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Times of the Islands Magazine

Sanibel Farmers Market Returns to Sanibel Island

Feb 14, 2023 08:00AM ● By Francesca Block

Apparel for sale at The Sanibel Island Farmers Market on Feb. 5. Image courtesy of Janice Block Chaddock. 

Brightly colored vegetables, one-of-a-kind guacamole and freshly brewed coffee returned to Sanibel Island on Sunday Jan . 22 for the reopening of the weekly Sanibel Island Farmers Market. 

The market opened that Sunday morning at 9 a.m. with a special ribbon cutting ceremony and the ringing of the bell to celebrate its 15 years providing fresh produce and local goods to Sanibel residents. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, the market is being held in parking lot of Jerry's Foods.

Customers order empanadas at the Sanibel Island Farmers Market on Feb. 5, 2023. Photo courtesy of Janice Block Chaddock. 

For many residents of Sanibel and Captiva Islands, the reemergence of the beloved farmers market is a sign that the islands will persevere despite the winding path to recovery that lay before them.

"Starting to look like the thriving community we are again," Sanibel resident Cathy Gibson Lanier wrote on Facebook on Jan. 29. 

Jean Baer and Betsy Ventura started the market back in 2008 with just 15 vendors, and quickly grew the weekly event to host up to 60, the Sanibel-Captiva Chronicle reported. Last month's opening featured 25 vendors and attracted around 350 people, including residents and tourists who traveled onto the island to participate in the weekly tradition. 

“What a joyful occasion, so meaningful to islanders and also visitors as we continually move toward normalcy here on the islands,” the Sanibel chamber president John Lai told the Sanibel-Captiva Chronicle. “I certainly wasn’t the only one excited to be mingling with the community in a way we’d been doing for 15 years.”

This year's market will run through May and is open weekly on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.