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A Stroll Through Sarasota’s Farmers Markets

Given the Sarasota area’s endless sunshine and natural beauty, it’s no surprise that there’s a robust farmers market scene here. Both the islands and the mainland host markets that showcase the food, products, artwork and more that reflect the spirit of this rich community. One of the best ways to get to know the area is to spend some time strolling through them, where you’ll encounter everything from live music, kids games, spirited competitions and other special events. And not to worry, most markets are dog friendly and boast plenty of local coffee stands.

The Sarasota Farmers Market is the area’s biggest and runs 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday in downtown Sarasota. Since 1979, locals and visitors of all ages and backgrounds have been mingling in the brightly-colored stalls, pouring over all the local goods on offer. SFM features some stand-out vendors, including Ashjoi soaps, Sarasota Candle Company and Suncoast Florist. Grab a breakfast sandwich from Alpine Steakhouse, then pick up fresh pasta, sushi and salmon. Cool off with a frozen Pop Craft bar or get a bag of kettle corn to go. There’s always music at SFM and an updated events calendar keeps things pretty lively.

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It’s not just the scenery at Siesta Key Farmers Market that’s so full of personality. While yes, this market is set in bustling Siesta Key Village—home to lots of restaurants, bars and live music—it generates its own scene. Walk SKFM to visit more than 25 vendors, many of them devoted to artisanal and handmade items like pottery and jewelry, as well as fine artwork such as photography and watercolor. Running on Sundays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., one of the best ways to arrive at the market is via the Siesta Breeze Trolley, which is free.

On Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. October through April, head to Phillippi Farmhouse Market. Held in the park of the same name, the gracious grounds are overlooked by the Edson Keith Mansion and bordered by Phillippi Creek. 50 vendors gather here to offer everything from hand-dyed clothing to wood sculptures, but the main event is the food. Crazy Crepes, Maggies Seafood, Stamper Cheese Company, Sift Bakehouse and Polpo Pizza are just a few of the mouth-watering eateries represented. Have a picnic on the grounds or take your lunch home. Live music includes fusion, steel drum, rock and more.

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The newest of the group, The Market at Lakewood Ranch unfolds on the Sarasota Polo Club grounds every Wednesday, December through April, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. This market emphasizes the area’s agricultural traditions and highlights them in the produce and products they sell, partnering with local favorite Worden Farm and offering everything from chicken, duck and turkey to cold-pressed juices and truffle oil. This is a family-friendly market that knows how to have a little fun; they just added bingo to the events roster.