Fresh produce in Tampa (and the surrounding communities) is plentiful, if you know where to look! Farm-to-table eating offers much in the way of diverse flavor and nutrient density, but it’s often confusing and difficult to find.
And, not to completely burst your bubble here, but many of our beloved “Farmer’s Markets” simply source their produce from the same place as your local grocery store. While this doesn’t make Farmer’s Markets any less fun to attend, for those on a quest for truly organic and fresh produce it’s a little disappointing.
So, why fresh produce and where do we get it from? If you’re in our neck of the woods (Clearwater/Dunedin/Palm Harbor), join us on the quest for the freshest fruits and vegetables in our community!
The Argument for Fresh, Local Produce
Fruits and vegetables are obviously packed with essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals and great flavor, but there is real value in consuming the produce you harvest as quickly as possible—or, minimally, freezing it right away and consuming it later. (Researchers at Harvard actually found that frozen produce may contain more nutrients than days-old fruits and vegetables that have been sitting in your fridge or on the counter.)
After being harvested, produce immediately starts its process of decomposition and thus starts to lose its nutrients. In fact, it’s estimated that after 3 days, fresh produce has lost about 30% of its original phytonutrients. Once cooked, most produce is estimated to have lost about 50% of its nutrients.
In short, choosing fresh produce means you have a higher chance of consuming more nutrients. Choosing local produce means you’ll have a higher likelihood of consuming that produce closer to the date it was harvested as it hasn’t had to travel as far.
Finally, not to knock our local grocers (we love you, Publix!) but the average apple in an American grocery store is 12 months old. Yes, you read that correctly. Your apples are probably a year old.
What’s the logic behind eating fruits and vegetables if not to gain the nutrients they have to offer? While eating fresher produce may not guarantee your health, well-being, weight loss or anything else, it will certainly fulfill the purpose of that food a little more.
Eating fresh and local, if nothing else, allows food to more impactfully nourish your body.
Options for Fresh Produce in Tampa and Pinellas County
Pinellas Farms – 1120 63rd St S, Gulfport, FL 33707
15th Street Farm (15th Street Agrihood) – 310 15th St. N, St. Pete, FL
Visit them on Facebook and Instagram for updates and info. (@15thstfarm)
Sweetwater Organic Farm – 7318 W. Comanche Avenue, Tampa, Fl 33634
Clearwater Community Garden – https://www.facebook.com/ClearwaterCommunityGardens
Dunedin Community Garden – https://dunedincommunitygarden.org/
PRODUCE STANDS, FARMER’S MARKETS, ETC.
Jam Produce Stand – 1451 Clearwater Largo Rd N, Largo, FL 33770
Customers rave about this place as a friendly spot to pick up a variety of both fresh fruits and vegetables as well as homemade jams, farm fresh eggs and local honey.
Steve’s Produce Stand – 515 Alt 19, Palm Harbor, FL 34683
If you live closer to the Dunedin/Palm Harbor communities, this produce stand/mini market is a must-visit. With over 700 Google Reviews, it’s clearly beloved by locals.
Lakeview Produce Stand – 1266 Lakeview Rd, Clearwater, FL 33756
This is a local hot spot that often has a diverse collection of local and fresh produce types, and often carries farm fresh eggs and other great buys.
Dunedin Fresh Market – 390 Patricia Ave, Dunedin, FL 34698
This friendly neighborhood produce market is close to Downtown Dunedin. Step into their clean, air-conditioned market or check out what seasonal goodies they have on the cute front porch.
Saturday Morning Market – Williams Park, 301 1st Ave N, 33701
The regular season for this market is November through May, though they do offer a special Summer Market from July to November. More info here: https://saturdaymorningmarket.com/
Dunedin Downtown Market – John L. Lawrence Pioneer Park, Dunedin, FL 34698
This open-air market is held November through June on Fridays and Saturdays rain or shine. (During the month of June the market adjusts to Saturdays only.) More info here: https://tampabaymarkets.com/
Dunedin Harvest Co-Op
If you’re a Pinellas local, you can sign up for a pick-up/delivery produce box with the Dunedin Harvest Co-Op! They source only from fresh, local growers. Not available year-round, sadly, but visit their Facebook page and website for availability and sign-up info: https://dunedin.locallygrown.net/
For more info about Tampa Bay Farmer’s Markets, visit this website!
Share the Love!
If fresh produce is important to you, you MUST support it in order for it to continue to be available. In doing the research for this article, I was extremely saddened to find the ghosts of now-closed farms all across the Tampa Bay area.
This really drives home a vital point. Visit these farms, support their online marketing efforts and share the info with family and friends. Write a Google review! Join their mailing lists! Put a shoulder to the wheel wherever you can or they, too, will cease to exist.
Making farm fresh produce in Tampa more accessible starts with consumers taking the extra (sometimes inconvenient step) to visit farms and supporting all that goes into the reality of running a farm.
Wishing you a lifetime of farm fresh food!
Cover photo for this article by Hannah Reyes Photography and is used with her permission.