Local farmers markets begin ninth season

Betsy Ventura & Jean Baer

Betsy Ventura & Jean Baer

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Sept. 12, 2016) – Local Roots Farmers Markets, the operators of six other farmers markets across Lee County for the past nine years, are coming to downtown Fort Myers.

Local Roots will be taking over the River District Farmers Market every Thursday beginning Oct. 6 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Centennial Park under the Caloosahatchee Bridge, located at 2000 West First Street. The market will be open all year except for Thanksgiving Day but will open on Wednesday, Nov. 23 for a make-up market.

On Nov. 5, Local Roots will also kick off the new Fort Myers Downtown Farm & Art Market each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Cornog Plaza, located 2450 First Street next to Fort Myers Regional Library.

“The River District is the oldest market in Lee County started by the City of Fort Myers Redevelopment Office,” said Betsy Ventura, who, along with Jean Baer, owns Local Roots, LLC and will run the market each week. “Similar to our other markets, we plan to build a stronger market that will attract more shoppers.”

Ventura said the new market at Cornog Plaza is in co-operation with the River District Alliance to develop a strong weekend market for downtown Fort Myers.

“A highlight of this market will be Rose O’Dell’s Rosy Tomorrows Heritage Farm, a North Fort Myers organic farm bringing meats, eggs, produce, herbs and freshly baked breads all grown or made on their farm.” Ventura said. “This and our Sanibel market are the only markets they are participating in, and we are really excited to be working with them.

In addition to downtown Fort Myers and Sanibel, Ventura and Baer also operate the Bonita Springs, Coconut Point, Fenway South, Lakes Park and FSW Farmers Markets.

Baer’s son, Tyler, a graduate of the University of Florida, and Ventura’s daughter, Sims, will be joining the duo this season to assist in managing the markets.

“It is so great that our business has grown enough to bring our kids in,” Ventura said. “So many of our vendors work as a family in their small businesses, too.”

She added that the goal of each of their markets is to strengthen the surrounding community by showcasing vendors who are selling produce and artisan products that are grown or produced locally. Products are packaged by owners in an environmentally friendly way, and the locations of markets are clean and safe, and reflect a community atmosphere.

“Shopping at our markets will reduce the carbon footprint of consumerism,” she said. “There is always a well balanced offering at each market that has something for everyone.”

Anyone interested in becoming a vendor or providing live entertainment may visit www.BuyLocalLee.com.