The new Englewood Farmers Market was so well received that most vendors were sold out by noon on their first day.
|SUN PHOTOS BY CHRIS KOURAPIS
Maggie and Gary Balch, owners of Maggie’s Seafood show their fresh New England seafood to customer Joe Doniak.
Nobody was more surprised than Wayne Dancer of Port Charlotte who has been selling his produce in farmers markets in Collier County, Sarasota County, and Charlotte County for over 15 years. He had never seen such an incredible opening day and vowed to triple the amount of organic vegetables he would be bringing to Englewood in the future. Organic vegetables are, of course, much more expensive to grow. Gardeners using pesticides may spray nine types of pesticides on their crops. The organic products cost the grower three times as much, but are free of pesticides and very popular. Don Musilli is active with the Englewood Center for Sustainability, a chapter of the Friends of the Sarasota County Parks. He was amazed at how fast the idea of starting a Farmers Market at Pioneer Park grew. Only a handful of people were involved in the planning when it began only months ago.
No one was really in charge, according to Don Musilli, but all had great ideas. So far the Farmers Market committee includes: Mango Bistro owners Marie LaForge and Ricardo Ruggiero, Debbie Marks of the CRA, Don and Janet Landis, Lee Peron, Elaine Miller, Mike Hutchinson and Elsie Quirk Library Manager Jennifer Perry.
The Englewood Farmers Market can be found on Historic Dearborn Street at Pioneer Park located next to Mango Bistro Restaurant from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Thursday. They feature local and organic produce, fresh seafood, fresh German Bread, homemade pies, gluten free baked goods, Bonsai trees, local honey, candied nuts, orchids, homemade soups, fresh herbs, cupcakes, kettle corn and gourmet French dishes. A popular booth offers plants and herbs for A brilliant array of poincettia greet holiday shoppers at the Community Haven booth at the Englewood Farmers Market.
|Sky Stockton assists Owner Wayne “Majic” Dancer
at his weekly produce stand
at the Englewood Farmers Market.
Community Haven for Adults and Children with Disabilities, Inc. is a non-profit, 57- yearold organization that offers adults and children with disabilities an opportunity to learn skills needed to gain employment and become fully included in the mainstream community
. Carolyn J. Marchbank, Plant Nursery Manager, oversees the program. At the Englewood Farmers Market shoppers can purchase house plants or shrubbery and help to support the first “Green”group home in Florida.
To learn more about Community Haven call 941-355-8808 or checkout their website at www.communityhaven.com? . “Approximately eight to 10 vendors a week apply for space to display their wares,” Don Musilli explained, “We are very selective and strive to offer a variety of goods for sale. Vendors must be licensed and insured.
We currently have 32 booths rented every week and will eventually fill 50.” The organizers plan to use the Sustainability Booth located at the front entrance for cooking demonstrations and other live presentations in the future. Presently live entertainment is offered to enhance a festive atmosphere while shoppers browse.