WEST VILLAGES — It’s been more than a year since North Port has had a farmer’s market.
That will change come October, thanks to the Atlanta Braves and Lee Perron.
Starting Oct. 2, residents in North Port and the surrounding area will be able to pick up fresh produce, homemade goodies and other market staples at CoolToday Park.
The market will run from 8 a.m. to noon Wednesdays starting in October and running through March.
Perron, who is well-known for his successful farmers markets in Englewood and Venice, said he is bringing 40 of his best vendors to the park. There will be 40 vendors to start.
Perron said he could easily do 60 or 70, but he wanted to have a relationship with the vendors.
“We’re putting our all stars on the field,” Perron said.
Those familiar with Perron’s markets will recognize some of the vendors who will be there on Wednesdays. They include Venetian Coffee, Maggie’s Seafood, JC’s Daily Bread, Mr. Fun Guy, Tropical Island Kettle Corn and Heritage Pointe Honey. Perron said he is still finalizing some of the vendor applications.
Perron’s markets are known for being largely food-based with only a small handful of non-food vendors.
“We want the food to be outstanding,” Perron said.
In a release from the Braves, Vice President for Florida Operations Mike Dunn said space in front of the ballpark has always stood out as a place for the public to gather.
“The launch of the Braves Farmers Market embodies that. It allows the public to become familiar with the park and utilize the area,” Dunn said in the release.
As in Englewood and Venice, the market will accept payments involving SNAP, the supplemental nutritional assistance program that provides food benefits and assistance in Florida. In the past, it’s been known as food stamps.
“We have already applied and been approved,” Perron said.
The way it works is that someone using SNAP can swipe their cards and receive credits that they can use in the market. In addition to that, Perron says, the market will match up to $40 for the Fresh Access Bucks.
The Fresh Access Bucks program is a way the market doubles SNAP credits for every $40 spent for buying Florida-grown produce.
“That’s an important part of our mission,” Perron said.
Like his other two markets, the market at CoolToday Park will also be donating to local charities.
Perron said the Salvation Army Food Bank in North Port and Englewood’s Community Care Clinic will receive donations. Perron’s markets are not-for-profits 501©3 and support different community organizations.
For more information on the markets visit www.bravesfarmersmarket.org.