EFM Logo


Thursday 9am to 2pm

call us: +1 (941) 445-9209


  • A Non-Profit Organization

    Serving Englewood since 2011

  • Fresh Fruits

  • Fresh Baked Goods

  • Organic Produce

  • Giving Back To Our Community

Joy and Peace on Earth from the EFM

I would like to take a moment and thank each and every one of you for all your support and assistance in making the Englewood Farmers Market the best market in the tri-county area! We are truly unique in both our qualitative focus on food and agriculture and giving back to the community we serve. Your level of professionalism and talent has set the benchmark for a very successful future.

This is also the time of year that we should pause to reflect on the goodness that life has brought us this past year, even in the face of adversity on occasion.

It is our sincere hope that this holiday season and the year to come bring joy, laughter, and much success to you and your families!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

From the EFM team with much love,

Amy, Bob, Lee, Marie, Mike, Ricardo, Rose & Tom

@ THE Englewood Farmers Market

A lovely day at the Englewood Farmer’s Market



One of my favorite places to go on a lazy day is a farmer’s market.

It’s really like the best of everything that is good in the world — it features freshly grown or raised food, it’s populated by friendly people, it takes place outdoors, and perhaps best of all, you can get free samples of almost everything.

When you head to the Englewood Farmer’s Market, if you don’t remember anything else about this column, don’t forget to go there hungry. Seriously, there are 60 vendors and 73 booths, and probably more than 95 percent of them are selling food items. And what better way to get you interested in purchasing what they’re selling than to let you taste it?

Take it from me, that tactic works. But as you’re eating your way through the market, just know that it’s actually food that is good for you. Take Mr. Pesto, for instance. His given name is Bob Garbowicz, but I tend to call people by whatever name they have printed on the front of their apron.

Anyway, Mr. Pesto sells sauces and yes, pestos, all made with fresh basil. And let me tell you, the man is serious about his basil.

“I grow my own basil for my tomato sauces, but my homegrown basil is not worthy of my pestos,” he said. “If you’re going to say you have the world’s greatest pesto, you start with the world’s greatest basil. All basil is not created equal.”

That’s why he gets the basil he uses in his pesto from an organic, hydroponic grower.

Fresh ingredients are also important to Richard Harmon, who owns Paradise Peanut Butter. He uses all kinds of different nuts and comes up with some incredibly creative nut butters, of which I tried a few, of course. The White Chocolate Raspberry tasted like you could put it on a sandwich and forgo the jelly, but my favorite was the Coconut, which smelled so good I didn’t know if I wanted to eat it or drink it.

All of the vendors at this nonprofit farmer’s market are distinctively unique — for instance, there are several bakers, but they all specialize in something different. The market manager, Lee Perron, said that because everything sold there has to be fresh, bakers are required tohave baked their goods the day before market, at the latest.

“That’s the type of market this is,” he said. “We have 11 growers in our market, but they have to be a local grower. The rule here is diversity, not duplication.”

All I can say is that as I left the Englewood Farmer’s Market, I took a lot of food with me, both in bags and in my belly. I asked Perron how hecould spend so much time at this market and the Venice Farmer’s Market, which he also manages, and still manage to stay so thin.

“I also spend a lot of time at the gym,” he said.

Debbie Flessner writes the Live Like a Tourist column for the Sun newspapers. You may contact her at dj@ flessner.net.

The Englewood Farmer’s Market is open every Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., October through May.

Bob Garbowicz, also known as “Mr. Pesto,” gives out samples to some customers who are obviously ready to buy.

One of the hallmarks of the Englewood Farmer’s Market is its large selection of various types of produce.

“Big Daddy,” of Perry’s Barbecue, is a well-loved staple at many area farmer’s markets.

You’ve never seen a pot of paella as big as this one at the booth of al-Andaluz Paellas and Tapas.


Providing classic rock musical accompaniment for my taste-testing was the talented Andre’ Lemiuex.


by Claudia Castillo

Serves 8, 1 cup per serving


  • 1 cup barley, whole grain couscous, or quinoa
  • 1 medium bulb fennel
  • 1 bunch hearty greens, such as kale, chard, collard greens or beet greens
  • 1 small beet
  • 1 medium firm apple
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ cup nuts or seeds, such as pecans, almonds, or walnuts
  • 1 medium lemon
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Optional Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces cheese, such as blue, goat, or Cheddar cheese

Press Release

contact: Lee Perron
e-mail: info@englewoodfarmersmarket.org

The Englewood Farmers Market is set to launch their new season on Thursday, October 5th! First off, we want to welcome back our all star line-up of the best food and agriculture vendors in the region. We’re also going to have some fantastic new talent joining the market this season! In addition to local pasture raised chickens, ducks and turkeys plus farm fresh eggs from Sarasota’s Grove Ladder Farm, there will be two new gourmet bakers with French tarts and American pies, Empanadas from Argentina, handmade popsicles, ready to take home gourmet meals, and new fusion drink beverages.  In addition, you’ll see live cooking demos every week with Master Chef Chasky. Chef Chasky will be creating and featuring recipes made with fresh ingredients purchased that morning from the market vendors.

As part of our mission to support local farmers and an initiative with our SNAP and Fresh Access Bucks double dollars program, we’re thrilled to have eleven local grower’s this season” stated market manager Lee Perron.

As a non-profit farmers market that donates its proceeds back to the local community, the Englewood Farmers Market donated over $21,000 last season to St. David’s and Helping Hand food banks, the Englewood Care Clinic, the Englewood Sports Complex, New Paradigm and Englewood Elementary School.

The Englewood Farmers Market is open every Thursday from 9 AM – 2 PM, October through May in the 300 Block of Historic W. Dearborn Street.

