NEW PORT RICHEY — Much like the ebb and flow of Tampa Bay, farmers markets have come and gone in the New Port Richey area over the last few years. Friday night, a new one began with the promise of a consistent, weekly market with local vendors that will also benefit two charitable organizations- Pasco Pet Fest and the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program.
“Other farmers markets have done well when they were weekly so we wanted to continue that momentum,” said Jason Longo, marketing and events director for Doggie Cakes Bakery. Longo and his wife, Trina Messano, helped start the market after having to move their monthly “Yappy Hour” event from Market Off Main to Gill Dawg Marina for the larger space.
The couple wanted to continue their partnership with the Market Off Main, so they approached owners Jerry Kuss and Rose Mohr about hosting “M.O.M.'s Friday Night Market” 5-9 p.m. on Friday year round. With permission from the owner of a former restaurant located next to the market, the Friday night market has set up vendors in the adjacent parking lot at 6241 Lincoln St. across from Sims Park.
Vendors pay a $20 fee in advance to participate and part of the proceeds raised from those fees go toward Pasco Pet Fest, a pet-friendly event in October that will raise money for Raffle Rescue's mission to help struggling families feed their pets, and to the Florida Guardian ad Litem program, which gives abused, abandoned and neglected children a friendly volunteer to help them through court proceedings.
The market has the potential for 30 vendors at the moment, and already, 23 spots have been filled by a variety of local business owners making everything from freshly-ground coffee and handmade candles to produce and locally-sourced honey.
Most of the vendors produce handmade goods but re-sellers won't be turned away if there's an open spot. However, “If we have a choice between someone who sells homemade pottery and someone who sells commercial purses, we'll go with the pottery,” Longo said.
Several animal organizations have set up booths to raise awareness about their causes, accept donations and help pets find forever families.
The other farmers market events in the area are Tasty Tuesdays at 11 a.m. at the New Port Richey Public Library, a weekly organic farmers' market held in the library courtyard, and a farmer's market starting at 11 a.m. on Saturdays put on by the Suncoast Co-op at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in New Port Richey.
Fresh Fridays, organized by Greater New Port Richey Main Street at 6 p.m. on the first Friday of every month, was last held in May of this year and the future of the market is uncertain.
As far as the new market is concerned, “We have temporary signage up and we'll see how well the lights hold up but by next week, we'll be experts,” Longo said.
The next market will be held starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 11. For more information about the market and for vendor applications, visit http://momsfridaynightmarket.com/ or contact Messano at (727) 845-1200(727) 845-1200.
You can reach Daylina at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 815-1067(727) 815-1067. Follow her on Twitter at @DaylinaMiller.