If you love fresh veggies and fruits, then spring is the perfect time to explore all your neighborhood markets, roadside stands, and specialty grocers. St. Augustine is full of produce vendors of all types and sizes, so grab a map and go on a little produce scavenger hunt, and grab your share of fresh local produce in St. Augustine before it’s too late.
NEW GUY IN TOWN
Go Fresh Farm Market – 5575 A1A South #109
Bruce Griffy has been passionate about produce his entire life. His grandfather was a farmer, his dad owned a wholesale produce company, and Bruce has a degree in agriculture. “I’ve been in this business since I was five years old,” said Griffy. He just finished a 30-year stint with a large retail grocer. Now, he is offering up a boutique grocery store with produce sourced both locally and from whatever locations he knows the most flavorful foods can be found.
This amazing new market (near Crescent Beach) just opened on April 15.
Hours: M-S 9:30am-5:30pm and Sunday – 11am-4pm
Stewart’s Grocer – 311 Anastasia Boulevard
It is always heartwarming to hear the stories of the people in the community. Stewart’s is a multi-generational business, which got its start with a little thatched roof roadside stand in the exact location of its present brick ‘n mortar store. It all started with the 2nd in a line of Luther Stewarts, when he opened a pizza place next door. One day he had an overstock of tomatoes so he sent Luther Stewart III, to sit on the side of the road and sell them. Sold out within an hour, soon the pizza place was closed and Stewart’s grocery was born. Luther IV, just out of high school holds down the fort daily, while his father travels to Plant City, Starke, and Beaver Street Market weekly in search of all the freshest produce.
Hours: M-S 9am-7pm and Sunday – 10am-5pm
Diane’s Market – 110 Anastasia Blvd/240 State Road 312
Diane’s Market has been voted St. Augustine’s best health food store for 15 years running. The owners clearly had a vision when they opened up a full service health food store on the island, and later a 2nd location on Hwy 312. Their entire produce section is organic and you have two locations to choose from. They source locally whenever possible and offer up a delicious variety of organic produce stocked daily. You can also sample some of their delicious veggies, by ordering something yummy at the in-store café.
NOTE: By year’s end, Diane’s is expanding to a new location on US-1, offering a larger shopping space and expanded café.
Hours: Island Location M-S 10:30am-6pm, 312 Location M-S 9am-6pm – Sunday 11am-6pm
Currie’s Market – 3417 US 1 South
Patrick Currie has been selling fresh produce in St. Augustine for eight years. His family once owned 150-acres of orange groves in Palatka, and one night of hard freeze a few years back wiped them out. Farmers are born of a persevering nature, so it wasn’t long until they found a location and started selling produce in our little community. Patrick looks for his produce wherever the best can be found. That may be South Florida in the winter or North Carolina in the summer. He also offers local farmers featuring organic, hydroponic, and aquaponic vegetables shelf space to sell their local greenery.
Hours: M-S 9:30am-5:30pm and Sunday – 11am-4pm
Henry’s Tomato Stand – 415 US 1
Henry Broward has been selling produce for many years, and at his current roadside stand on US-1 for four years. His produce (not just tomatoes!) comes from all over the state, including Plant City, Hastings and Starke. If customer base is any indication of the flavor and price of his goods, I would say head over there right now. He said about 200 people come through a day, so be sure to go early in the day to get the best selection.
Hours: M-S 8am-5pm, closed Sundays
OPEN AIR MARKETS
Old City Farmer’s Market at Amphitheatre, Saturdays 8:30am to 12:30pm
The Old City Farmer’s Market is full of all types of vendors. However, you can’t help but notice that hordes of people are there for their weekly supply of fresh produce. The vendors come and go, but a few can be counted on.
Frog Song Certified Organic is the place to be if you insist on organic. Their farm located in Hawthorne grows a variety of vegetables and fruits in the fields, as well as inside greenhouses. They also encourage you to become a member of their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and pick up boxes of produce, at their peak in flavor and nutrition.
If you Love Strawberries
Logan Crawford, grandson of Rod Crawford said, “Grandpa was on TV once because he grows strawberries as big as his hand!” The Crawford’s have been selling strawberries at the market for over five years and will be there through mid-June.
Hours: Saturdays – 8:30am – 12:30pm
Wednesday Market – Island Pier
Lee’s Produce and Marco Antonio
Vendors come and go at the Wednesday market but Haven Lee of Lee’s Produce and Marco Antonio can be counted on to be there year-round. “Things have been running real late this year, but I expect to get my local watermelons and peaches in real soon,” said Lee. Antonio brings in leeks and carrots from Bunnell, zucchini and squash from Elkton and like the others, lots of fresh items from Plant City.
Hours: Wednesdays 8am – 12pm
HEAD TO THE FARM
Rype ‘N Readi Farm Market – 5780 County Road 305 – Elkton
Make your produce shopping a day trip with the family. At Rype ‘n Readi, you not only will find a great selection of local produce, but your family can join in on cooking classes or visit the petting zoo.
Hours: 8am-5pm every day
Too busy to make a trip? How about delivery?
Coastal Crown Produce will deliver you beautiful baskets of fresh produce. They work with local St Johns County farmers and guarantee fresh delicious food when it arrives on your doorstep.
Were you blessed with green thumbs (lucky you!)? Consider joining a community garden or planting your own at home.
Saint Augustine Beach Community Garden offers locals the chance to grow produce alongside neighbors and reap the rewards for a mere $40 per year (membership fee). Dog Days Gardens owner Shelby Stec offers classes and workshops on composting, planting and canning for novice and expert gardeners alike to produce the very best produce in the convenience of your own backyard.