Make us your home page

Brooksville Farmers Market looks for growth on a new day


Under the spreading boughs of giant live oaks at Hernando County's historic courthouse, Laurie Kennedy waited patiently for her first customer of the day.

The aroma of freshly made kettle corn wafting through the cool breeze served as an enticing calling card. Nearby, about a dozen other vendors put finishing touches on the booths they had set up for Brooksville's weekly farmers market on Main Street.

After several years of being open on Saturdays, the decision three weeks ago to move the market to Fridays was made in the hope of avoiding competition from a growing number of flea markets and other outdoor markets, said Lisa Callea, president of the Brooksville Business Alliance.

"We've had a lot of positive feedback from it so far," Callea said. "There are people downtown on Friday that probably don't come on Saturday unless they have a reason to. We're seeing lots of new faces."

Callea said that the market, which is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays, has also gotten a positive nod from her longtime vendors, as well as the owners of downtown businesses, many of which are closed on Saturdays.

Dennis Hodge, owner of the newly opened Southern Ladies & a Gent bistro on Broad Street, said the market has brought a noticeable increase to his business on Fridays. So much so that he now offers a fried fish special throughout the day.

"I believe in anything that helps keep people downtown after hours," said Hodge. "I think it's just what we need right now."

Started in 2008, Brooksville's was the only open-air farmers market in Hernando County, attracting between 20 and 30 vendors every week. But when organizers of the Hernando County Farmers Market set up shop two years ago on Commercial Way in Spring Hill, many of Brooksville's vendors followed. The reopening of the Airport Farm and Flea Market last October further eroded Brooksville's support.

"People in business are going to go where they think business will be better," Callea said. "We have a loyal following that's stayed with us because they think it's going to build."

Criss Holzaepfel, owner of Woodapple Farms in Floral City, a small company that makes soaps, lotions and other products from goat milk, is one of them. She said she prefers the unhurried atmosphere of the downtown market, and likes being near local stores that carry her products.

"We've established a good market in Brooksville," Holzaepfel said. "Being at a farmers market that's been around for a long time is a great way to attract new customers."

Callea said she has the blessing of the county and city to continue holding the market on Fridays, and wants to work with other event organizers to try and coordinate their activities to coincide with the market. Of particular interest would be moving the city of Brooksville's monthly Uptown Block Party, which is held on Thursday evenings in the City Hall parking lot.

"I think there's a strong link between that event and ours," Callea said. "It would give people even more of a reason to come downtown."

Logan Neill can be reached at or (352) 848-1435.

. If you go

Brooksville Farmers Market

When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays

Where: Main Street, in front of the County Courthouse.

Info: (352) 848-0090

Brooksville Farmers Market looks for growth on a new day 02/01/13 [Last modified: Friday, February 1, 2013 7:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Where to pig out for National Bacon Lovers Day

    Food & Dining

    That's right: Sunday is the national day devoted to all things bacon, National Bacon Lovers Day. Which, really, isn't too different from the other 364 days of the year. But here's a little roundup of some special places to celebrate everyone's favorite meat snack (seriously, even vegans have a grudging respect …

    A creme-filled doughnut topped with maple frosting and bacon at Dough on MacDill Avenue in Tampa.
  2. The Penny Hoarder tops 79 fastest growing Tampa Bay companies on Inc. 5000


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Penny Hoarder today further cemented its reputation as one of the country's fastest growing companies. The personal finance web site business ranks 25th nationwide and tops in the Tampa Bay market for growth on the just released 2017 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing businesses.

    One of the fastest growing startups in the country is St. Petersburg's The Penny Hoarder, a financial advice web site aimed at helping readers save money. Playing a game in the office is (right to left) founder and CEO Kyle Taylor, vice president of business operations Vishal Mahtani and executive editor Alexis Grant. [Courtesy of The Penny Hoarder]
  3. Here's what it's like inside a writhing, growling Howl-O-Scream audition


    TAMPA — At Busch Gardens, a Howl-O-Scream manager is hunting zombies.

    Auditioner Natalie Rychel, 20, of Tampa, Fla., high fives director of atmosphere Morgan Malice after being selected for a job for Bush Gardens' Howl-O-Scream during an audition at the theme park on Friday, August 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (From left) Auditioners Jared Shipley, 20, of Lakeland, Fla., and Lincoln Scott, 41, of Riverview, Fla., look over. This year, Howl-O-Scream will take place from September 22 to October 29 at Bush Gardens. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
  4. Tampa Bay homeowners sue JPMorgan Chase for billing on already-paid mortgages


    ST. PETERSBURG — Two Tampa Bay homeowners are suing JPMorgan Chase Bank for attempting to continue to collect on what they say were already-paid-off mortgages.

    JPMorgan Chase is the subject of a lawsuit by two Tampa Bay homeowners who say the bank attempted to collect on mortgages they already paid off. | [Getty Images]
  5. Housing starts fall in July

    Real Estate

    WASHINGTON — The Commerce Department said Wednesday that housing starts fell 4.8 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.16 million. Groundbreakings for multi-family buildings such as apartments slumped 17.1 percent, while single-family house construction slipped 0.5 percent.

    On Wednesday, the Commerce Department reported on U.S. home construction in July. 
[AP file photo]