Editor’s Note: We spoke with Lee Perron, the Market Manager for the Englewood Farmers Market open Thursdays 9am to 2pm. Lee also manages the Venice Farmers Market Saturdays (8am to 1pm) and the Atlanta Braves Farmers Market Wednesdays (8am to noon). The Venice market is at Venice City Hall and the Braves market is at CoolToday Park, the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves. We feature a separate interview with Lee focused on the VFM and ABFM in our sister magazine South County Healthy Living. Digital flipbook edition at SouthCountyHealthyLiving.com.
Lee, how have you and your team adapted to make the markets safe for visitors and vendors?
We request visitors wear face masks and respect social distancing. We encourage customers to shop with their eyes and not their hands. Our food vendors are also wearing gloves and their booth areas are a minimum of 6 feet apart. We have sanitizing stations and we encourage visitors to follow a logical walking flow to support social distancing. We are also asking guests to leave their pets at home unless it’s a service animal.
What’s the brief history of the EFM?
The market began following a conversation in 2011 with Marie Laforge and Ricardo Ruggiero. The couple own Mango Bistro. With additional input and support from Mike Hutchinson and Don Musilli, we opened November 3, 2011. As a nonprofit under Friends of Sarasota County Parks, we have donated over $185,000 to the Englewood community.
What’s available at the market in terms of produce and other items?
We continue to offer local and organic fresh produce, artisan baked goods, meats, seafood, dairy, plants, herbs, prepared foods, honey, syrups, sauces, salsa, and much more. Our vendors support our core values of nutritional health, education, sustainability, and sense of community.
What’s the significance of the market receiving a Travelers Choice Award from TripAdvisor?
The award reflects the outstanding quality of our vendors and the amazing support from our community. Our local market ranks in the top ten percent of markets nationwide.
Can you provide an update about the second year for the Atlanta Braves Farmers Market?
We’ll have even more vendors this year set up in the same safe CDC compliant market design we have in Englewood as well as plenty of free parking at CoolToday Park.
Is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) continuing?
We continue to accept SNAP and Feeding Florida enables people enrolled in the SNAP Program to double the value of their purchase at the market. In fact, we have implemented unlimited double dollar matching until the end of 2020. It’s a win-win for SNAP participants and Florida farmers.