Many small businesses are having to adapt due to the COVID-19 pandemic and fortunately for us, our local community is stepping up in big ways.
The Bradenton Farmers’ Market is one of the city’s most trafficked events. The market shut down its physical location once the CDC recommended that groups of more than 50 should no longer congregate. The decision would create a gap for locals to buy from local vendors.
“My initial reaction was how unfortunate this is for our vendors and our downtown community, but almost immediately I began to think what can we do about it,” said Peg Haynes, the Bradenton Farmers’ Market manager.
A discussion with Johnette Isham and the Realize Bradenton team led to the idea of a virtual farmers’ market.
“While I was researching that possibility, our orchid vendor, Mason James, offered to build a basic online store. We jumped on the opportunity, and just a couple of weeks later we had a soft launch using a downtown parking lot for the drive through pick up,” said Haynes.
The good news didn’t end there. On the very same day, Angel Oak Cafe owner, Mindy Hill, invited Peg and the team to use her location as the pick up spot for the online market.
“She was concerned about local Dakin Dairy dumping milk because their usual commercial customers were closed,” Haynes said. “The addition of refrigeration allowed us to make Dakin milk products and some other items that need to be refrigerated available.”
Some of the local vendors include farmers’ market vendors: Milagros Produce, Banyan Coffee, Caribbean Pie Co., Olive Branch breads and oils, Pure Florida Honey, Sunshine Canning pickled veggies and jams, Saucy Guys salsa and hot sauces, and a slew of other new vendors who decided to join this venture.
How It Works
You can shop online Monday at 4pm until Wednesday at 9pm on shop.realizebradenton.com. Your payment will be processed through PayPal, using your PayPal account or credit card. SNAP is also available. SNAP customers will proceed to check out for details. Bring a printout or the digital copy of your receipt that will be emailed to you. Directions and where to park are at the link.
“The process is efficient, easy and takes away every excuse that you could come up with to not support local market vendors.”
Connect’s Macro Manager, Wade Hamilton, is a fan. “The process is efficient, easy and takes away every excuse that you could come up with to not support local market vendors,” he said.
The virtual farmers’ market is just another example of how our community is stronger together. Haynes echoes this sentiment:
“This is such an amazing example of a diverse group of people coming together to make fresh produce and other foods available to our community for the benefit of local farmers’ and vendors, and consumers,” she said. “We love it, don’t you?”
All photos courtesy of Johnette Isham.