Fresh markets sprouting with the fall season around Tampa Bay

Published October 1 2012
Updated October 4 2012


Times Staff Writer

The arrival of fall in the Tampa Bay area means the weekly outdoor markets of produce, crafts and old-fashioned community bonding are sprouting up, including the hugely popular Saturday Morning Market, which celebrates 10 years this week when it opens in downtown St. Petersburg.

Inspired by the success of St. Petersburg's market, Tampa has moved its downtown market from a weekday lunchtime diversion to Sunday, starting Oct. 14, where they hope to create the community market vibe. Other fresh markets around the bay area get hopping in the next few weeks, including St. Pete Beach's community market this Sunday (see for more markets).

In St. Petersburg, shoppers will swarm the parking lot at Progress Energy Park at Al Lang Stadium at First Street and First Avenue S. With its own set of characters, including a barbecue stand manned by "Mr. I Got Em" (Brady Johnson) dressed in elegant top hat and tails, live music upping the tempo and well-heeled shoppers with dogs carted around in baby carriages, this is more like a weekly event than a produce stand.

Bring cash, comfortable shoes and an empty stomach because there are loads of prepared foods to tempt the 8,000 or so customers each week.

Other markets

Tampa Downtown Market What had been a Friday lunchtime staple since 2008, this market moves to Sundays at downtown's Franklin Street mall staring Oct. 14. Though office workers liked the lunchtime break, they had limited time to shop and downtown restaurants complained of lost business. (A new "Lunch on the Lawn" event starts this Friday with live entertainment and express lunches from nearby restaurants.) The new Sunday market will be held Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the 600 and 700 blocks of N Franklin Street.

Corey Fresh Market: Opens for the season this Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the St. Pete Beach market has lots of specialty foods, barbecue, kettle corn and live music by Kevin Wilder Jazz on opening day. It runs Sundays through May just off Gulf Boulevard in downtown St. Pete Beach.

St. Pete Beach New Sunday Market Yes, St. Pete Beach has two Sunday markets at two different locations. This one, starting on Oct. 14, also will have vendors with produce, food and flowers but it's a bit more artsy, located at the Suntan Art Gallery, with featured artists on site. There's free on-site parking at the gallery, 3300 Pass-A-Grille Way. It runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Brandon Saturday Market Held 9 a.m.-4 p.m. starting Oct. 13, vendors will be set up in the parking lot of the Westfield Brandon mall, 459 Brandon Town Center.

Largo's Open Air Market Started on Sept. 22, this will run every Saturday through May 25 from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. with local produce, crafts, entertainment and loads of food. This is the largest farmer's market in mid-Pinellas, held at the Largo Community Center, 400 Alt Keene Road, Largo.

Wiregrass Fresh Market Held the first and third Saturday along the main street of the Wesley Chapel mall, The Shops of Wiregrass, it features more than 50 vendors. Starting in November it moves to only the first Saturday of the month through January then it goes back to its yearround schedule 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 28211 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel.

Odessa Organic Farmers Market Held every Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays 10 a.m.-3 p.m., this collection of 25 area organic and green-friendly vendors also throws a monthly Green After Dark market. Catch it this Saturday starting at 5 p.m. there will be organic goods and live music at 8701 Gunn Highway, Odessa.

Azalea Community Fresh Market This new market opened up over the summer to offer the west side of St. Petersburg fresh market options. It has about 35 vendors each Saturday, and is moving to the St. Petersburg College Gibbs campus at 66th Street and Fifth Avenue N starting this Saturday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Clearwater Farmer's Market Beginning Oct. 24, this Wednesday afternoon market in the Cleveland Street district of downtown Clearwater is now in its 18th year of operation. It will be open weekly on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Free two-hour parking at Garden Avenue Garage with ticket validation.

Dunedin's Green Market The market opens for its ninth season every Friday and Saturday starting Nov. 2. Opening day activities will include free birthday cake both days, free raffles hourly and live entertainment starting at 10:30 a.m. Located in Dunedin's Pioneer Park at the corners of Main Street and Douglas Avenue, it is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. until the end of April. Starting May, Saturday hours will be 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. until the end of July.

Ybor City Saturday Market One of the few year-round markets, this Ybor staple brings produce, gourmet foods and sauces, pet treats and arts and crafts to Centennial Park, 1800 E Eighth Ave., Tampa every Saturday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Cross Roads Farmers Market Open year round, every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. you can shop under the shade, on the grounds of the North Pinellas Historical Museum. The pet-friendly market is at Curlew Road and Belcher Road, Palm Harbor.

Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market Held every Tuesday, the funky art village always has live music, produce, baked goods and lots of art. In addition, you'll often find community minded offerings such as a vegan cooking demonstrations or clothing swaps. It's 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. along Gulfport's Beach Boulevard.

Fresh Market at Hyde Park Village About 50 to 70 vendors attend this open-air market, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the first Sunday of every Month. For the fall season, starting Sunday, it moves into the street. It's inside Hyde Park Village, 742 S Village Circle, Tampa.

Seminole Heights Sunday Morning Market The fourth season of this market, featuring local food, crafts and music, runs October through May on the second Sunday of each month, starting Oct. 14. It's 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the front lawn of Hillsborough High School, 5000 N Central Ave., Tampa.

Fresh Market at Westchase Town Center The market is held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of every Month from October through May at Westchase Town Center, 9622 W Linebaugh Ave., Tampa.

Tarpon Sunday Market: Grand opening is Oct. 14 for this market at the Tarpon Springs Community Center at Tarpon Avenue and Alt. U.S. 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays through May.

Safety Harbor Farmer's Market: Safety Harbor Farmers Market opens Oct. 18 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the gazebo at 401 Main St. Call (72) 461-7674.

Staff writer Sandra J. Gadsden contributed to this report.