look like much, but it has a surprising good
selection of fruits and vegetables that won't cost you much.
During a vacation to central Florida in March of 2010 I was looking for
good fruit at reasonable prices and asked several raw food aquaintences
where I could find some.
The Plant City Market was a good option, they assured me, so I
rolled into its dusty parking lot on a tuesday afternoon.
I didn't see a single sign for the place from the road,
dozens of vendor booths stacked with boxes of fruit when I accidently
drove by the enterance, so I knew I'd
reached the right place.
When I got there I found that it was also called the Country Village
Flea Market, Plant City Flea Market, and the Sam Allen Flea Market,
depending on who you asked.
There were at least two dozen fruit vendors present with
many more empty stalls, which I assume means that the place is
considerably busier in the mornings or on weekends. Besides myself
there were only six or eight customers.
Other non-produce stalls sold fruit trees, tools, and various brick-a
The fruit and vegetable prices varied considerably from vendor to
vendor (I was quoted prices between $18 and $8 for a 40-pound box of
cavendish bananas, for instance). All the sellers were quoting prices
considerably under what you'd find in a supermarket, with most beating
wholesale prices as well.
Most vendors were selling by the box, but a few were selling smaller
Despite it being March, part of the fruit dead zone period in the U.S.,
there was plenty of selection at Plant City Flea Market, with much of
it being imported, of course. A couple of guys buying for restaurants
told me many of the other produce wholesalers in the central part of
the state come there to buy their produce, but I'm not sure where on
the fruit pecking order this place is. The prices would seem to
indicate that the produce hasn't passed through many middle men.
Watermelons (I bought the most expensive at $4 for a large melon, and
they were surprisingly good considering they were way out of season),
canteloupe, honeydews, apples, numerous vegetables and locally-grown
oranges, strawberries tangerines, grapefruit, and raw peanuts were a
few of the things I found there. They also had a few more unusual items
like Manzano bananas.
I was in a rush and didn't have as much time to look around or inquire
about selection as I would have liked, but I was able to easily find
what I needed and get out.
Overall, I'd say that while you won't find the exotic produce of
southern Florida here, there are some great prices and plenty of
selection. Check it out if you're in the area.
Plant City Market Details:
Address: 702 W. Sam Allen Road,Plant
City, Florida 33565
Hours: Open 7 days a week. Not sure
of the hours.
Phone: (813) 752-4670 (Never Called This Number).