ANNA MARIA – The city of Anna Maria’s weekly farmers market is back. The seasonal market opened its third year of operations at City Pier Park on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
From now until mid-May, the farmers’ market will continue every Tuesday at City Pier Park, weather permitting, from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. – with the exception of Christmas Eve, on Tuesday, Dec. 24.
City Pier Park is located at the corner of Pine Avenue and North Bay Boulevard.
“We’re excited to have the market up and running with the majority of our vendors back with us. Our new vendor, Dominga’s Flowers, is a nice addition to an already great product variety. From all accounts everyone was very happy with the opening day turnout and looking forward to another great season,” market manager Debbie Haynes said.
The opening day vendors included Fibela Produce, Milagros Produce, Tillman Produce, Bella’s Gourmet Cuisine, Dominga’s Flowers, Hahn’s Gourmet Kettle Corn, Holy Paradise Guacamole, Meli Gusto gourmet products, Mr. Fun Guy’s Mushroom Store & More, Painting With a Fish, Saucy Guys and the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring organization.
“I can walk right down the street and go to the market. It’s so convenient,” Anna Maria resident Lynn French said while purchasing tomatoes, radishes and raw turmeric from Tillman Produce. French said raw turmeric is hard to find and Tillman noted he’s one of the three-year-old market’s original vendors.
Market visitors Aisling, Noleen and Niamh McQuaid purchased fresh banana bread before making their return trip to Boston later that day.
“It’s fabulous,” Noleen McQuaid said of the bread, and of the market she and her daughters have visited before.
Selling hot sauces, local honey, spice mixes and more, Saucy Guys vendor Neil Currie said, “We’ve been here since the beginning. It’s a great market. We love it. We’ve met some great people out here – and a lot of people from all over the country that buy from our online store when they’re back home.”
Currie’s business partner Jim Brannon said, “Right now I have orange blossom honey. Everybody kept asking for it, but it’s been hard to come by. I finally got some yesterday.”
“It’s beautiful here,” vendor Angelo Cannistraci said while working his first Anna Maria market selling mushrooms and more at Bill Nelms’ Mr. Fun Guy tent.
“It’s a fantastic market,” Holy Paradise Guacamole vendor Michael Valdes said, noting his offerings included fresh guacamole, tomato salsa and pineapple-mango salsa.
Milagros Produce vendor Tony Martinez was assisted by his seven-year-old son, Aidenn, and another family member.
At her Painting With a Fish tent, Kelly Hunt explained how she presses raw fish into paint and then onto canvas to create her art.
“All my fish are caught locally around Anna Maria Island. I’m big on conservation. I don’t use the fish once and throw it out. I refreeze it and use it for my classes at the Florida Maritime Museum,” Hunt said.
Hunt also sells T-shirts that contain prints of her work and the GPS coordinates of where that particular fish was caught.
She also had on hand a few copies of the book G.B. Knowles wrote with and about her father, charter fishing Captain Scott Moore: “Captain Scott Moore’s Snook Fishing Secrets.”
Moore dropped by to visit his daughter and while there he signed a copy of the book an out-of-state visitor was buying for her oldest son.