Local farmers markets begin ninth season 

Betsy Ventura & Jean Baer

Betsy Ventura & Jean Baer

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. (Sept. 12, 2016) – The weekly Bonita Springs and Coconut Point Farmers Market will soon return.

From Saturday, Oct. 1 to April 29, 2017, the Bonita Springs Farmers Market will take place from 8 a.m. to noon at the Promenade at Bonita Bay, located at 26795 South Bay Drive. This market also hosts Estero High School’s culinary class each week. Chef Jeremy and his students are onsite to clean and prepare fresh produce for customers as a service and to teach the students safe food handling and prepare them for securing jobs in the local community.

From Thursday, Oct. 6 to April 27, 2017, the Coconut Point Farmers Market will take place each from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Panera parking lot at 23106 Fashion Drive in Estero. The market will be closed Thanksgiving Day but will open on Wednesday, Nov. 23 for a make-up market.

“Our vendors are very excited to be returning to Estero and Bonita Springs to promote their locally produced products and wares to neighboring communities,” said Betsy Ventura, who, along with Jean Baer, owns Local Roots, LLC and will run the market each week.

Ventura and Baer also operate the Sanibel, Fenway South, Lakes Park and FSW Farmers Markets as well as two downtown Fort Myers markets that open every Thursday in Centennial Park and Saturday starting in November in Cornog Plaza.

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.