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Farmer’s market kicks off at Shell Factory

January 11, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

Saturday dawned cloudy and rainy but Roy Jones of North Fort Myers wasn't bothered. He set up shop near the front entrance of the North Fort Myers Civic Association Farmers Market with tables full of fresh honey and citrus, all grown locally.

"Much of this is produced less than 10 miles from here, so the customers get it as fresh as possible. It's picked one day and on sale the next," Jones said. "My partner and I try to keep things as organic as possible and have quality control over everything."

The rainy opening of the second market on Saturday at the Shell Factory resembled what happened on it first day last year but put little damper on the enthusiasm organizers have for the project.

"We have a great location on Both 41s with highway frontage," said North Fort Myers Civic Association president Michael Land. "We have signs that are coming for each highway, plenty of parking and everyone knows where it is. This is also an established market. It's been here for years and everyone knows what it is. I think it's going to help us."

On a clear day, Richard Dunmire, who runs the flea market there on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, said they draw up to 1,000 people, which gives area residents the opportunity to shop local.

"If I don't have to cross that bridge to do something, it makes me happy," Dunmire said. "We want to bring in the local farmers and vendors and I think it will be great."

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Dunmire said a farmer's market is different because the vendors and hardcore shoppers aren't bothered by a little rain.

Last year, the civic association started the farmers market at Marinatown, hoping that the location near the water would bring people in.

However, lack of good visibility from the road and the inability to put up signs on the highway, coupled with the fact it rained most Fridays, hindered attendance.

The move to the Shell Factory is expected to boost attendance, especially with the flea market to help draw people in.

As this is a civic association event, Land also called it a golden opportunity to bring more people into the organization, which had a tremendous 2016 and is looking to continue the momentum, encouraging people to come.

"It's 1,000 opportunities to make friends and hopefully get some new members," Land said. "Come out and participate."

The Shell Factory and nature Park is at 2787 N Tamiami Trail,

The Farmer's market is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday until April. Vendors are encouraged to be there by 6 a.m. to set up. Cost is $10. For more information call the Shell Factory at 995-2141.



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