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Sanibel Island Farmers Market returns Oct. 2

September 28, 2016
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Seven new vendors will join the line up at the popular weekly Sanibel Island Farmers Market, which will kick off its ninth season next month.

The weekly Sunday market is held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sanibel City Hall, 800 Dunlop Road. This season will kick off on Sunday, Oct. 2 and run through May 28. With Christmas landing on a Sunday this year, the market will have a make-up day Monday, Dec. 26. It will be open on Easter Sunday.

The Shell Love Bug will make an appearance at the market on opening day, which is being sponsored by the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau. Each week the market hosts a different nonprofit.

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Local Roots owner Betsy Ventura, Prawnbroker Restaurant Group’s Mark Blust and Local Roots owner Jean Baer.


The market, which has become a local favorite, offers such items as local produce, breads, honey, seafood, meats, cheeses and flowers.

This year's new vendors include Rosy Tomorrows Heritage Farms, T&D Gluten Free Baker, Sanibel Sweet Shoppe with Italian Ice, Mr. Fun Guy Mushroom Farmer, Argentinean Empanadas, Bush Doggies with crab cakes and Euro Fries.

Betsy Ventura, Local Roots, LLC co-owner, said they are very excited to welcome Rosy Tomorrows Heritage Farm to the market because of their meats - pork, beef and chicken, which are all raised on the farm and grass fed. They will also have organic vegetables and eggs at the market.

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This year Ventura, and her partner Jean Baer, are continuing their working partnership with F.I.S.H. by becoming a drop off point for pantry food items and monetary donations. Ventura said they have a wagon with plexiglass surrounding it to create a fish bowl for individuals to either drop off items from home, or items bought from the market for the F.I.S.H. food pantry.

Baer said for many years the vendors from the market have donated such items as produce that was not sold during the market to F.I.S.H. for the food pantry.

"It's an enhancement of a great partnership with them," she said of the market becoming a drop off destination.

Ventura and Baer added another market to their line-up by assuming the management role of the River District Farmers Market, which will be held every Thursday beginning Oct. 6, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Centennial Park under the Caloosahatchee Bridge.

The duo is adding a second Farmers Market to downtown Fort Myers every Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Cornog Plaza, 2450 First Street, next to Fort Myers Regional Library. The new Fort Myers Downtown Farm & Art Market will offer both shading and seating, Ventura said, which provides a "really good feel."

Ventura said they were also awarded a contract for a Farmers Market on Boca Grande.

Baer's son, Tyler, and Ventura's daughter, Sims, will be joining the business this year to help assist in managing the markets.

"The next generation is getting involved," Baer said.

Local Roots, LLC now has markets on Sanibel, Downtown Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Coconut Point, Fenway South, Lakes Park and FSW.

Ventura said the goal of their markets is to showcase vendors who are selling produce and artisan products that are grown and produced locally, which she hopes in turn strengthens the surrounding community.

"Shopping at our markets will reduce the carbon footprint of consumerism," she said. "There is always a well balanced offering at each market that has something for everyone."

The Sanibel Island Farmers Market began in 2008, at the Tahitian Gardens before it was moved to City Hall after it outgrew the space.

For more information about Local Roots and the Sanibel Farmers Market, visit



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