Lakes Park Farmers Market vendors hoping for rebound after reopening

Reporter: Gail Levy
Published: Updated:
People stop by Gina’s Tamales at the Lakes Park Farmers Market. (WINK News)

The Lakes Park Farmers Market is back open Wednesday as vendors struggle to stay afloat after the busy season got cut short. They’re hoping for a rebound.

A job fueled by passion. It’s not something you hear about every day.

“I feel like once you find something that you love doing, you’ll never work a day in your life,” said Cesar Ortiz, co-owner of Gina’s Tamales.

So it’s not just a job for the vendors at Lakes Park Farmers Market.

“It’s a lifestyle,” says Lars Reijer, owner of The Farm at the Market.

But this lifestyle turned upside down when the market closed earlier in March. For Elfriede Green, that meant no income for seven months.

“Nothing, saving, living from the couple of dollars savings of what we had,” said Green, owner of Elfie’s Deli.

Her original plan was to move back to Germany with her profits from the market.

“My whole family is in Germany and it was my daughter‘s 50th birthday so that was the whole reason why I wanted to go back,” she explained.

A season cut short kept her here.

“So we need our customers back and we hope everything goes the right way that we can make money,” Green said.

She isn’t alone in her lifestyle adjustments.

“So before we were in a lot of other markets, just about every local roots farmers market there is, but just to be safe, and we do have family that is a little bit older, so we decided to drop down in markets to only do one,” said Ortiz.

It’s a profit cut for Gina’s Tamale stand but it’s far from stopping them from what they love to do.

“You always have to adapt and I guess that’s the main thing here to learn today,” Ortiz said.

Every day it’s a new lesson reminding local vendors why they create something to share with the community.

The next farmers market is Thursday in downtown Fort Myers. It’ll be on Broadway Street between Main and Second Street. Vendors are required to wear masks and have hand sanitizer at their booths.

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