrons a little elbow room, yet close enough to start scanning the next vendor’s wares a few feet before you actually get there. At all of the markets I have visited, there was fresh, locally grown produce, music, entertainment and food.
Lake Mary Farmers Market
The Lake Mary farmers market is held every Saturday morning at the Lake Mary City Hall plaza and park. City Hall is located at the northwest corner of Lake Mary Blvd. and Country Club Road — behind the pond and water fountain; under the old, mossy grandfather oaks.
Vendors are friendly, the produce is competitively priced, the food selection is plentiful and it’s a nice place to walk around under the shade of the mighty oaks. As you enjoy your Old Hearth Bakery muffin or all-natural fruit and veggie juice from Juice Plus, you can check out the handmade jewelry, jellies, jerky and Erik’s woodworking skills(Barberik woodworking).
For lunch there is jerk chicken and other Caribbean food (Divine Slices), hot dogs or Italian sausages with peppers and onions (Bob’s Hot Dogs) or a pulled-pork sandwich with coleslaw (Barnwoods Bar-B-Que)
The streets and parking areas adjacent to the plaza at City Hall are barricaded off from vehicle traffic, but here is ample parking nearby and across the street at Lake Mary Elementary School. There is a pedestrian bridge built over Lake Mary Blvd. for a safe and scenic walk over to the plaza.
Hours are from 9 a.m. to 1:30 every Saturday — weather permitting, of course. Visit the website’s contact page or call Melissa Flippin at 407-585-1428 for directions or more information.
Sanford Farmers Market
Sanford Farmer’s Market is nestled in Downtown Sanford, in Magnolia Square. Right smack dab in the heart of the Historic District at 200 East 1st Street, Sanford Florida 32771. When you’re driving east on 1st street, look for the clock on the right. The flea market is there in the courtyard.
Vendors at the Sanford farmers market include fresh produce from Hart’s Heavenly Farms, Morris’ Market, and Bob and Valerie’s Fresh Produce; bar-b-que sauces and grilling supplies from Sweet Life Sauce Company; local honey and many craft vendors.
The Sanford Farmers Market is #1 Farmer’s Market in Central Florida as voted by Nickelodeon Parent’s Picks. Credit cards are accepted, dogs are welcome and they are open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. — even during the rain. Visit the website’s homepage for additional information.
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