From gourmet beef jerky, custom cookies and cake pops to aromatherapy candles, soaps and jewelry, the Apollo Beach Outdoor Market held on Sunday, Nov. 8, seemed set to prove it was about more than fresh fruits and vegetables. With tents set up at the Waterside Shops Plaza just south of Apollo Beach Boulevard, the kid-friendly, pet-friendly event offered plenty of free parking plus afternoon munchies supplied by the Taco Bus and Thai food tent.
“This is a great place to get your product out there for local distribution,” said Frankie Kee, a junior from East Bay High School, who was demonstrating and selling his Stay Fresh Sticks to interested shoppers.
Nearby was Tungett Produce and Citrus from Plant City, selling produce from “all local farmers and growers,” and Creations by Rali, featuring custom cookies, cake pops and handmade jewelry.
Now in its fourth year of operation, the Outdoor Market continues to offer farm-fresh produce, eggs, pickles, honey, organic-based skin care products, local arts and crafts, and music for patrons’ shopping enjoyment.
Jennifer McCarthy of Jen’s Markets & Events, the organizer of the event, said, “People are really concerned with fresh produce that’s in season, as well as buying interesting crafts and products they can trust from neighborhood sources.”
McCarthy is accepting new vendors to sell at the Apollo Beach Market, which will run on the second and fourth Sundays of the month. “We are eager to add new vendors with new ideas and creative products,” said McCarthy.
Shawn Boone, a recent business administration graduate from Furman University, was using his education to represent Melaleuca, a natural science-based manufacturer of home and personal care products.
Big D’s offered gourmet beef jerky, and Essentials of Nature displayed an array of natural, handmade aromatherapy candles, massage oils, and moisturizers.
One of the most popular booths was that of 73-year old Farmer Pete, who is known not only for his produce business but for his colorful past in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. These days, Pete is entirely
mobile, setting up shop at 27 different retirement parks and 21 farmer’s markets per year. “I work 7 days a week, and I love it,” said Pete.
Throughout the year, Jen’s Market & Events sponsors a variety of not-for-profit organizations to help local communities, donating a portion of market profits to charities in the area. They are currently collecting for Toys for Tots at the Apollo Beach Outdoor Market on Nov. 8, Nov. 22 and Dec. 13.
Other markets organized by Jen include the Lakewood Ranch Outdoor Market and the Largo Downtown Market, featuring holiday arts and crafts, fresh Vermont maple syrup, Wisconsin cheeses, fresh produce and more.
For more information, visit www.jens-market.com.