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Jacksonville Farmer's Market Seeks To Expand

The Jacksonville Farmer's Market is considering a massive expansion that would transform it into one of the urban core's major attractions.

Published September 5, 2012 in Development      28 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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From Metro Jacksonville's "Visiting The Jacksonville Farmer's Market" response section over the weekend:

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We are currently in the early phase of exploring with possible "vendor partners" concepts and ideas for developing the undeveloped 6 acres we own (2 acres of gravel to the east and 4 acres including a gutted 28,000 sf closed grocery store to the west).  If financially feasible and executed, this could more than double JFM and its current approximate 25,000 visitors a week.  

Our thoughts currently range from a variety of meat, bakery, seafood, salads/soups, dairy/cheese/ice cream, candy/sweets, plant/flowers, gourmet/ethnic food, local brewery/beer, winery/wine, coffee/tea, kitchen/restaurant wares/supplies, etc. businesses to a canning/demonstration kitchen, meeting/classroom space, and even an added mid to upscale lunch/dinner restaurant in addition to an event venue/plaza.  

(NOTE:  Please do not be offended if we do not reply personally to every email should we get a large quantity of suggestions.  Rest assured, we will do our best to thoughtfully consider & evaluate all submissions for community interest, appropriateness to our vision for JFM, and financial feasibility.)

If anyone wishes to make suggestions or put such potential partners in contact with us, please email pertinent details to jfmwebsitefeedback@beaverfish.com (also found via our website's "Contact Us" tab at http://www.jaxfarmersmarket.com/contact.asp).

Thanks for everyone's interest and support of the Jacksonville's Farmer's Market.


This former 28,000 square feet grocery store building could possibly be converted into an indoor public market featuring a range of vendors.


About the Farmer's Market


source: Jacksonville Farmer's Market

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Jacksonville Produce Market, renamed the Jacksonville Farmers Market, opened in 1938. Earlier roots are believed to date back to the latter 1800's. Today, JFM is Florida's oldest public farmers market.

Note the horse drawn wagon in the picture above from 1938. Downtown Jacksonville is in the background. Preferred Freezer Services and the east portion of the completely rebuilt (in 2007) JFM sit on this site today.

Subsequent to 1938, several additions, notably concrete block structures, were added to the Jacksonville Farmers Market's original wood and sheet metal structures. At one point, JFM was home to produce packing plants, the southeastern produce operations of the A & P grocery chain, a barber shop, and the best steakhouse in Jacksonville, Sandy's Steer Room.

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.238486652877989.61466.150020678391254&type=3

If you had it your way, what would you like to see happen with the farmer's market?

Update by Ennis Davis







28 Comments

Noone

September 05, 2012, 04:35:10 AM
What an opportunity for part of it to be your urban fish farming school. Hey kids, catch your dinner.

gedo3

September 05, 2012, 07:29:31 AM
The suggestions sound wonderful--except for the one about mid to upscale dining.  As soon as the menu goes public with higher prices, people will figure the prices are higher at the market--and stay away...Outside of that, it would be great to see it become even more popular!

WmNussbaum

September 05, 2012, 08:01:44 AM
JFM, please, please, please try to do something like the DeKalb County Market in Atlanta. That would be a major attraction for anyone close to Jacksonville. See what that place is like at dekalbfarmersmarket.com. I've long thought an operation like that would be well suited for the Southside Generating Station parcel which should be big enough to hold the store(s), parking, and space along the river for outside activities. The DeKalb County facility is a place you can spend hours in just looking at foods from around the world available nowhere else.

I've noticed that JFM sells all sorts of citrus, but amazingly has no juice bar. Many other possibilities are also lacking and an expansion would open a helluval lot of new possibilities. Notwithstanding a prior post, I think getting a little more upscale would be a wonderful idea. The whole place doesn't need to become more expensive, but some residents might welcome a place to get really great meats, seafood, flowers, and so on, in one venue.

GO FOR IT. If you build it I will come.

TPC

September 05, 2012, 08:17:06 AM
I haven't been to the farmers market yet, does anyone know how much of the produce is sourced locally? Also, do they have a decent selection of organic?

ben says

September 05, 2012, 08:43:41 AM
WmNussbaum....DeKalb County Market is, in my opinion, the best market in the US. Reminds me 100% of a European market. Best selection I've seen in this country.

ben says

September 05, 2012, 10:33:05 AM
TPC--go today!!

I'd say over 50% of the stuff is sourced locally. Not enough of it is organic, but there ARE organic vendors.

