Kristen Manieri is travel and lifestyle writer living in Orlando, FL with her husband and two little girls. Her work has appeared in such publications as Air Tran’s GO Magazine, Dreamscapes, Florida Guides, Costco Connection and Orlando Magazine. Living in the Sunshine State has given Kristen endless adventures and writing material as she’s explored Florida from Amelia Island all the way down to Key West.

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Orlando’s Family-Friendly Farmer’s Markets

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Family time, for me at least, needs to be low stress and as easy peasy as possible. That’s probably one of the reasons you’ll rarely find the Manieri clan at a theme park. Sure, theme parks are a lot of fun, but some weekends we just need to sloooooooow down. When that happens, we prefer to spend the morning wandering through one of our many local farmer’s markets.

On a Saturday or Sunday, you and your brood can easily while away a few hours browsing the stalls where local artisan crafters sell everything from local honey to gator jerky. Sometimes you’ll find a food truck or gourmet ice pop stand. Kettle corn seems to be a staple at many, not that you’ll find me complaining. We almost always snag a bag.

Besides all the snacky items and ready-to-eat treats, most markets house a produce section filled with seasonal items like local tomatoes and strawberries. I’ve also seen fresh pastas, gourmet pickles, micro greens and flowers. Come hungry and bring your reusable grocery bags!

What I love about our farmer’s market trips is that they are about so much more than shopping: they give us the chance to support our local food entrepreneurs and they bring our kids closer to their food.

In the fall and winter months, these markets simply give us another excuse to be outside. One of my favorites, the Maitland Farmer’s Market at Lake Lily (every Sunday from 9am – 2pm), has a great little playground for the kids and there’s usually a live band playing by the lake. At the Winter Garden Farmer’s Market (Saturdays from 9am – 2pm), kids can run through the splash pad. And of course, after wandering through Lake Eola’s expansive Sunday market (every Sunday from 10am – 4pm) you can rent a swan paddleboat and float around the lake. Sounds like an easy peasy plan to me. I’m in!

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Peak Season Pops, located at the Maitland Farmer’s Market, offers a new menu of atypical flavors each week, including pops for your pooch.

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Dried fruit is a favorite at the Maitland Farmer’s Market as well as the Winter Park Farmer’s Market, Saturdays 7am – 1pm.

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Artisan sauces and spreads made by local food-preneurs are commonplace at area markets.

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This fresh pineapple juice, made at the Maitland Farmer’s Market, is a must thirst quencher!

All photos by Kristen Manieri

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