Long before Publix, Whole Foods, and definitely before the days of Amazon Prime, farmers would gather to showcase their fresh produce for the townspeople in true farm-to-table fashion. In fact, these kinds of markets date all the way back to Egypt over 5,000 years ago where farmers along the Nile would come together to sell their fresh produce, successfully paving the way for what we know today as farmers markets.
As Diane Kolopanas of 30A Farmers Market puts it, “This was the first grocery store.”
While the first farmers market in the United States opened in 1634 in Boston, the ones you’ll find along 30A and beyond are a bit newer to the scene.
“We saw a need when we moved to the area back in 2013,” said Kolopanas. “The whole idea was to bring in a sense of community. We started with Rosemary Beach and expanded from there.” Using her background in event planning, she began reaching out to various farmers and vendors and the rest was history. They now have three year-round locations including Rosemary Beach, Grand Boulevard, and Niceville, plus a seasonal location in Seascape. All locations run from 9 AM to 1 PM on their designated days and offer everything from locally grown farm-fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, grass-fed chicken, pork, and beef to fresh local seafood, artisan breads and other homemade confections, pickles, salsas, jams and preserves, as well as fresh-cut flowers, honey, dog treats, CBD, and so much more.
Simply put, there’s a little something for everyone.
– Beachy Blooms
– Noli South Kombucha
– 30A Barks
– Evoli CBD
– Southern Grace Lavender Farm
– 30A Olive Oil
– Flip Flop Farm
– Vale of Paradise Mushrooms
– Register Family Bee Farm
– Willingham Seafood Company
– Pickle King
– Broken Arm Moma’s Soups and Pies
– Dasha’s Cakery
You’ll find some of these same vendors at the Seaside Farmers Market (temporarily closed due to COVID) as well as the newly formed Grayton Farmers Market that sets up Saturdays at Chanticleer from 9 AM to 1 PM.
As it was in the past and as it is now, farmers markets are essential to daily life, offering locals the chance to learn all about sustainable farming and where our food comes from, along with the care and love that goes into it––from local farms to our very own tables.
In these family-oriented environments where you can enjoy the day and bring home delicious goods for the week, what more could you need?
On the corner of 98 and Watersound Parkway comes the latest farmers market to enter the scene. In case you missed the October 2nd Grand Opening, have no fear, the Watersound Town Center Farmers Market is here to stay. Come on out to the outdoor pavilion (featuring loads of free parking!) every Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM for an exciting lineup of produce, grass-fed meat, fresh Gulf seafood, take-home entrees, and appetizers, as well as local honey, eggs, dairy, jams, sauces, pickles, and artisan bread and pastries hot from the oven. Enjoy a cold-pressed, organic juice or locally roasted coffee as you peruse specialty items from local artists, designers, and more, and be sure to save room for some bites from their mouthwatering rotation of local food trucks. For all you yoga lovers out there, bring your mat and join in for classes being offered during market hours on the green next to the pavilion along with other fun activities.
Looking for more locally farmed produce and goods? Head over to the Farm to Table Facebook page where you’ll find farm-fresh veggie boxes and delivery options from local farmers like Jenefer’s Garden, Freeport’s 311 Farmers Market, and more.
All farmers markets are considered essential businesses. You can be assured that markets like 30A Farmers Market are following CDC health guidelines, practicing proper social distancing and safe food handling, as well as other necessary precautions. That said, please remember to do your part for the safety of vendors and visitors alike.