My 4-year-old and I often spend our Saturday mornings on “mother-son dates,” and they always include a stop at one of the Fernandina area Farmers Markets.
There is just something about the natural, healthy foods and the lively, festive atmosphere that we love. It also doesn’t hurt that the Spouses booth sells spectacular chocolate chip cookies. We’re always happy to wait in line at the popular St. Marys baker’s booth so we can split one of the super-sized cookies.
But it’s not just the desserts we get excited about. Meeting the farmers who grew beautiful, healthy fruits and vegetables right down the road from us is an awesome experience. I’ve never seen such massive sweet potatoes and perfect, green heads of lettuce. It’s something even a toddler can get excited about — blissfully unaware that these are vegetables, the same stuff he wrinkles his nose at when they come out of a can or the freezer.
There are all kinds of offerings in addition to produce: hand-crafted cheeses, grass-fed beef, prepared foods like jellies and relishes, honey… and one of my mother’s favorites, My Personal Chef, where you can buy a whole meal in a freezer bag. Their soups and entrees are out of this world.
The markets are open for business every Saturday; there used to be one market downtown on Centre Street, but that moved in September 2012 to the shops area at Omni Amelia Island Plantation. Another opened in its place at the old location. Both are always bustling with people and activity. There are vendors who appear every week as well as special vendors who come only occasionally. There are always groups of musicians performing and a series of plants for sale.
It’s gotten to the point where I can’t skip a trip to the market when we’re out and about on Saturdays. My little guy knows his days of the week very well, and he knows when it’s the right day to hit Fernandina’s weekly celebration of healthy, local foods. I really don’t mind — it’s worth stopping for.
If you want to go:
Where: Two Locations – Amelia Farmers Market, Omni Amelia Island Plantation (Shops Area), 6800 First Coast Highway, Amelia Island, FL, and Amelia Island Marketplace is at North 7th and Centre Streets in downtown Fernandina Beach, FL.
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday
For more information: Visit Amelia Farmers Market at http://www.fernandinafarmersmarket.com/ or call 904-491-4872, or visit Amelia Island Marketplace at http://ameliaislandmarketplace.com/ or call 904-444-2407.