Bonita Spring’s Farmers Market has a luxurious advantage in attracting shoppers to its outdoor bazaar. Farmers Markets are starting to sprout up everywhere. They are not just a roadside stand or out-of-the backend of a old pickup truck. The makeshift wooden tables have found a new place to market their goods. One place in particular we visited shared its premier frontend parking space with the open air marketers.
The Promenade at Bonita Bay is on the corner of S Tamiami Trail & South Bay which hosts Bonita Spring’s Farmers Market. When we first toured the upper scale shopping palisade, the landscape provided plenty of eye appealing scenery. Surrounded by lush foliage, designer shops and unique water features, this would be the last place you would think of finding a farmers market. We followed the Tuscany styled atrium until we reached the open air market. It was set up in the Promenade’s front parking lot that parallels Tamiami Trail.
The rows of plastic covered booths housed the portable kitchens, fruit and vegetable stands and other various wares offered. We had a chance to visit with a few of the participants and get their take on this prototype bazaar. I remember when a Farmers market consisted of a few makeshift canvas tents that covered the frameless baling wired crates that displayed homegrown produce.
We spoke to Russ and Karen with Pineywood Morels Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables. Their stand was modest, but showcased a variety of organic grown products. They enjoy talking with people about adding wholesome nutritional value to their diet. Who says eating good has to be expensive and bland tasting. Their blueberries were our favorite. A Farmers Market is a great way for people like Russ and Karen to bring their products to market.
Today’s Farmers Markets are not just for selling fruits and vegetables anymore. There were stands that offered Pure Honey, plants and colorful flowers, the always crowd pleasing kettle corn and even soap on a rope. Yes, there is just about anything and everything you could imagine. Burtons Maplewood Farm out of Medora, Indiana happen to catch my eye. Tim Burton and his associate are making their way across the country introducing people to their extraordinary flavored syrups. Who knew you could get rum, bourbon or brandy syrups spread over your favorite hotcakes or Belgium waffles. As odd as it sounds, they were pretty tasty to say the least.
Hot Stuff Jams N Jellies was busy handing out a variety of samples. You might be the type of person that can’t handle spicy foods, but their mild recipes create a taste bud friendly appeal. Its also a great gift for that person who is hard to buy for! Mike and Karen make all their preserves at home and if I do say so myself, they were unusual and tasty.
Did I say there is something here for everyone? Darren and Lynndel Anzisi’s Good Boy Biscuits & Bones fits that bill. With the pet craze in full swing and gaining strength everyday, Good Boy has lots of healthy treats for our four legged companions. Who says a Farmers Market has to only cater to humans. People come from miles around to shop for organic foods, one of a kind or hard to find items and/or just to explore the possibility of finding something that can’t be found in a main street storefront.
I was surprised to see how many food oriented vendors there were. Ernesto & Luigi Sauces was one of our selected stops. They had pots full of savory sauces and homemade pasta dishes displayed directly under your nose. We spoke with Linda and asked for a cannoli. She crafted the Italian delight skillfully. The taste was as pleasing as it was beautifully designed.
We visited with many of the vendors. They all enjoy the market place and its bazaar like atmosphere. While wandering through the crowds it wasn’t hard to hear people chatting between one another about visiting there favorite vendors.
Farmers Markets have shifted their focus in the last few years. They are now attracting more people that not only want to buy farm fresh products, but make it an outdoor shopping experience that the whole family can enjoy. Southwest Florida is a place where people want to be outside and enjoy the beautiful we have here. They also want to mingle around and at the same time, be able to talk with the entrepreneurs who are selling the products they are buying. I will again visit Bonita’s Springs Farmers Market. It is a great way to spend a Saturday morning.