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Nov 6, 2006 03:32 PM

Do all farmers markets in Florida stink?

I've had it! Over the last few years I've tried to convince myself that famers markets in Florida (at least in my neck of South Florida) were getting better and more plentiful. Well, more plentiful, yes. Better, I'm not so sure.

The reason for the diatribe was that this weekend I got roped into going to a new (at least to me) farmers market in the Mayfair mall in Coconut Grove. Parking was a pain but after a few minutes found something about a block away. As we approached we saw the ubiquitous tents; however, as we walked among the vendors here's what we found:

- someone selling sunglasses
- someone providing massages and other healing activities
- a bread vendor
- a colombian empanada vendor
- someone selling incense and other frangrance products
- someone selling live baby turtles (which, by the way, I thought was illegal given that the turtles carry tons of salmonella)

and at the end of the parade of tents, a woman selling fruit and vegetables from boxes that looked like they could have been from Publix. This event was so pathetic it doesn't deserve as much time as I'm spending complaining about it. But I had to get it out there and see if anyone else has had as bad an experience. Or, better yet, can someone point me in the direction of a decent farmers market?

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  1. Judging by my visit to the Lincoln Road "farmers market" this Sunday (and I use the quotes because I defy anyone to find me an actual farmer there) ... yes.

    Flowers, orchids, juice stands, lemonade stands, sno-cone stands, guacamole stands (when did this start? and what exactly is appealing about a gigantic batch of guacamole festerng uncovered in the sun for hours?) ... and maybe one or two booths selling South American produce out of boxes that pretty obviously were bought wholesale that morning.

    1. AGREE! Don't know about Dade or Palm Beach county, but Broward county hasn't seen a farmer since the last of the you-pickem farms closed down four or five years ago.

      12 Replies
      1. re: cucuzza

        The green market in WPB is very good. In season at least it is held along Flagler near St Ann's church. It has been on Saturday and the parking is excellent as there is a municipal parking garage adjacent to it and it is free for the time the green market is in operation. Excellent cheeses, the freshest of veggies and good and varied fresh baked goods. Included are a couple of "stands" where you can refresh yourself with beverages (coffee, latte etc) and sit where you find room breakfast fare prepared on the spot. I haven't found better. The one in Delray Beach used to be very good but declined drastically when it moved or was moved to Atlantic Ave and to be frank I am not sure it still exists.

        1. re: cucuzza

          I was terribly disappointed in the Velusia County Farmers Market, more a flea market than anything else. Being from Orange County, California, where they have a certified farmers market almost every day in one location or another, stalls packed with fresh vegetables and fruit and home made goods, it was a shame.

          1. re: EclecticEater

            The Flea and Farmer's Market in Volusia County is OK for produce -- nothing out of the ordinary, but good strawberries and tomatoes in season. But yeah, it's a flea market, with a small couple of corners that are devoted to produce.

            I'm told there's another on City Island, but that's not an area I go to often, so. . .*shrug*

            1. re: Covert Ops

              If you're looking in V county you might also try the one at Flagler Beach pier . . . it's not very big, and I think it runs Friday morning not Saturday, but they had plenty of good locally-grown stuff when I was last there about 2 months ago, it's a true farmers' market, albeit small.

              1. re: Covert Ops

                Are you talking about the Daytona Flea & Farmers' Market, or the Volusia County market Wednesday mornings at the fairgrounds? I've never been to the latter.

                Also, what about the downtown Deland market on Saturdays? Anyone been there?

                1. re: fishandveggiesplease

                  Sorry for the late reply . . . I'm suggesting the Flagler Beach market where Hwy 100 meets A1A near the Flagler Beach pier. NO, it's not in Volusia County, it's in Flager . . . I'm just suggesting it for anyone who's also considering the markets in / around V county.

            2. re: cucuzza

              The You-Pick farms are gone? That's a damn shame, one of my fondest memories of growing up in Miami is going to the You-Pick farms with my parents. They were run by Mennonites who made amazing strawberry milkshakes.

              1. re: Kosmonaut

                No more You-Picks, because florida builders are greedy. they buy the land and put up craptastic apartment complexes.

                1. re: Kosmonaut

                  No, the one you're thinking of still exists. Way down south, by I forget what school. Knauss Berry Farm, I believe. Still has great strawberry milkshakes, cinnamon buns and rolls. There's also that one by Monkey Jungle that was still in existence last I checked. I felt their strawberry milkshakes were superior, but that's just my opinion.

                    1. re: Pandabug

                      Yep, found it:

                      Knaus Berry Farm
                      15980 SW 248th St
                      Homestead, FL 33031

                      Only open from November to April.

                    2. re: Kosmonaut

                      there r some u picks in Sanford

                  1. The original comment has been removed
                    1. I've had some good luck at the Sarasota farmer's market. There were several vendors that obviously were just re-sellers, but there were also a few that sold their own produce. All in all, it was a decent scene. I still prefer the Red Barn in Bradenton, however, even though it's a flea market, not a farmer's market.

                      I just moved to South Florida a few months ago, and I've only been to the Swap Shops, which, again, are more flea markets than farmer's markets. I did see some interesting asian produce at the Margate one.

                      1. In Central Florida...

                        My favorite so far has been one stand featuring real "NJ" tomatoes.