A person holding a "Locally Grown" sign and produce.
These days, planning a trip to the grocery store can sometimes make you feel like one of the Spartan soldiers at the Battle of Thermopylae. You’re fighting through the aisles with a wobbly cart that has one wheel that just won’t move, and you increasingly find yourself corralled and then trapped in the bottleneck of the Deli section. Many of us look upon it with grim purpose or outright dread.

This would explain why smaller, locally-driven markets and U-Picks are so popular, but not just because of crowd reduction. There’s the added bonus of knowing where the food and goods come from, how they were farmed or made, and that you’re supporting local business with your money. They’re usually a lot more fun, too.

We’ve barely scratched the surface in this look at Ocala and Citrus County’s markets, so we encourage you to visit the Discover Crystal River and Ocala Marion County websites for even more places you can visit and sample the diversity of each community. But we’re happy to get you started.

Here’s the Five By Five:

Marion County


Black Angus cattle

Harbison Farms Cattle and Produce – Anthony, FL

The Harbison family has lived on this 7000-acre farm since the early 1700s, and for the past 28 years have operated their own open market. At first it was a small affair; fresh vegetables, fruits, eggs and flowers. Over three decades, it grew from a little stand to a big tent market, and then into a much larger, permanent covered pavilion.

Chickens, ducks, geese and occasional wandering turkey often mill in and around the customers, roaming unhindered and for all the world looking as if they’re also perusing the shelves. A small plant nursery and occasional vendor tents are alongside the pavilion, where you can purchase herbs, flowers, and craftworks. There’s grass-fed beef – quarter, half and whole sides if you want it. There are fresh eggs from the farm’s own chickens, as well as from other farms in the area are stocked weekly. Occasionally the ducks will deign to lay a batch of eggs, when the mood strikes them, and they’re snatched up like treasure at a pirate rally. You’ll also find cheeses, Amish products, and local honey, plus a stunning collection of homemade jams, jellies, and preserves, and of course a cornucopia of fresh, organic produce.

If there’s something you want that isn’t in stock, just tell them and they’ll try to get it for you. You can even do a curbside pickup; just text them with your grocery list, and they’ll pack it up and bring it right out. For people struggling with food costs, there’s even a relief/assistance program funded by the farm and public donations, so that no one has to go hungry.

Harbison Cattle and Produce
4696 NE County Rd. 329, Anthony
Facebook: https://bit.ly/4bFTmrS

fresh fruits and vegetables

Ocala Downtown Market

If you haven’t been in downtown Ocala on a Saturday, you really are missing out! What started out as a humble, relatively small vendor market has evolved into a weekly block party that spills out from under the giant open-air pavilion onto the sidewalk of 3rd Street, and sometimes almost all the way to Citizen’s Circle. It’s become so popular that people come from not just all across Marion County, but Alachua and Citrus, too. We had a great conversation in a separate blog with Dawn Bowman, who manages the Market (and is also one of our amazing Showcase agents). Our Discover Ocala podcast also featured an episode talking about its amazing post-pandemic recovery and resurgence.

Step into the pavilion, and you’re greeted by the smells of fresh produce, homemade pies, cakes, and artisan breads, along with the garlicky aroma of hummus, tahini, and baklava.
You can find almost anything here; fresh seafood, meat, poultry, a dizzying array of olive oils and sweets, several fruit and vegetable stands, homemade soaps, candles, essential oils, bath products, clothing, jewelry, and local honey.

If you come in hungry, and your stomach lets you know it means business, all you have to do is step out onto SE 3rd Avenue and partake from the many food trucks lining the street. There’s almost always live music playing throughout the day, pony rides, plenty of places to sit and relax, and it’s pet-friendly, so there are lots of dogs enjoying the day as much as their people.

If you’re interested in becoming a vendor or about some of the special events the Market hosts year-round, contact the Ocala Chamber of Commerce or visit the official Facebook page.

Ocala Downtown Market
Corner of SE 3rd St. and SE 3rd Ave, Ocala
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Phone: 352.629.8051 ext. 128
canned vegetables and jams

Rising Harvest Fresh Produce

This unassuming little farm market is relatively small, but it packs a punch in quality as well as quantity, with plenty of organic fruits and vegetables that are so gorgeous, you might find yourself selecting items you’ve never felt inclined to try before. There are loads of great treats to fill your bag, including preserves and canned goods, honey, fresh juices, confections, and a cooler at the back where you’ll find dairy and local cheeses.

