Now that the heat is on, most farmers markets are closed until October. Our grueling afternoon temperatures, high humidity, sudden downpours and frightening lightning can really make a vendor sweat. But you can still get your fresh, organic and gourmet fixes in Clearwater, Safety Harbor and Dunedin during their special Saturday morning markets. Held from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., they are designed to avoid Mother Nature's hot flashes.
Downtown Clearwater Summertime Marketplace
500 block of Cleveland Street, second Saturdays, June through September; 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; (727) 461-7674
Saturday marks the grand opening of this summer market on Cleveland Street, slated to run the second Saturday of each month through September.
The regular market, normally held on Wednesdays, closed May 26.
"The vendors wanted to try it out during the summer," said Pat Fernandez, president of the Clearwater Farmers Market. "We had a summer market a few years ago in front of City Hall, but it was hot and rained in the afternoon, so we're closing up earlier and hoping no one will get wet."
Fernandez started the regular Clearwater Farmers Market 15 years ago after then-Mayor Rita Garvey asked her for ways to bring more people downtown.
"We had three vendors at first," Fernandez said. "They sold oranges, strawberries, a few other produce items and breads."
On Saturday, she expects about two dozen vendors to line the 500 block of Cleveland Street, which will be closed to traffic.
They will offer fresh produce, honey, nuts, jewelry, herbs, spices, breads, cheeses, organics, pasta, lawn ornaments and more.
"There will be entertainment with live music, too," she said.
Safety Harbor Summer Market
John Wilson Park, 401 Main St., third Saturdays, June through September; 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; (727) 461-7674
This monthly summer market will open June 19 in the charming little park with the big white gazebo on Main Street.
Since this bazaar is also organized by Bob and Pat Fernandez, you'll see many of the same vendors as Clearwater's selling fresh produce, gourmet foods, baked goods, jewelry and gift items.
It will feature live music as well.
"We love the big gazebo, and this park is really nice. It has bathrooms," Pat Fernandez said.
Dunedin's Summer Saturday Green Market
Pioneer Park, Main Street and Douglas Avenue, every Saturday through July 17; 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; (727) 733-4215
Dunedin's Summer Saturday Green Market has been under way since May 8, and market manager Richard Kendler says it's attracting its fair share of hunters and gatherers.
"Last summer, we experimented with Saturdays once a month and it went over very well. Now we're taking it a step further and having one every Saturday," he said. "It's attracting new customers; it's pretty exciting."
The summer market shuts down in mid July so the city can resod Pioneer Park, he said.
At the Dunedin market, "we don't have crafters," Kendler said. What it does have is hydroponic produce, free-trade coffee, pastries, knishes, honey, roasted nuts, seafood, cheeses, natural dog treats, Italian olive salad mixes and such. Music, live or prerecorded, will add to the ambience.
"If our Saturday success continues," Kendler said, "we'll have a Friday and Saturday market every week. If we do that, we'll be the only ones in the Tampa Bay area that will have a two-day farmer's market."