Tuesday, August 8, 2017 / by Carl Gentile
As the interest in all things green and sustainable continues to rise, it’s no wonder that farmers markets would find no shortage of interest or revenue. As if it isn’t enough that Jupiter, Florida is quickly becoming one of the most popular vacation and resident destinations, featuring excellent schools, restaurants, fishing and night life the county and surrounding areas are home to both well-established and newer farmers markets.
There are dozens of excellent farmers markets in the area—too many to report here. This will be your introduction to ten of the most alluring, pleasing and mouth watering environments.
1. Lake Worth Farmers Market
A staple of Old Ridge Park since its 2006 debut, the Lake Worth market is home to over forty local vendors primarily featuring locally-grown fruits and vegetables. However, organically-made baked goods, pastries, and other sweets make regular appearances, as do fresh flowers, jams, jellies, and other delights. The market is open year-round on Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm.
2. Royal Palm Beach Green Market and Bazaar
One of the newer local markets (founded in 2013), this community gem calls the Veterans Park on Royal Palm Beach Boulevard its home. The market is open from October 1 to April 30 of each year, so you just missed it for 2017.
But it will be back in the fall, allowing locals and tourists alike to sample their famous cider donuts, alongside honey, herbs, homemade spices, flowers, and tons of fresh fruit and vegetables.
As with several other markets, the one in Royal Palm Beach is also home to lots of artisanal works, whether pastries or the work of jewelers and other handcraft makers. You can also enjoy the market in the shade, as the stands are all placed beneath covered walkways to protect you from the blazing Florida sun.
3. Palm Beach Gardens Green Market
Founded in 2011, this market features 45 different vendors and runs on Sundays, 8 am to 1 pm from May to October of each year. (During the summer months, it moves indoors to a local storage facility on North Military Trail, while at other times of the year it is at its normal location—city hall.)
Local vendors hawk everything from jerky to pastries to flowers; breads, seafood, cheeses, sauces, honey, and produce are also in abundance. There is also live music featuring local artists. Because the market is an arm of the city of Palm Beach Gardens, city ordinances apply, which means no pets are allowed other than service animals.
4. West Palm Beach Green Market
The West Palm Beach Green Market is one of the larger offerings in the region, boasting of over eighty vendors that swarm here each Saturday from 9 to 1 pm. While the market is closed for the summer until October 1, 2017 (the typical open season is from October to June), you can anticipate all the lovely things the market has to offer.
Besides the staples of fruits and vegetables, numerous local eateries and companies tempt passersby with everything from beef to biscotti, bread, dog treats (!), soap, pickles, olive oil, coffee beans, granola, even boba juices.
Arguably a main attraction of this market is its location right on the famed WPB waterfront. Who wouldn’t want to smell near-perfect flowers and sample fresh fruit while the breeze from lapping waves washes over you?
The market also features free (free!) parking in two nearby garages during market hours, and there’s always live music. Dogs and other critters are more than welcome, and mom and dad can sneak unlimited mimosas while the kids dig through the pastries you just bought.
5. Stuart Green
Located on Flagler Avenue right in Stuart (specifically, the parking lot of the local city hall), this market began in 1997 and is open year-round. While a parking lot may not seem glamorous, its location beside the stunning St. Lucie River puts these complaints to rest.
Local farmers and other creative types bring their coffees, goat cheeses and milk, copper art (think handmade windchimes, sculpture and jewelry), hand-blended spices, hand-cast silver jewelry with inlaid river rocks and other stones, beef and other meats, eggs, watercolor paintings and clothes, cupcakes, Italian ice, handwoven baskets, lemonade, maple syrup, salt scrub, seafood—even a blacksmith and hatmaker!
6. The Green Market at Wellington
Located next to the Wellington Amphitheater, this market specifically caters to the higher-end visitors from Wellington, who frequent it on Saturdays from 9 to 1 pm between October and the end of April.
They are affiliated with the Royal Palm Beach Market, which they call their Sunday location. Though featuring a somewhat more limited selection than some of the other markets, they are well-known for the quality of their products and the dedication with which the vendors approach their craft.
Indeed, some locals like it better than their supermarkets! The market is located near a lush, shaded sitting area perfect for chatting with vendors and other patrons, and for enjoying whatever delicacy you just bought. The market also boasts of a lavish playground for its youngest visitors, designed to be accessible to all children regardless of physical ability. You can find out which local artists are performing at the market by visiting their Facebook page.
7. Jupiter Farmers Market
Located on Military Trail, this small but vibrant market offers not only lovely fruits and vegetables, but crafts (handmade windchimes, dolls, handwoven bags and baskets), pickles, honey, tea leaves, coffee beans, more flowers than you’d think exist in all Florida, and lots of delicious pastries and baked goods.
And if you’re wondering if dogs are welcome, a dog technically serves as the assistant manager (and not a very good one at that), so other good, furry influences are always invited!
8. Boca Raton Green Market
Celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, this community hub is in lively operation each Saturday from October to May (it resumes operation October 29, 2017). Forty-five vendors call the market home, and weekly bring veggies, bread, dog treats, cheese, fish, baked goods, artwork, and other treasures to delight and draw the people of Boca Raton.
Like with many farmers markets, the one in Boca Raton is committed to strengthening and encouraging its community not merely with high-quality and enjoyable products (most of which are harvested mere hours before being sold!), but by being cultural and communal centers that knit people together while being a needed source of income for local farmers and artisans. Everyone wins.
9. Green Market at Delray Beach
Begun in 1996, this market is open each Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm from October to May; it also has a summer season (June 4 to August 20th of each year, with fewer vendors). The market resides in Old School Square Park, in downtown Delray Beach.
Sixty-five vendors bring fresh produce, honey, jams, fish, pickles, paella, flowers, and multiple kinds of ethnic cuisine. Besides the gastric enjoyment to be had, local artists provide concerts and background music, and dogs are welcome to romp freely. Parking is free in a nearby garage.
10. The Market Company
Our final entry is really a gateway to about a dozen markets spread throughout southern Florida. Originally begun as the Lincoln Road Farmers Market in the late 1990s (which still operates each Sunday in Miami Beach), the company has since grown to include locations in multiple towns and even on several college campuses, with at least one market open each day of the week!
Local farmers, artisans, and other vendors provide the markets with honey, organic cheeses, flavored pastas (!), and traditional French pastries, and very much more. A new location recently opened in April and will be open several weekends all the way to October. More information about this and the other venues can be found on the website.
If every once and awhile you are looking for a new scene and the freshest of fresh product, meats and other offerings you do not want to miss any of these events.
Besides the difference in quality (most farmers market products are only hours beyond harvesting), the simple fact is these local enterprises offer a much more intimate, personal, communal feel than shopping at a supermarket. Where else can you meet the people whose hands picked the strawberries you just bought, or the flowers you’re taking home to your wife, or the coffee beans you’re using in your French press? For decades farmers markets have been staples of the communities they enhance, unite, and enrich. Being able to support hardworking local farmers while enjoying delicious and beautiful products can only cultivate the life and culture of any town. How blessed the people of South Florida are to have a virtually limitless constellation of options from which to choose!