BRADENTON -- With the arrival of October came a noticeably crisp Saturday morning breeze sweeping through downtown just in time for the return of the Bradenton Farmers Market.
Organizer Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton, was a shopper, too.
"I got all my fresh vegetables," Isham said as she eyed fresh olive oils. "We've had a historic turnout."
Staff estimated attendance doubled the opening Saturday in 2014 although exact numbers were not given.
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Old Main Street came alive as shoppers came out in search of fresh produce and much more from various local vendors.
Darlene Collins walked away with bags filled with fresh produce.
"It's just so nice to have it back," Collins said after paying for a bag of onions. "I love to come down here. I love the atmosphere."
Collins said she enjoys
walking over from her condo building in downtown Bradenton for fresh veggies.
"I don't come every weekend, but I try to come as often as I can," Collins said. "I love the produce."
Vendors said they were also happy to be back.
Kathy Whitlow said was pleased with the enormous turnout at her stand for Palmetto-based Greens on the Gro Farm.
"I'm glad to see a lot of new faces and a lot of our old regulars back," Whitlow said.
By midday, much of the produce had already been sold, she said.
"Our Florida crops still haven't come in," Whitlow.
With summer having just come to an end, some crops are still in limited quantities, she said.
"This cooler weather will definitely help and the rain, if it stops, will help, too," Whitlow said.
She said she didn't have any complaints about the farmers market.
"They're happy to see we got fresh greens," Whitlow said.
Isham said she was pleased with the new vendors who added options for marketgoers.
Among them was Stellar Gluten Free of Sarasota offering gluten-free baked goods for the first time in downtown Bradenton.
"Many people have a sensitivity to gluten," Mike Mansour said. "It's a buzz word so when they see us, they come in and have questions."
For those unfamiliar with gluten-free products, Stellar samples included pumpkin muffins, chocolate brownies and bread.
"Our product has been well received," he said smiling. "We are very pleased to here. There's a lot of people that were unaware of us."
JoAnn Curtan carried bags of produce as she was making her way over to her favorite vendor to pick up handmade organic candles.
"I'm loving it all," Curtan said.
She tries to come as often as possible, she said.
"It's a perfect day for it," she added referring to the humidity-free weather in the high 70s.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.