By Jayne Clark
Farmers markets in Orlando, FL are about more than buying fresh-picked tomatoes and ripe peaches. They’re mini celebrations that take place on a regular basis, and as such, they’re a great way to get a sense of community when visiting a new locale. Many feature entertainment such as musical groups or street performers. Especially popular on Sundays and Saturdays, artists sell their creations to weekend crowds. And, of course, a bounty of produce, meats, cheeses and other fare beckons the crowds.
Here are 5 farmers markets to consider in and around Orlando – the perfect way to stock up your rental home’s kitchen:
Orlando Farmers Market
Every Sunday brings food-centered festivities to this lovely park in the heart of downtown Orlando. Beyond produce and other farm-raised goods, there are fresh bakery items, prepared foods, such as homemade soups and dips and ethnic specialties, and a beer and wine garden. Local designers and artists offer everything from photography to pottery to handmade candles. For an added diversion, take a cruise in one of the lake’s charming swan boats.
Audubon Park Community Market
Fruits and vegetables, local honey, vegan snacks and more are for sale at this Monday evening market that’s been doing business since 2009. There’s also fresh meat and fish for sale, along with dairy products like kefir, buttermilk and yogurt. Plan to grab dinner at one of the food trucks that convene here. Or try a delicious crispy-on-the-outside, gooey-on-the-inside empanada from the Authentic Empanadas stand.
East End Market
It isn’t a traditional famers market – it’s open daily except Monday, and it occupies interior spaces -- but this popular neighborhood spot characterizes itself as a ”culinary food hub inspired by Central Florida’s local farmers and food artisans.” Independent purveyors of artisan cheeses, baked goods, organic juices, flowers and more operate in the first floor market hall, along with the farm-fresh restaurant, Txokos Basque Kitchen. There’s also an onsite demonstration kitchen and a working market garden.
Edgewood Farmers Market
This small community market convenes each Thursday in the city’s Edgewood District. You’ll find fresh produce and eggs, plus a good selection of food trucks. Vendors also sell handmade craft items. There’s music and, in cooler months, fire pits.
Market at Mills 50
Arts and crafts, ice cream, fresh produce and prepared food combine to make this eclectic community market a favorite among those who live in the Mills 50 neighborhood, a mile northeast of downtown Orlando.
To take advantage of this local fare on vacation, find a rental home to relax and kick back in during your Orlando stay.
Washington, DC-based freelance travel writer Jayne Clark has been a travel reporter at USA TODAY and several other daily newspapers.