by Mary Dickinson
January 29, 2004
The best deals are made around noon. The farmers have been selling since morning and they don’t want to take home any more than they have to. It's best to shop around and make sure you’re getting quality. Small red potatoes were selling for $1 a pound at most venders. One farmer had nice, tiny, firm ones, and I was shocked when he wanted only $.80 a pound. When I cooked them they were really delicious.
Most venders are natives (they have southern accents). One ancient farmer (but still active) wanted $1 for four green sweet peppers. I bought them. I was impressed by his age and condition. It tells you something wonderful about life in Florida. Later, when we were leaving, I noticed him packing his veggies in a long (somewhat old) limousine. Farmers are versatile people.
You may have to park a long way from the gate. It's best to arrive at the fairgrounds around 9am and walk the flea market first. Then you won’t have to carry your produce around with you. The flea market is beyond the farmers' market and to the left. Hundreds of people come here from all over Florida to sell their treasures (or trash). Antique dealers, coin dealers, venders with hundreds of new items for $1, lots of dealers with good quality running suits, dealers with shelled nuts and candy by the pound; you can find anything if you look around. One lady was selling beads by the piece or by the strand. I asked her if her’s was the business that was advertised out on Rt 95 and she said no but her prices were much less because she doesn’t have to pay for the billboards.
To get to the fairgrounds take exit 118 off Rt 4 east or west in Deland. Follow the signs to the Volusia County Fairgrounds. The farmers' market opens around 9am and closes when people lose interest (around 1:30pm).
From journal Vacation In Paradise