North Bay Village has its own farmers market, joining other municipalities like Pinecrest, North Miami and Miami Beach that also offer residents a convenient place to purchase fresh produce.
The market opened Friday with about 20 vendors of fruits and vegetables, homemade honey, rustic breads, herbs, pasta, ceviche and skincare products. Organized by The Market Company at no cost to North Bay Village, the market will be open on Friday afternoons until April 2013. If it proves popular, officials will institute it year-round.
“I thought North Bay Village should emulate some of the other cities,” said Vice Mayor Eddie Lim, explaining what prompted his idea to have a farmers market in the village.
Farmers markets have been steadily springing up throughout South Florida, providing everything from organic fruits and vegetables to homemade goods such as candles and cosmetics.
North Bay Village officials hope the market will bring the community together.
“I saw people walking with strollers form Treasure Island and Harbor Island to the market,” said Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps. “I’ve never seen that before. It will get the community to go out, share, integrate and get together.”
Lim said the market would help make the city a lucrative destination where people want to live.
On a recent Friday afternoon, market patrons strolled between stands stocked with spices, baked goods and orchids.
North Bay Village resident Martin Lam went to the market with his wife, Wilma Lam, and their 12-year-old daughter, Allison.
“It’s a high priority for us to buy local,” said Martin Lam, 48. “Why are we going to buy an orange that comes from 3,000 miles away just because it is 10 cents cheaper?”
Most of the produce —although not all of it — sold at the North Bay Village farmers market is grown locally, said Claire Tomlin, founder and president of The Market Company.
Natives of a northern Spanish town called Burgos, the Lams are used to purchasing their food from open-air markets that offer locally grown produce.
So for years after moving to North Bay Village, they drove to South Miami-Dade in search of roadside vendors and their pickles, oranges and limes.
But, said Martin Lam, now that they have the weekly farmers market across the street from their home on Treasure Island, they no longer need to make the more than 30-mile drive south.
“With the exception of ham, olives and cheese, they have everything you want,” he said. “If they add those, we’re done. We’ll have Europe in North Bay Village.”