LAKEWOOD RANCH -- There will be no Saturday farmers market at Lakewood Ranch Main Street this year.
The traditional November-April farmers market is taking a break due to loss of sponsorship, not enough vendors and not enough customers, said Julia DeCastro, Main Street property manager.
Before there was a Main Street, there was a small farmers market on the site, across the street from Lakewood Ranch Medical Center.
After Main Street opened, the annual farmers markets started appearing there in 2006.
"It's always been a constant battle to get and keep vendors. We have been fighting for survival since it started," DeCastro said.
"The point of the market was to have people come to buy fresh fruit and produce and support the local farmers," she said.
Another problem has been competition from other farmers markets, particularly the one in downtown Sarasota.
While there will be no Main Street farmers market this year, it doesn't necessarily mean it won't return in the future.
"We'll definitely be look
ing at it next year," DeCastro said.
Although the Main Street farmers market is taking a break, a new Friday farmers market at San Marco Plaza, 8215 Natures Way, seems to be gathering steam.
The San Marco Plaza farmers market is open year-round 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays.
It opened in April with about 35 vendors, and anticipates having about 50 within a few weeks, said Barbara Smith, owner of 2nd Ann Rose Consignment Boutique.
"It's going really well," she said, adding that it may add night hours on the third Friday of the month.
But San Marco won't be adding a Saturday farmers market.
"We can't," Smith said. "These are the best of the best growers and they have other obligations on Saturdays."
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at 941-745-7021 or tweet @jajones1