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Sarasota News Leader July 19, 2013 Page 52 One concern Robinson has, however, is how a new market southeast of downtown Sarasota would impact that longstanding venture. She would like to see the group pushing for the new venture meet with the organizers of the market at the corner of Lemon Avenue and State Street in downtown Sarasota. "How would [their plans] affect the [downtown] Sarasota farmers market? I prefer they have an open communication and dialogue on that," Robinson said. Phil Pagano, operations manager for the downtown market, told The Sarasota News Leader that Brown had approached him about the idea for the new venture. "It is on our board agenda to discuss Aug. 6," Pagano said, adding that he hopes such a venCounty Commissioner Christine Robinson. Photo by Norman Schimmel ture in Palmer Ranch would not have a negative impact on the downtown market and its other craft items after some time. He points vendors. to the Siesta Key Sunday market, which has "We are pretty established; we've been here "good vendors" but not as many food vendors, for 34 years," Pagano said. "I don't know if it as one example. would be damaging to us." "How many of these markets are true farmers Since the downtown market changed its orga- markets," Pagano asked. nizational leadership a few years ago — shift- He also has discovered, he added, that it can ing to vendor control — it has grown even be difficult to find additional local farmers for more in popularity, now bringing 350,000 vis- the downtown Sarasota market — a reality itors a year downtown on Saturdays, Pagano that could prove a bigger challenge if another pointed out. Saturday morning market were to open. He worries that a Palmer Ranch market could Robinson said many of the smaller markets have more of an impact on the Venice market she has attended seem to be self-governing, because of its location. preventing farmers markets from becoming flea markets. Pagano also notes that new farmers markets often advertise fresh local food and produce, "That is a concern expressed," Robinson said. saying they plan to specialize in edible goods, "But they have done a pretty good job at all but they end up selling mostly paintings and the markets I've been to." %

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