Sarasota, FL (December 6, 2017) - The Market at Lakewood Ranch, the community’s inaugural farmers market, will debut from 3-7 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Sarasota Polo Grounds at Lakewood Ranch, and will continue every Wednesday through April 18.

The farmers market concept grew from the need for a distribution point for the Ranch’s “organic veggie box” program, a community supported agriculture project being done in conjunction with Worden Farm. But Monaca Onstad, director of community relations for Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, saw the potential for much more than a veggie box pick up spot.

“It really goes back to our heritage as a ranch, and our roots in agriculture,” Onstad said. “We want people – both adults and children – to understand, and develop closer ties to where our food comes from. Through this market experience, neighbors will get to connect with each other, with their food, and with the farmers.”

Subscribers to the veggie box program will be able to pick up their shares at The Market; there will also be a limited number of boxes available for purchase by non-subscribers. Numerous other products will be available from more than 15 vendors, including seafood, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, bread, butter, cold-pressed juices, jams, pickles, fresh pasta, ready-to-eat foods, honey, truffle oils, mushrooms, popcorn, and sea salt, and bottled wines. There will also be lotions, candles and soaps, as well as knife sharpening.

The Market will offer culinary demonstrations, fitness and wellness mini classes, live music, and activities for the kids. It will also feature a different non-profit each month; December’s focus will be Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee. Attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to donate. Monetary donations are, of course, appreciated.

Onstad emphasized the importance of community support in making The Market a success. “We will continue to create a vibrant market experience,” she said, “but people need to come out and patronize the merchants we’ve brought together.”

The Market is being done in partnership with Worden Farm, an 85-acre certified organic family farm located in Punta Gorda. Worden Farm is a fixture at the Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market as well as the Saturday Morning Market in downtown St. Petersburg.

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Lakewood Ranch is the 31,000-acre award-winning master-planned community in Sarasota and Manatee counties on the West Coast of Florida. Just minutes from the Gulf Coast beaches and cultural assets in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch is already home to more than 30,000 residents and features A-rated schools, a hospital, the Sarasota Polo Club, the 75-acre Premier Sports Campus, its own Main Street with theaters, shopping and dining, and more than four million square feet of commercial property.

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