An amazing asset. Truly one of the best experiences Jax has to offer.

fieldafm

September 05, 2012, 10:38:21 AM
I haven't been to the farmers market yet, does anyone know how much of the produce is sourced locally? Also, do they have a decent selection of organic?

They are open 365 days a year, so everything is not sourced locally (that's just not practical for a market open 365 days a year)... however I can tell you, you will find a fantastic selection of both local and non-local produce.  I buy everything from jasmin rice, greens (a bag is $3 cut and cleaned), mayport shrimp (cheap), black eye peas (shelled on site), yellow watermelon (can't find that anywhere else in town), tupelo honey (which is awesome, and $4 a bottle cheaper than buying at Whole Foods) to bags of cut and cleaned ready to cook stir fry vegetables for $3

There is even a vendor that sells as good of a selection of Asian fruits/vegetables than you would find at any of the Asian markets in town but much cheaper.

Meteor Street Produce (open Fri-Sun) is an all organic vendor.

The last Saturday of the month we are having another Farm to Food Truck Day.  We'll vote online(facebook.com/JaxTruckies) from ingredients found at the Market... and the food truck will create specials based on your votes.

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GO FOR IT. If you build it I will come.


Honestly, if you are not going now... you are missing out big time.  This is the oldest farmers market in the state and better than about 95% of the farmers markets I've seen across the country.  With the opportunities that come from the expansion into the old grocery market next door, I think it will rival Eastern Market in DC. 

ben says

September 05, 2012, 10:45:11 AM
How likely is an actual expansion? Are they in a fact finding/due diligence mindset right now? Are they sold on the idea of expanding, and are now trying to figure out who/what/when/where/how?

I'm intrigued. As fieldafm pointed out, this Farmer's Market is the "real deal" and could only get better with an expansion.

p.s....love the Asian fruit guy!! Jackfruit, passion fruit, durian, dragon fruit...you can't find this stuff anywhere else!

5ptscurmudgeon

September 05, 2012, 11:01:43 AM
Meh. Location location location. Needs to go to Annie Lytle or space of old apartments at Stockton and Ernest St + bodega + lots across Ernest.

I have been going to the market for years and 75% of my friends just will not go up there no matter how many times Ive dazzled people with what I bought. You hear one horror story after another of something someone heard years ago. These same broke people will spend twice the money for the exact same thing at RAM or King St. People from Avondale will not cross the tracks. Riverside peeps will not cross I10.

Bativac

September 05, 2012, 11:08:09 AM
The Farmers Market has become insanely more popular (and more crowded) over the past couple years. I'd love to see it expand.

But in answer to TPC's question, I would say very little of the stuff is organic (I think there was one guy selling a few things last time I was there) and not a lot of it is truly "local" (depending on your definition of "local" - the honey comes from central Florida, but a ton of the produce isn't even from the US). I don't think anywhere near 50% of the stuff is local, considering you can see stickers indicating points of origin from Mexico to China to Honduras.

But it is cheap, and good quality, and there's a ton of it. $20 will get enough to last my wife and I a week and a half. And watermelons of all shapes, sizes, and varieties.

I'd love to see an actual "local farmers" section, as well as maybe some enforcement of basic sanitation standards at the little on-site cafe.

thelakelander

September 05, 2012, 11:08:29 AM
How likely is an actual expansion? Are they in a fact finding/due diligence mindset right now? Are they sold on the idea of expanding, and are now trying to figure out who/what/when/where/how?

I'm intrigued. As fieldafm pointed out, this Farmer's Market is the "real deal" and could only get better with an expansion.

p.s....love the Asian fruit guy!! Jackfruit, passion fruit, durian, dragon fruit...you can't find this stuff anywhere else!

^They already own the land and building.  I'd say an expansion is likely at some point.  What type of expansion and how it is ultimately pulled off, is up for grabs.

Meh. Location location location. Needs to go to Annie Lytle or space of old apartments at Stockton and Ernest St + bodega + lots across Ernest.

I have been going to the market for years and 75% of my friends just will not go up there no matter how many times Ive dazzled people with what I bought. You hear one horror story after another of something someone heard years ago. These same broke people will spend twice the money for the exact same thing at RAM or King St. People from Avondale will not cross the tracks. Riverside peeps will not cross I10.

