By Anna-Marie Menhenott
PORT ST. LUCIE -- Fresh fruit, lush plants, puppies, woodwork and reggae are some of the vast array of surprises visitors will find at the Community Green Market.
Each Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., market organizer and founder Arthur D'Amato makes sure patrons find hidden local treasures alongside the bounties of fresh fruit and vegetables and organic products.
"This market is comparable to any other local market," said Mr. D'Amato. "We have a great location at the Civic Center, so we bring in a mix of people along with a mix of selected vendors. People are very happy that they don't have to drive far to find everything they want."
Since opening a few months ago, Mr. D'Amato said the market has grown tremendously. They have moved the market out of the grassy area in front of the civic center to the cemented area in front of the entrance.
"The market is now more accessible to mothers who are pushing baby strollers and those who may have physical limitations and need the assistance of a wheelchair," he said.
Initially, the market was going to close May. 25, but now plans are to stay open year-round.
"The market is expanding and the vendors wanted to stay open all year. Because it's so popular, we decided to honor their requests."
Among the many popular stops at the market is the live music area, which offers the sounds of local reggae music. There is also an area to sit and relax or eat some of the hot food or drinks offered by vendors. The market is pet-friendly and also offers a tent manned by the Humane Society of St. Lucie County. The Humane Society offers pets for adoption as well as information about the organization.
Mr. D'Amato said the future looks bright for the market.
"We, in conjunction with the Civic Center, are trying to bring an RV or boat show to the area," he said. "We'd still host the market at the same time, bringing our goods to the many people who would be visiting the show. It's a win-win."
For more information about Community Green Market or how to become a vendor, call Arthur D'Amato at (772) 345-3797.