Anna Maria farmer’s market to debut Tuesday

Anna Maria Farmer's Market
The northwest end of City Pier Park will be transformed into a farmer's market on Tuesdays. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

ANNA MARIA – The city of Anna Maria’s new farmer’s market is scheduled to make its debut on Tuesday, March 20.

Taking place in City Pier Park, near the corner of Pine Avenue and South Bay Boulevard, the market is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

According to Mayor Dan Murphy, the city has six vendors lined up for the market debut and more vendors have expressed interest in participating in future markets.

Tillman Thomas will be selling produce and organic produce. Mr. Fun Guy will be selling fresh and dried mushrooms. Saucy Guy will be selling barbeque sauce and salsa. AMI Aquaponics will be selling microgreens and edible plants. Hahn’s Kettle Corn will be selling kettle corn and Cindy Thompson will be selling Himalayan salts and other seasonings and rubs.

Interested vendors can contact Deputy Clerk/Treasurer Debbie Haynes at 941-708-6130, ext. 121 or email her at [email protected]

Insurance requirements addressed

City officials originally hoped to start the farmer’s market on March 6, but there was a lack of eligible vendors due to the city’s liability insurance requirements. Murphy and the Anna Maria Commission resolved those issues when the commission approved a plan proposed by Murphy that allows the city to acquire liability insurance for its vendors through the Florida League of Cities (FLC).

During the commission’s March 8 meeting, Murphy said 17 vendors were interested in the market, but only two carried their own insurance. Murphy said the insurance policies are needed in case someone gets sick or dies as a result of eating produce or other goods sold in City Pier Park, which is city property.

He told commissioners the city could acquire a policy through the FLC that would provide coverage for 15 market sessions at total cost of $70 per vendor. City Attorney Becky Vose supported the plan, which provides $1 million in liability insurance.

Each vendor will pay the city $70 to participate in the market’s anticipated 10-week trial run. Vendors do not have to pay any additional fees to reserve space in the market. It is hoped the market will bring more visitors to the Pine Avenue business district while the Anna Maria City Pier remains closed.

The market will consist primarily of fresh produce and other natural products not intended for on-site consumption. The goal is to establish a market that does not create direct competition for the Pine Avenue businesses, which are also invited to participate.

“I’ve been an advocate for the market from the beginning and if we can get 10 vendors out there I think it would be an attraction. I would be in favor of the city taking the insurance and then passing the cost along to the vendors. Since there is no other cost, it’s pretty reasonable for them,” Commission Chair Doug Copeland said.

Commissioner Dale Woodland asked about insurance requirements at other local markets.

“What’s the difference between us and Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach?” he said.

“Evidently there’s people selling at the markets there that don’t have insurance, or the city went and purchased insurance to cover themselves or they’ve got an organizer who has the insurance. Those are the three alternatives. I asked the same question myself,” Murphy said.