I think the location is fine and it shouldn't be moved because a few yuppies are scared to venture in an industrial district.  It plays a critical role for the nearby neighborhoods that don't have places like Winn-Dixie and Publix operating in them. With the amount of warehouses and food related industries in the area, I think the farmer's market could grow and stimulate the development of a "wholesale" or "market" district, similar to what Detroit's Eastern Market has done for the area surrounding it.  To do this, future expansion plans must create more activity along Beaver Street itself instead of the space between the buildings and street curb serving as surface parking.

5ptscurmudgeon

September 05, 2012, 11:12:09 AM
Dream on. I've been living in 5pts, King St. and Edgewood for 25 years. Some things will never change.

thelakelander

September 05, 2012, 11:42:57 AM
^No problem.  Someone has too if this city is to turn the corner.

Tacachale

September 05, 2012, 12:03:28 PM
^"My yuppie friends don't like it" ≠ "no one likes it". 5ptscurmudgeon sounds like simms here. How do you explain all the people who do go currently?

iluvolives

September 05, 2012, 12:16:53 PM
Dream on. I've been living in 5pts, King St. and Edgewood for 25 years. Some things will never change.

The fact that you offered up Ernest St and Stockton as potential places where yuppies might go, shows just how much postive change has occured in that area in the last 25 years...even in just the last 5-10.

ben says

September 05, 2012, 12:21:34 PM
Meh. Location location location. Needs to go to Annie Lytle or space of old apartments at Stockton and Ernest St + bodega + lots across Ernest.

I have been going to the market for years and 75% of my friends just will not go up there no matter how many times Ive dazzled people with what I bought. You hear one horror story after another of something someone heard years ago. These same broke people will spend twice the money for the exact same thing at RAM or King St. People from Avondale will not cross the tracks. Riverside peeps will not cross I10.

The location is PERFECT. 5 minutes from both downtown, Riverside, Avondale..10 minutes from Ortega and San Marco/St. Nicholas...perfect exit/entry for both people and businesses, semis and flatbeds.

My only knock(s) against the place are....they should have an indoor section....better quality control (the product is fine, but the health/sanitation department seems to be lacking)....and they should have more options. Essentially, I'd do ANYTHING to get this place looking like DeKalb's.

http://www.dekalbfarmersmarket.com

Ocklawaha

September 05, 2012, 12:30:03 PM
Western edge Skyway station anyone?

Keith-N-Jax

September 05, 2012, 12:59:08 PM
How likely is an actual expansion? Are they in a fact finding/due diligence mindset right now? Are they sold on the idea of expanding, and are now trying to figure out who/what/when/where/how?

I'm intrigued. As fieldafm pointed out, this Farmer's Market is the "real deal" and could only get better with an expansion.

p.s....love the Asian fruit guy!! Jackfruit, passion fruit, durian, dragon fruit...you can't find this stuff anywhere else!


Who has Jackfruit? I've been wanting to try some.

ben says

September 05, 2012, 01:10:41 PM
^ The Asian fruit and veggie vendor towards the front of the market on the left side.

Sorry, I wish I could be more specific....uhhhh...walk in, second aisle from left, one of the first stalls. You'll recognize the dragon fruit and passion fruit and tons of different fresh hot peppers. It's that guy/gal.

02roadking

September 05, 2012, 01:59:42 PM
How likely is an actual expansion? Are they in a fact finding/due diligence mindset right now? Are they sold on the idea of expanding, and are now trying to figure out who/what/when/where/how?

I'm intrigued. As fieldafm pointed out, this Farmer's Market is the "real deal" and could only get better with an expansion.

p.s....love the Asian fruit guy!! Jackfruit, passion fruit, durian, dragon fruit...you can't find this stuff anywhere else!


Who has Jackfruit? I've been wanting to try some.


You don't know "Jack"? Or do you? This is a "jackfruit", native to Southeast Asia & now an invasive species in Brazilian forests. Jackfruit, the world's largest edible tree-borne fruit, can grow to 80 lbs. and 3 feet long. The flesh is starchy & fibrous & is a source of dietary fibre. The flavour is similar to a tart banana. It can be eaten unripe cooked, or ripe uncooked. Dishes include custards, cakes, halo-halo and more. Ripe jackfruit arils are sometimes seeded, fried or freeze-dried and sold as jackfruit chips. A staple of Asian cuisines and rarely seen in Jacksonville, you can find these offered regularly or by request at Sans Produce at JFM.

P.S. Avoid the common mistake of confusing a jackfruit with the similar looking, but unrelated, durian, also originally from Asia.

