The Salt-Air Farmers’ Market may just be the best-kept secret in Port St. Joe.
The bi-weekly event held the first and third weekend April through December gathers at the commons near City Hall and offers fresh produce, arts and crafts and entertainment.
The market, which promotes a sustainable food system on the Forgotten Coast, features 4-5 farmers who travel in from South Georgia and North Florida with seasonable fruits and vegetables that include corn, peppers, tomatoes, melons, and pineapple. It’s not uncommon to see homemade pies and breads as well as organic options for the health-conscious. Other vendors sell crafts that include pillows, jewelry, crochet work and hand-made pottery.
The event, along with a 501c3 non-profit, was founded by volunteers at Gulf County Chamber of Commerce. The market started in 2007 and was originally found in Frank Pate Park but with the addition of the gazebo next to City Hall, the festivities relocated to City Commons Park.
John Parker, a volunteer coordinator and the market’s treasurer has worked the event for the last five years. He and his wife, who sell tie-dye clothing at the event, have watched the market grow in size and the amount of vendors increase.
“There are locals who are religious about coming by,” said Parker “We also love new ideas and new input.”
Parker noted that while there is a regular clientele at the market, there is always room for more and welcomed anyone with a hand-crafted product to get in touch if they are interested in exhibiting. He’s also looking for entertainment acts who may be interested in showcasing their talents. Previous entertainers included local Christian-rock band Thirty-Three and various DJs.
Parker said that attending farmers will take custom produce orders and deliver the fresh foods during the following market.
Parker and the market’s advisory board have enjoyed working in tandem alongside other big area events. During the Centennial Celebration, Salt-Air featured local artists, they’ve paired with the annual chili cook-off, and plans are being made for a Christmas market to be held in early December.
“It’s a good thing for the city,” said Parker. “It gives us added value and gives tourists somewhere to go.”
The Salt-Air Farmers’ Market will run this Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET. Those interested in setting up a tent can contact John Parker at 404-906-2637. Vendors must provide a tent, table and chairs. The fee is $10.