For more information please check out our website: www.englewoodfarmersmarket.org or contact Lee Perron via e-mail: info@englewoodfarmersmarket.org or phone (941) 445-9209.

EFM – A foodie destination spot for south Sarasota County

Herald-Tribune – A foodies destination (FULL ARTICLE)


Englewood Farmers Market

For farm-fresh finds and prepared foods

By Vanessa Caceres


Foodies, you’ve met your match at the Englewood Farmers Market. Held on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. October through May in Old Englewood Village, the Englewood Farmers Market focuses exclusively on farm-fresh finds and prepared foods. So, want some fresh guacamole and chips? Got it. In-season produce from Florida farms? Yes, in full force. Paella, fresh seafood, or pickles? Check, check, check.

The Englewood Market draws a large crowd of people from south Sarasota County all the way down to Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda, said market manager Lee Perron.

The market, sponsored by the Friends of Sarasota County Parks, got its start after a conversation in 2011 about the need for a vibrant farmers market in the area. In its first week, the market had 21 vendors and about 1,500 visitors; within three months, the market had 40 vendors and 3,000 visitors a week.

This season, the market has had about 60 vendors and 6,000 to 7,000 visitors weekly.

So what keeps people coming back?

“We have a unique focus on food and agriculture,” Perron said. “We have 11 different growers, including

Lee Perron is the market manager. [PHOTO BY VANESSA CACERES]


small farmers. We have guacamole, salsa, paella, Maggie’s Seafood, cheese, and more.”

Bottom line: If you leave the Englewood Farmers Market hungry, it’s your own fault.

Another reason for the market’s popu-larity is that it brings something fun to do to an otherwise quiet area.

“When the circus comes to town, everyone wants to see,” said Mark Web-ster, vendor and owner of The Happy Pickle.

The market also believes in giving back to the community. Through a grant program, users of SNAP (formerly food stamps) can spend double their dollars on Florida-grown produce items sold at the market. Of all the markets in Florida that take part in that program, the Englewood market has the highest usage, Perron said.

A regular cooking demonstration shows market attendees how they can easily prepare recipes with healthy ingredients from the market. The Englewood market also participates in research on how grassroots efforts such as those at the market make a difference in health outcomes.

Local elementary students have regular field trips to the market, and the market is heavily promoted via the health depar tments of both Charlotte and Sarasota counties. The SCAT bus system even stops near the market, occasionally offering free bus rides there on Thursday mornings.

Speaking of market access, parking for the market recently became a little easier. There are expanded parking lots near Green Street and on the west end of Dearborn. It’s easiest to find parking earlier in the day or after 12. The market’s busiest time is from 10 a.m. to noon.

“Once we get rolling, we’re really jammed,” Perron said.

Here’s more information on a few of the market vendors.

Venus Veggies

The folks at Venus Veggies make a two-hour drive each way from the small down of Venus to attend the Englewood Farmers Market and offer certified organic prod uce.

“Everything’s picked the day before,” said Emily Troup of Venus Veggies.

Still, she added that the hard work is worth it as they’ve developed regular customers over the past four years.

Some of their best-selling items include lettuce and black cherry tomatoes. Depending on what’s in season, Venus Veggies also has carrots, all kinds of greens, eggplants, eggs, and more.

Tropical Island Kettle Corn

If you watch visitors strolling in and out of the Englewood Market this time of year, you’ll notice two things. First, there’s a lot of talk about what people want to do before they “go back north.” Second, most everyone seems to carry long bags of kettle corn. Those visitors know about Tropical Island Kettle Corn from Punta Gorda. Owners Carol Turner and Jim Dembrowski worked with their daughter, a nutritionist, to create a sweet and salty recipe that uses less sugar.

“It tastes great,” Turner said.

And it does, perfect to munch on as you look around the market or on your drive home. FYI: Kettle corn freezes well, allowing the sugar to get crunch without losing its taste.

Weil Honey

A farmers market needs to have at least one honey vendor, and Weil Honey of Punta Gorda offers a mix of raw honey along with other health products. Fresh coconut oil, honey powder, organic numeric, Ceylon cinnamon, and apple cider vinegar are among John Weil’s other offerings. Weil has 4,000 hives around the Englewood and Punta Gorda region, so they produce a wide range of honey types, including honeybell, wildflower, and buckwheat. Some of Weil’s customers use his honey to boost their health and even help with sleep, Weil said.

The Happy Pickle

It’s easy to take pickles and olives for granted, but you probably won’t do that if you buy from The Happy Pickle of Fort Myers. mark Webster and family sell about 20 varieties of olives and pickles and participate in markets from Sarasota down to Marco Island. The kosher dills are particularly popular, as are the half-sours—sometimes called half-dills, Webster said. Their olives come from a Greek vendor. Make sure to try the olives with stuffed blue cheese.

Stamper Chees e

If you’re from Wisconsin then you know all about Wisconsin cheese. But you don’t have to be a cheesehead to appreciate Stamper Cheese, which sells a variety of cheeses from the state and offers free samples. The ever-popular cheese curds are a hit, as are the cheddar, gouda, and herbed Monterey jack varieties, said Rich Olson.

Next Gen Organics

Next Gen Organic’s Robert Ferdinandsen of Gibsonton helps people custom-build their own aquaponics and aquaculture systems to grow without pesticides and herbicides. Although this has been Ferdinandsen’s first season at the market, he has five years of experience with aquaponics and explains to visitors various sustainable farming methods.

Info: englewoodfarmersmarket.org

Emily Troup of Venus Veggies. [PHOTOS BY VANESSA CACERES]


Rich Olson of Stamper Cheese.

John Weil of Weil Honey.

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