Florida is known for its great weather, sandy beaches and numerous golf courses. Down here we call it “high season” and “tourist season,” but behind these warming spring days is another season Southwest Florida … growing season.
Florida strawberries fill grocery shelves; local heirloom tomatoes blush juicy from produce stands. Oranges, grapefruit, limes, and all manner of ground crops are ripe for the picking.
The best place to stock up your fresh pantry is at the farmers markets that convene on different days around the area.
So do what the locals do, try vendor sample at the numerous farmers markets that convene on different days of the week all around Lee County
The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau has tracked below some popular market stops where you can sample the ‘other’ things we are famous for:
Sanibel Farmers Market, City Hall, 800 Dunlop Rd., Sanibel Island; 691-9249; www.facebook.com/sanibelfarmersmarket; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.
It can get quite crowded, so arrive early. If you’re a visitor, it’s a good place to meet the locals, who are avid fans. While there: You cannot go to Sanibel without a walk on the beach to pick up some shells.
Fenway South Farmers Market, Jet- Blue Park, 11500 Daniels Pkwy., Fort Myers; 691-9249; www.facebook.com/FenwaySouthFarmersMarket; 3 to 6 p.m. Monday.
Held in front of the Boston Red Sox spring training stadium, it is the area’s newest seasonal market. While there: During March, try to catch the Sox at practice, free to the public.
River District Farmers Market, Centennial Park, 2000 W. First St., Downtown Fort Myers; 321-7098; www.downtownfortmyers.com/market_ days; 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday.
It’s one of the area’s longest-running markets and resides under the bridge year-round. While there: Check out the shops and restaurants in the downtown area.
Lakes Park Farmers Market, Lakes Regional Park, 7330 Gladiolus Dr., Fort Myers; 691-9249; www.facebook.com/ LakesParkFarmersMarket; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday.
Live music adds to the pretty park ambiance. While there: Bring the kids so they can enjoy the water park, mini-railroad, trails and playground.
GreenMarket, Lee County Alliance of the Arts, 10091 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers; 939-2787; www.artinlee.org; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
This year-round market adds children’s activities, live music, and cooking and gardening demonstrations to the usual lineup. While there: Step into the Alliance’s art galleries to see what’s currently showing.
Cape Coral Farmers Market, Club Square, SE 47th Terr. and SE 10th Pl., Cape Coral; 549-6900; www.capecoralfarmersmarket.com; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
Live entertainment and presentations add to the festive spirit of this community event. While there: Make a day of it at Sunsplash Family Waterpark in Cape Coral.
Fort Myers Beach Farmers Market, Under the Matanzas Bridge between First and Second streets, Fort Myers Beach; 765-0202; http://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/ ; 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. through April.
This farmers market offers fresh fish and shrimp along with fresh produce. While there: Enjoy the food and walk it off on the beach.
Bonita Springs Lions Club Farm Fresh Market, The Promenade at 26811 South Bay Drive in Bonita Springs; 495- 8464; www.farmersmarketonline.com; from 7 a.m. to noon, through May.
White tents fill the Promenade with fresh fruits, veggies, baked goods, jewelry and plants and flowers. While there: Shop at the farmers market and then shop retail.