New Home, Fresh Focus for Frenchtown Market

The coming spring brings new life to the heart of Frenchtown. The Frenchtown farmers market starts a new season, in a new home.

The market will open on Saturday, March 5th, in the backyard of the old Billy Owens property at 524 North MLK Blvd.

Opening day will feature live music, guest speakers and a host of vendors with handmade and locally grown products. The Frenchtown market will open every Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The expanded farmers market represents a first step in plans to develop a local food business incubator on the property. Eventually, the site will include a commercial kitchen rental program and business support center with professional training services.

The concept has grown from a partnership between the Frenchtown community and the Tallahassee Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). The initial phase is an indoor-outdoor farmers market, designed to draw interest and economic activity to the Frenchtown neighborhood.

The project, led by the Frenchtown Neighborhood Improvement Association (FNIA), is an effort to develop opportunity for people of color, women, veterans and students. The goal is to diversify the local economy in order to create more resilient, engaged, safe and thriving communities.

“I want to see clean streets and hear children laughing in my neighborhood,” said Jim Bellamy, executive director of FNIA. “The market is a vehicle for improvement in the community. And it’s open to the entire city.”

Small but growing, the farmers market now has a beautiful new spot to spread its roots. Unique, local fare from the historic neighborhood, found only at this market, is on display. Chefs and food artists from other areas of town and nearby counties vend exclusively as well. Customers enjoy bright, colorful, flavorful food, picked only hours before. And the taste buds can tell the difference.

As the only retail food establishment in the area that can offer an impressive array of purchase incentive programs, the Frenchtown farmers market is also unique in its intention to actively improve the health of neighborhood residents.

Cooking demonstrations, nutrition classes, community outreach and promotional events are made possible by partnerships with FAMU and FSU, Kids Incorporated, UF/IFAS Leon County Extension Office and many others. These efforts, along with live performances and local artists, make this market a special feature of the Tallahassee landscape.

The Frenchtown farmers market is not only a very cool place to come on a Saturday morning. Not just a sweet spot to buy amazing local food. This farmers market, of and by the community of Frenchtown, is a change agent. It’s been a long time coming. And it’s a new day.

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