I recently visited two of my favorite farmers’ markets in St. Petersburg, FL. The sights, sounds, aromas, and food selection were awesome. I have included a link to a slide show highlighting my recent visits to both locales.
Growing Green Farms Farmers’ Market
Also known as Graham’s Fresh produce, the exterior of this local farmers’ market does not do justice to the virtual cornucopia of food to be found inside.
Compared with other farmers’ markets visited, the hours for Growing Green Farms were most accommodating. Other local farmers’ markets are only open certain hours on certain days, typically during the middle of the week. Growing Green Farms, however, is open 9 a.m. til 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. til 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Technically, the address at Growing Green is in Kenneth City, but it is located conveniently enough off of the Interstate that I am including it in with St. Petersburg. The address is 5701 54th Avenue N, Kenneth City, FL.
Another convenience that this farmers’ market has that sets it apart from some others is that they accept credit cards, debit cards, and food stamps for purchase. There is a $5 minimum for the use of debit or credit.
They have just about every type of fresh produce that you could want at Growing Green. Fresh grapes, bananas, pineapples, oranges, apples, plums, asian pears, oranges, melons, and even blueberries await.
After you have paid for your produce, directly next door is Neptune’s Fresh Seafood. Don’t be fooled, however; they have much more than just seafood here. In addition to wonderful prices on smoked salmon, lobster tail, and crab, they also have a grocery section, with everything from ethnic food to spices to milk and drinks to home made ice cream. A Boars Head deli will slice up fresh meat and cheese to your liking.
I bought 2 cups of chili and three homemade milkshakes. I was able to split the chili four ways, there was so much. So I was able to feed my whole family for the price of what it would cost for two meals at a fast food restaurant. It was better for us, too.
As you exit Neptune’s, just to your right is another delightful surprise: Hambone Express BBQ. The smoker is always on, grilling up beef brisket, pulled pork, and chicken. These all come with a side of coleslaw, Baked Beans, pasta or potato salad, or grilled cabbage.
In summary, there is no shortage of good, quality, healthy food available at Growing Green Farms. I highly recommend it.
Saturday Morning Market
The Saturday Morning Market has got to be the granddaddy of all the local farmers’ markets. In its ninth year of operation, the Saturday Morning Market is located at 100 First Street South, SE, in the Progress Energy Park, over by Al Lang Stadium. A couple of people told me that it was not a farmers’ market, since they had other vendors there. I have included it since there are many elements of a traditional farmers’ here, and I have chosen to focus on those, while enjoying some of the other aspects of the Saturday Morning Market.
If you plan on coming to the Saturday Morning Market, come early to secure a parking space. Else you can expect to pay $5 to park, although there is a $3 parking garage on First Avenue S.
The Saturday Morning Market is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday. Along with the many organic produce items available for sale are such things as clothes, furniture and even pet treats. This is a popular place for dog owners to take their canines. In the accompanying slideshow I have included a picture of a small Boxer that seemed to follow me around the last time I visited.
Some of the booths have delicious samples. I tried a mild salsa at one. I overheard a small girl tell a friend that had gotten the hot variety, “That’ll teach you to try stuff at market.” The salsa, just like the other produce, was organic and homemade and, I might add, quite tasty.
There were also booths featuring homemade breads and pasta, along with wine. On an earlier trip, I met an Amish couple that sold organic beef.
If you want to take a break from shopping or sampling, there is a section with fold-out chairs, where you can sit and listen to live music. Former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick baker used to come out to the Market and play guitar.
One of the more interesting people I met was a lady who played a living statue. She held a metal replica of a small child and solicited $2 donations from anyone who wanted to take a picture of her. I was glad for her sake that it was a cool morning, else she would have been dying under all that silver makeup.
Most of the vendors at the Saturday Morning Market accept cash only, but there is an ATM available.
I was impressed by the wide variety of ethnic foods available at the Saturday Morning Market. There are British and Irish meat pies available, as well as wood fried pizza, French gourmet food, traditional Spanish and Greek food, and even Ethiopian food. Wash it all down with some ethnic coffee, and you’re as good to go!