Future of the farmers market uncertain as venue is full of debris – county says they have no other options

December 9, 2022
By Sheila Evans

Fruits and vegetables, essential oils and specialty mushrooms have been replaced with mulch, sawdust and construction debris at the end of Wheeler Road this month. And, as it looks right now, we won’t have a farmers market this year.
Local Roots Farmers Markets, LLC, is looking for a suitable place on the island to continue with one of the most popular seasonal venues we have. Right now they have no ideas on the table, but welcome input from the community.
“We just heard from Lee County that the Wheeler Road location would not be ready,” said Betsy F. Ventura, one of the partners of Local Roots. “We even offered to delay opening until January, but the site will still be occupied with debris. The County also said they looked at other locations for us to move to temporarily, but they could not approve any other County property. They suggested we look for private property, which we currently are doing. We have vendors lined up and ready to go if we can find a property.”
The Boca Grande Farmers Market was scheduled to open this year on December 16 and run through April. It usually is held at the Wheeler Road Ballfield at the end of Wheeler Road.
The other partner of Local Roots, Jean Baer, said she is looking into possible sites, such as the Boca Grande Community Center, but there are County requirements regarding parking and other considerations that may be too difficult to overcome this season.
Local Roots manages nine Farmers Markets in Southwest Florida. Baer said only four of them are opening on time – and maybe at all – this year. If you have a suggestion for the group, please contact them at betsyfventura@gmail.com.