Thursday, March 10, 2011

Eating Right in Greater Orlando: Farmers' Markets

Sometimes it takes a lot of factors happening at once to make you change your behavior.  For me, it's been a mix of the new year's resolution to work out and eat better, lent, watching a disconcerting documentary about our modern diet, and an attempt to support local business that have made me reevaluate what I eat.

I've never considered myself a health nut, but even I got tired of the bleached eggs, waxed fruit, and withered vegetables you find at most grocery stores.  Of course all Publix markets now have a Greenwise section and Orlando now has two Whole Foods (technically one in Winter Park and one in Orlando), they don't compare to farmer's markets.  The prices are the same, if not more expensive.  And the food they sell isn't always local.

I've heard of a couple of farmers' markets in the area, and have been to a couple.  But after a little research, I realized there were many more options than I knew about:


The Winter Park Farmers' Market has been around for over 30 years and is one of my favorites.  The selection of local and/or organic produce is very good.  I also enjoy the plants, crafts, and lemonade, but the highlight for me is always the baked goods.
200 West New England Ave., Winter Park
7 am to 1 pm

New and still growing, the Waterford Lakes Farmers' Market is in the middle of the Waterford Lakes shopping area (by the movies) in East Orlando.  Although there aren't many produce vendors yet, it's worth stopping by to check out crafts by local artists or to grab breakfast.
413 North Alafaya Trail, Orlando
9 am to 2 pm


Another small, but growing market is the Orlando Farmers Market.  Enjoy the views of beautiful Lake Eola Park located in the heart of downtown while you browse the stands.  See vendors selling fresh fruit juices, produce, and baked goods, as well as crafts, soaps, and pet supplies.
413 North Alafaya Trail, Orlando
9 am to 2 pm


Visitors to the Audubon Park Community Market, held at the unique time of Monday nights, will also enjoy live music, crafts, and access to Stardust Coffee & Video's bar.  But don't be fooled by the extras: APCM's main feature remains the local-only produce.
1842 East Winter Park Road, Orlando
6 pm to 10 pm 


Like the APCM, the College Park Farmers' Market is part of a new breed of outdoor markets.  Not only is it during the week, but at night, giving more people the chance to attend.  This market is still up and coming, but everything you need, from produce to baked goods, is there.
1600 Edgewater Drive, Orlando
5 pm to 9 pm

There are even more farmers' markets at the outskirts of Orlando, including Dr. Phillips, Hunter's Creek, and Celebration.

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