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Englewood’s farmers market opens to crowds

By STEVE REILLY (Englewood Sun - STAFF WRITER)

A sure sign that autumn has arrived in Englewood is its Thursday farmers market.
Lee Perron, manager for the nonprofit Englewood, Venice and new North Port markets, anticipated 2,000 to 2,500 shoppers to visit vendors by the 2 p.m. closing time Thursday. “That’s a good opening,” Perron said. Wednesday, opening day the North Port farmers market — located at CoolToday Park, the Atlanta Braves Spring Training facility, 18800 South West Villages Parkway — saw 2,000 to 2,500 people turn out.

In November 2011, the first day of the Englewood Farmer’s Market saw 17 vendors, 21 booths and attracted 1,500 people. Now there’s more than 56 vendors at the market — and that doesn’t count the markets that sprung up around Englewood’s downtown and are piggybacking on the success of the original nonprofit market.

“We’ve heard nothing bad about Englewood,” said Anthony Sessa of the Fort Myers-based The Pasta Machine, a new vendor at the Englewood Farmers Market.

For Stevie Banks, the drive from North Port was worth it. “There’s so many different (vendors),” she said.

Rosibel Malheiro sells jewelry and women’s wear at one of the smaller markets at the corner of South Orange Avenue and West Dearborn Street. She’s been coming Thursdays from Sarasota to the Englewood markets for several years.

“I like the people — and it’s quiet,” Malheiro said. Email: steve.reilly@yoursun.com

The Plant City-based Hernandez Farm Produce owners Lucia Hernandez and her husband, Artemio, never miss selling their produce at the annual Englewood Farmers Market every Thursday until May. SUN PHOTO BY STEVE REILLY

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