Englewood farmers market no more

Construction displaced it; no alternate location found

By STEVE REILLY

STAFF WRITER

ENGLEWOOD ? After a decade attracting thousands to West Dearborn Street for fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh baked bread and steaming tins of paella, the Englewood Farmers Market is no more.

Lee Perron, manager of the nonprofit since its inception, made the announcement Monday.

“It has taken many hours of discussion and difficult consideration before coming to this decision,” Perron told the Englewood Community Redevelopment Advisory Board during its meeting Monday afternoon at Lemon Bay Park.

“In many ways, this is just the time for the final chapter of a great

story,” Perron said. “Who knew that

shoppers at the Englewood Farmers Market
The nonprofit Englewood Farmers Market had been a staple on West Dearborn Street every Thursday from October until the end of May. Market manager Lee Perron announced Monday that it will not return this fall. Other markets are expected along Dearborn ? but that, too, remains to be seen. SUN FILE PHOTO

during the last 10 years, that over 1 million people would come to historic downtown Englewood on Thursdays between October and May?”

The farmers market vendors set up their stands Thursdays, starting early on October Thurdays and fall and sticking around until crowds grew sparce in May. It’s home has been the Pioneer Plaza between West Dearborn and Green streets on the 300 block. The market attracted thousands to West Dearborn each year.

But for the upcoming season, the farmers market needed to find an alternate site while Sarasota County builds a permanent stage, band shell, sidewalks and restrooms in the plaza.

No suitable location could be found, Perron said, and the market’s board decided to end the Englewood market. The nonprofit farmers market operated under the umbrella of the Friends of Sarasota County Parks.

Its demise will not affect the Venice and North Port farmers markets, which Perron also manages.

The success of the Englewood nonprofit market led to other farmers markets to spring up Thursdays on private property along West Dearborn Street. The largest was Joyce Colmar’s Dearborn Street Market on her property across the street from the Pioneer Plaza.

Colmar could not be reached Monday for comment.

Even though he announced the end of the Englewood Farmers Market, Perron said, “We have already made plans, in addition to the $7,000 in donations we just issued in July, to donate the entire remainder of our financial assets in the amount of $9,700 and all of our tangible assets and operating materials to nonprofit entities.

“This should be completed no later than the end of September 2021,” he said.

Meanwhile, Perron will be notifying his vendors so they can find other venues to sell their wares. Email: steve.reilly@yoursun.com