By SHARON KENNEDY WYNNE
Call them farmers markets, green markets or fresh markets, but whatever you call them, they are so much more than vegetable stands.
Starting this month, the popular gatherings of vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables also serve as the incubators for future restaurants and caterers, serving up everything from meat pies to smoothies, granola to Italian bread. Then there are the jewelrymakers, the artists and the woodcrafters who put the harvest of their talents up for sale.
So put your dog in a stroller and grab a cloth bag to carry your loot. Here are the markets that are ongoing and the ones that are opening in the coming weeks:
Downtown Saturday Morning Market: The hugely popular market in downtown St. Petersburg opens for the season this Saturday, with more than 100 local vendors setting up from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekly at Progress Energy Park/Al Lang Field, 180 Second Ave. SE.
Ybor City Saturday Market: This year-round market features produce, gourmet food and sauces, fresh baked breads and more starting at 9 a.m. in Centennial Park, 1800 E Eighth Ave., Tampa.
Hyde Park Village Fresh Market: This outdoor market is at the fountain of Hyde Park Village the first Sunday of every month. Includes live music, cooking demos, ready-to-eat food and agricultural goods starting at 11 a.m. at 1622 W Snow Ave., Tampa.
Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market: Every Tuesday starting at 9 a.m. there are vegetables and fruit, baked goods and crafts, plus music, along Beach Boulevard.
Tampa Downtown Market: Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from October to May, more than 50 vendors offer crafts, fresh veggies and prepared foods in Lykes Gaslight Square Park, 410 Franklin St.
Seminole Heights Sunday Morning Market: The second Sunday of each month starting at 9 a.m., get a mix of produce and specialty foods and see cooking demonstrations (11:30 a.m.) with chefs from local restaurants at Hillsborough High School, 5000 N Central Ave., Tampa.
Corey Sunday Market: Every Sunday starting at 10 a.m., vendors will sell produce, art and crafts accompanied by live music at the waterfront Horan Park, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach.
Market on Main Street Brooksville: The third Saturday of every month starting at 9 a.m., there will be plants and produce, a craft and antique fair, live music, car show and family-friendly activities. Downtown Brooksville along S Main Street.
Cross Roads Farmers Market: Every Sunday starting at 9 a.m., fresh produce, seafood and other vendors will set up at Curlew Road and Belcher Road in Palm Harbor.
Corey Fresh Market: Don't be confused by two Sunday markets named Corey in St. Pete Beach. This one is hosted on Sundays by the Corey Area Business Association in front of Beach Theatre, 155 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach through May.
Clearwater Farmers Market: Wednesdays starting at 9 a.m. in downtown Clearwater, you'll find fresh produce, cheese, baked goods, flowers and plants at Cleveland Street and N Fort Harrison Avenue.
Dunedin Green Market: Produce, cheeses, seafood, plants, herbs and other specialty items are available starting at 9 a.m. in Pioneer Park, Main Street and Douglas Avenue. Starting Nov. 11, it will be held on both Fridays and Saturdays.
Staff writer Kelly Stefani contributed to this report.