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Friday, March 31, 2023

This is the third and final part in a series about places in Gainesville to buy local food. To see parts one and two visit the posts.

t’s August, and the temperatures are at a year high in Gainesville, but there are still a couple months more of summer crops ahead of us.  Here’s a list of crops you may see in farmers markets in Alachua County this week:

• Fruits: blackberries, blueberries, citrus, melons and tomatoes

• Herbs (such as basil and mint)

• Vegetables: Eggplant, okra, onions, peas, peppers (hot and sweet), potatoes, sprouts and squash. 

Tioga Monday Market

Tioga Town Center can sometimes feel like another planet. Located off of Newberry Road west of Interstate 75, Tioga Town Center is a unique shopping center for the Town of Tioga community. While the restaurants like Sabore and World of Beer make the community worth the short drive for Gainesville residents, the farmers market is very convenient to residents who live on the west side of Gainesville.

The Tioga Monday market is open every Monday from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. The market is closed for holidays and bad weather. The market is located in the Tioga Town Center at 13005 West Newberry Road Gainesville, Florida.

This market is a small market where you’ll find both produce and craft goods. There are a few local produce vendors that have warm weather crops, but during the summer however you will have the best luck shopping for non-produce: live plants, honey, jewelry, woodwork and dairy products.

Local Tip #1: Get there earlier than 7 p.m. Small markets are most likely to sell out of produce before the market itself closes.

Ward’s Supermarket

Ward’s Supermarket is located on the east side of Gainesville at 515 NW 23rd Ave. Gainesville, Florida 32609. It is the only locally owned supermarket in town, and it has endured for over 50 years.

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Ward’s is a community-oriented supermarket that carries both your average supermarket goods and locally sourced products. This duality makes Ward’s an ideal shopping location for customers looking to be conscious of their local economy, but who still need to buy their kitchen staples.

There are two things I especially love about Ward’s: the affordable spices and the affordable meat. While Ward’s is almost known for their affordable meat, you will see college-aged men purchasing cart loads of steaks, their affordable spices is a well kept secret. If you’re like me,on a student budget and trying to cook well, spices are hell. I’m able to measure out and choose my spices at Ward’s, and it makes it especially affordable.

Local Tip #2: It is obvious why Ward’s has endured so many years; the store is consistently packed, especially after school and workplaces close for the day. Be prepared for crowds, or strategically shop in the early afternoon.

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