Saturday mornings are lively at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. Beginning at 8:30 every Saturday morning, throngs of shoppers stroll up and down the vendor-lined pathways of the St. Augustine Amphitheatre Farmers Market, browsing over 100 tents loaded with local produce, flowers, baked goods, hand-made arts and crafts and more. As 2018 unfolds, new community classes, partnerships, greening initiatives, night markets and SNAP/EBT Fresh Access Bucks will become new sights for the thousands of weekly visitors.
New Community Classes and Partners
Among the chatter of commerce, there’s live music coming from the Front Porch and starting this month, there’s the collective inhale/exhale of Yoga at the Market and the sizzle of Amy Rupert Secol’s skillet as she hosts Tangible Taste at the Market. Yoga and cooking classes are new community classes that Katie Provow, the St. Augustine Amphitheatre Farmers Market Manager, and her team have introduced this month. On the first Saturday of every month, The Yoga Collective will host a donation-based yoga class on the Front Porch, starting at 9am. All levels and ages are welcome to participate, just bring your mat and water bottle! Information on The Yoga Collective can be found online at www.theyogacollectivestaug.com.
Then, on the fourth Saturday of each month, Chef Amy Rupert Secol, a Holistic Nutrition Educator, Natural Chef and Real Food Advocate, will demonstrate how easy it is to create satisfying dishes with farm fresh market ingredients, purchased directly from the vendors at the market that morning. Watch her live demonstration, enjoy samples and get the recipe to make your own dish at home. For more information on Tangible Taste, please visit www.tangibletaste.com. Additionally, on the first and third Saturday of each month, the St. Johns County Public Library’s Bookmobile will be on site. The Bookmobile will be home to a special collection of books on local food and cooking, donated by the St. Augustine Amphitheatre Farmers Market.
In partnership with the St. Augustine Amphitheatre’s Green Hands Greening Initiative, the Farmers Market will begin to integrate new sustainability practices in an effort to reduce unnecessary waste and minimize adverse impacts on our natural resources. Beginning April 1, Styrofoam, plastic sample cups, plastic water bottles and plastic shopping bags will be eliminated from the Market. Shoppers are encouraged to bring paper or cloth reusable shopping bags or purchase a Reusable Farmers Market bag from a market vendor. A water refill station will also be installed and customers are welcome to bring their water canteens, purchase a Green Hands Nalgene or participate in the Green Hands Pint Program, featuring the Amphitheatre Tervis, available for $10.00 at the Concession area on The Front Porch. Vendor food waste and paper goods will be collected and composted in partnership with Dog Day Gardens and the Last Straw campaign, encouraging customers to skip the plastic straw and ask for a biodegradable straw or forego straws entirely, will be fully integrated as well. For more information on Green Hands, please visit www.staugamphitheatre.com.
Meeting the demand for locally-made goods and gifts will be the Night Market, taking place the fourth Tuesday of each month, beginning Tuesday, March 27. From 6pm to 9pm on the same Amphitheatre grounds as the Saturday Farmers Market, the Night Market will host up to 90 vendors specializing in handmade crafts and goods. The Night Market will also feature live entertainment and activities. For the Night Market Opening Celebration on March 27, local indie band The Young Step will play on the Front Porch starting at 6:30pm. Additional confirmed Night Market entertainment includes the film screening of “Revenge of the Creature,” hosted by the Historical Society on April 24, the annual Friends of the St. Augustine Amphitheatre (FOSAA) Guitar Raffle on May 22 and a Contra / Square Dancing night hosted by Skin & Bonz on June 26. The Night Market will be free to enter and open to all ages.
SNAP/EBT Fresh Access Bucks
In an effort to increase access to healthy, local, and fresh produce for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients, the St. Augustine Amphitheatre Farmers Market will begin participating in the Fresh Access Bucks program starting March 3. A program of the Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers, Inc. (FOG), Fresh Access Bucks (FAB) is a statewide incentive program designed to encourage SNAP recipients to redeem their benefits at farmers markets to purchase fresh, healthy foods directly from Florida farmers. Through the Fresh Access Bucks partnership with FOG, the St. Augustine Amphitheatre Farmers Market will match up to $40.00 in SNAP/EBT funds, providing a total of $80.00 in market purchasing power for SNAP/EBT cardholders each week. A community information session will be held at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre on Wednesday, February 28 from 2pm until 4pm for all interested
in learning more about SNAP and FAB.
The St. Augustine Amphitheatre Farmers Market is free and open to the public Saturdays from 8:30am until 12:30pm. Held on the grounds of the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, the Farmers Market is owned by St. Johns County Cultural Events Division and operated by Katie Provow. For more information on the Farmers Market, please visit www.staugamphitheatre.com