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Plant City Market

Plant City Market doesn't 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, but noticed 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.

Plant City Farmers Market One
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 brack.

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 quantities.

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.

Plant City Famers market Two

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.
(813) 752-4670 (Never Called This Number).

Following Up

Find other fruit hotspots like the Plant City Market here.

Learn about managing fruit here.

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