Taken from:  http://www.facebook.com/JaxFarmersMarket?ref=ts

BridgeTroll

September 05, 2012, 03:52:37 PM
How likely is an actual expansion? Are they in a fact finding/due diligence mindset right now? Are they sold on the idea of expanding, and are now trying to figure out who/what/when/where/how?

I'm intrigued. As fieldafm pointed out, this Farmer's Market is the "real deal" and could only get better with an expansion.

p.s....love the Asian fruit guy!! Jackfruit, passion fruit, durian, dragon fruit...you can't find this stuff anywhere else!

^They already own the land and building.  I'd say an expansion is likely at some point.  What type of expansion and how it is ultimately pulled off, is up for grabs.

Meh. Location location location. Needs to go to Annie Lytle or space of old apartments at Stockton and Ernest St + bodega + lots across Ernest.

I have been going to the market for years and 75% of my friends just will not go up there no matter how many times Ive dazzled people with what I bought. You hear one horror story after another of something someone heard years ago. These same broke people will spend twice the money for the exact same thing at RAM or King St. People from Avondale will not cross the tracks. Riverside peeps will not cross I10.

I think the location is fine and it shouldn't be moved because a few yuppies are scared to venture in an industrial district.  It plays a critical role for the nearby neighborhoods that don't have places like Winn-Dixie and Publix operating in them. With the amount of warehouses and food related industries in the area, I think the farmer's market could grow and stimulate the development of a "wholesale" or "market" district, similar to what Detroit's Eastern Market has done for the area surrounding it.  To do this, future expansion plans must create more activity along Beaver Street itself instead of the space between the buildings and street curb serving as surface parking.

Im with you Lake...!

Ocklawaha

September 05, 2012, 06:58:54 PM
Meh. Location location location. Needs to go to Annie Lytle or space of old apartments at Stockton and Ernest St + bodega + lots across Ernest.

I have been going to the market for years and 75% of my friends just will not go up there no matter how many times Ive dazzled people with what I bought. You hear one horror story after another of something someone heard years ago. These same broke people will spend twice the money for the exact same thing at RAM or King St. People from Avondale will not cross the tracks. Riverside peeps will not cross I10.

The Farmers Market location is at the junction of the three mainline railroads which service Florida. This causes the freight rates by truck or train to remain lower, so everybody wins.

As for location, location, location, the market is located the Beaver Street, Streetcar line, of the old Jacksonville Traction Company. So being transit friendly, there is no reason why the Skyway couldn't extend to the Farmers Market over the railroad yards. It would be quite simple to extend it further into Woodstock or north toward Edward Waters.

dougsandiego

September 05, 2012, 09:30:14 PM
Great idea. Expand it! It is useful, health giving and supports local agriculture. People love food and permanent farmers' markets all over the country have proven to be big attractions. San Diego has many neighborhood weekly markets, but is only now going to get a permanent one in Barrio Logan. Another smaller one is to be included in the Old Police Headquarters which is now undergoing restoration. Sites for permanent markets seem to be very difficult to find and develop due to land and development costs. You have one. Cherish it.

birdilicious

September 05, 2012, 09:44:56 PM
Meh. Location location location.

That should be the last thing on people's minds.  If you show positive growth in an area people will flock to it.  I remember when people thought that King Street was dangerous, but now you have a lively night life over there.  5 points was a scary place at night, but now you have a nice theater, some nice dining.  Beautiful apartments and condos.  You don't improve an area by moving things out.  You improve an area by building it up and bringing people in.

Keith-N-Jax

September 06, 2012, 09:37:45 AM
I know what Jackfruit is,(roadking) just thought I would have to visit a market in Central or South Florida to gets some. I will look for this guy when I go back there. Thanks B S

Debbie Thompson

September 06, 2012, 12:37:41 PM
Bird, Lake, Ock, ditto from me.  They'll come, or they'll continue to miss out.  Lots of other people will come, and they won't miss out.

I can't wait to see what happens.  I would love to see a commercial kitchen in the former grocery so artisan bakers who can't afford a commercial kitchen can reserve it to bake there and have booths there.   And then, of course, Condaxis across the street would have to have a coffee booth to go with the baked goods.  How great would that be?  Artists could rent gallery space along the walls to sell their art, or consign it.

I would hate to see the rents, and therefore the retail food prices, go up though.  Please keep it affordable.  Not looking for foo-foo, looking for food.  :-)

TPC

September 06, 2012, 01:40:30 PM
Thanks to everyone for all the info, I'll be sure to check it out.

Pinky

September 06, 2012, 05:44:12 PM
How about a Contract Commissary/Kitchen for food trucks? 
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