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First Coast Connect

Jax Farmers Market Celebrates 75 Years With Weekend Events

Patrick Donges

Florida’s oldest public market, The Jacksonville Farmers Market, is celebrating its 75th year in business this weekend with fresh food, fun and live entertainment.

Many of Jacksonville’s local leaders, including Mayor Alvin Brown, attended a VIP celebration luncheon Friday to honor the market’s legacy of community involvement.
“It’s by working together that we make the city more viable, livable and sustainable,” said Mayor Brown.
The market was started in 1938 as Jacksonville Produce Market. Beaver Street Fisheries purchased the market from the original owners in 1986, according to CFO Jeff Edwards.
Beaver Street Fisheries sits across the street from the market and, with the help of the community and the city, rebuilt the market in 2007 to grow the support of local businesses, farmers and food vendors.
“It’s a much more user-friendly layout than what the original market had,” Edwards said.
Greg Tison, General Manager for the Beaver Street Fisheries, said the market currently takes up less than half of the 9 acre lot, and said he hopes to have an aggressive expansion campaign.
“We’ve done a lot to enhance the property,” Tison said. “We just want to take this market to a level Jacksonville hasn’t seen before.”
Tison said he wants to make the market a destination point, not just for Jacksonville, but for the entire Southeast region.
Currently, the market generates annual sales between $15-20 million, and attracts over 25,000 customers a week.

The anniversary celebration will feature a kid’s fun zone, with bounce houses, pony rides and face painting, and more fresh food and vegetables than you can find anywhere else in the state.

You can get more info on the celebration on the market's Facebook page.