Baptist Beach Farmers Market Returns | News, Sports, Jobs – FORT MYERS
The sight of the white and yellow tents at the Beach Baptist Church off Estero Boulevard and Connecticut Street does not indicate the revival of the circus. They mark the return of the Fort Myers Beach Farmers Market, which now operates two days a week after adding an extra day last year.
The Farmers’ Market opened earlier this month at Beach Baptist Church and is hosted by Linda Miller. The Beach Baptist Market is the precursor to the Farmer’s Market which will open in Santini Plaza in November. Santini Plaza will also have a vegetable stand from November.
Miller said this season’s market will feature a slew of new faces and offerings this year, from Turkish napkins to a new seafood supplier. Miller said last year’s farmer’s market after restrictions were lifted in due to the pandemic.
Although it is known as a farmer’s market, there is a lot more to do. There are the flag bearers from previous years, including Cuban sandwiches, baked muffins, guacamole, and jewelry. Currently, the Farmer’s Market offers fresh produce on Wednesdays at Beach Baptist Church.
New vendors include Dudley’s Beachside BBQ – run by Marshall Barnhart, a Kansas native whose food truck menu features “Fresh barbecue every day” including pulled pork, ribs, chicken, sausage and brisket.
“The meat comes out of the smokehouse every day” he said.
Among its specialties are “Dudley Dog” which is a quarter pound hot dog with barbecue baked beans, green onions, grated cheese, melted queso or in other words – not for those on a diet.
Those worried about catching pandemic germs through cash or credit card transactions may forfeit their credit card beyond a sensor, Barnhart said.
If you love seafood, the Fresh Catch Fish Co. of Punta Gorda is a new face in the market with just about every type of fish covered. There are three dozen frozen selections – rainbow trout, Ora King salmon, striped bass, yellowtail snapper, red snapper, king crab, haddock, lobster, mahi-mahi, three types of grouper and swordfish.
For those who prefer fresh fish, there are sea scallops, red snapper, snow grouper, Faroe Islands salmon, tripletail and cobia.
That’s not all. There are home-made salmon patties, salmon pie, artisan sausage, crab cakes and jambalaya.
Jack Minder, of Fresh Catch Fish Co., said “The only thing I don’t have is milk and eggs.”
Donnetta Campbell, from Connecticut, stopped by Fresh Catch Fish Co. and picked up lobster, mahi-mahi, and crab dip. She was at the market with her daughter Katy while in town for a wedding.
“This is our first time in this part of Florida,” Mrs. Campbell said. As the wedding takes place in Bonita Springs, Campbell said she chose to stay at an Airbnb on Fort Myers Beach. “It’s right on the sand, it’s amazing.” Campbell said they chose to stay on Fort Myers Beach rather than Bonita Springs because “We heard that Fort Myers beach is more fun.”
Among the reliable returns in the market is the “Kind of all guacamoles” support. Gloria Aparicio was in charge of providing free samples of tortilla chips and guacamole on a recent Friday. In addition to guacamole, there is pico de gallo, as well as pineapple and mango sauces. “all made with fresh ingredients,” said Aparicio.
Gigi Lopez is back for a fourth year with her large assortment of fruit muffins and fritters. Its blueberry muffins are its best sellers, while its apple and cherry donuts are not far behind. Donuts are like a “Fried donut with fruit garnish”, she said. It offers eight flavors of muffins, four flavors of donuts and five flavors of turnovers. The wide array of baked goodies presents itself well.
At the entrance is “A coffee with a purpose” which sells coffee, black iced coffee, sweet iced coffee and hot chocolate with all the profits to benefit a church in Guatemala, said Rick Good. “It’s a great cause”, he said.
Linda Miller, who hosts the Farmers’ Market every year, looks forward to adding 11 more vendors in November, bringing the total to 38. She estimates that around 20-25% of vendors are new this year. Other new suppliers include Turkish cotton sheets and towels, pretzel makers and dried fruit.
As for her own jewelry stand, Miller said she has more bracelets than necklaces this year. She has 80 different gemstones and over 600 pairs of earrings. She does all the beading herself. She also sells Walker Farm Honey for North Fort Myers Honey.
Miller likes to put jewelry together. “I do it all summer and then we’re done doing it. It’s just fun for me ”, she said.
The Beach Baptist Church Farmer’s Market is open Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., while the Santini Plaza Market opens on November 2 and will open Tuesday through Thursday at the same times.