Located right on Highway 200 across from Publix supermarket with a small, shady picnic area where you can grab something from the farm stand or the nearby food truck. It’s easy to find and access, particularly if you live in southwest Ocala.

Rising Harvest Produce
8260 SW State Rd. 200, Ocala
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/risingharvestllc

A table with fall theme and two scarecrows

Amber Brooke Farms

Harvesting your own food has a unique kind of satisfaction; you know you’re getting exactly what you want, fresh from ground and/or tree. Today there are locations in Eustis and Williston, where patrons can pick their own seasonal blueberries and strawberries, explore the farms, and enjoy the many yearly events and festivals held throughout the year.

It’s also a great day outdoors for the family, with lots of games and activities for kids, including corn hole, an archery range, sand pit, the barrel and cow train, a bubble barn, and wagon rides. The best part, perhaps, is the fun of picking and packing your own pumpkins, corn, sunflowers, zinnias, and of course lots of berries.

The blueberry season is usually from the beginning of March into the early weeks of May, and is the most popular – 20 million pounds of blueberries are grown in Florida each year! Amber Brooke has multiple varieties you can sample before choosing which ones you want to take home. On weekends, the farms host vendors and offer lunch, baked goods, and other goodies. You can sit back with a local craft beer or glass of wine while the kids romp on the jumping pad or have a go at mining gemstones. We’d say that’s a day well spent.

Amber Brooke Farms
36111 N CR 44A Eustis, Fl
3250 NE 140th Ave, Williston Fl
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ABFWilliston

Fresh produce displayed for sale.

Market of Marion

Brace yourself for sensory overload, but it’s totally worth it, we promise. To say you will probably be able to find anything – and we do mean anything – at this place is not much of an exaggeration. Why? Well, just wait until you walk in the door and see the largesse sprawling before you. First off, it’s enormous. It’s kind of a throwback to the old days, when people would head into the center of town on Market Day and sample the wares brought in from regional producers.

There are over 1100 vendors at Market of Marion, selling produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, antiques, jewelry, crafts, artwork, clothing, furniture, housewares, and…well, the list is seriously huge. You could spend a whole day here and still not see every booth – but the good news is, it’s open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 4pm (3pm on Fridays), so you can come back and pick up where you left off!

Market of Marion also holds several events throughout the year, including car shows, motorcycle rallies, the “Back to Basics” Expo, Stamp Camp, as well as multiple fundraisers and bake sales that benefit local schools and community organizations.


Market of Marion
12888 SE US Hwy 441 Belleview, FL
Facebook: https://bit.ly/3utaj8f

Citrus County


Glasses of blueberry wine, fresh blueberries, and cheese.

Cavallo Farm & Market

If you prefer to head out into an orchard or field with a basket, bag, or barrel to pick your own Autumn loot, Cavallo’s is ready for you. With 40 acres of lush blueberry farm, a winery, locally-sourced market, and U-Pick, you could spend a whole day here and still not see everything. There’s a heaping variety of organic produce, baked goods, jams and jellies, coffee, and olive oils. A beautiful boutique shop is just beyond the market, where you can purchase honey, gifts, and bath/body supplies that are quite honestly heavenly. Blueberry season is from March-May, and you can enjoy a day in the orchard filling them up with luscious berries. At the end of your adventure, be sure to add a couple of bottles of Cavallo Estate Wine to go with your other goodies.


Cavallo Farm & Market
8123 S. Lecanto Highway

Artisan cheeses and honey and grapes

Market at the Depot

Inverness is an active and busy community with a love for the outdoors, fresh air, and good food, and the City’s Market at the Depot is one of its most popular weekly events. The open-air brick pavilion is home to over 75 vendors offering specialty artisan products, and the citizens roam enthusiastically among the stalls in search of a bargain.

Here you’ll find all kinds of homegrown produce, from organic to hydroponic and seasonal fare, plus plenty of plants, flowers, herbs, and enough house and garden goodies to delight any budding horticulturist. Specialty foods, baked goods, seafood, international foods, and local honeys are on hand, plus handmade art and craft works, skin care, and apparel. You could spend hours here, and it still might not be enough.

The Market is open every first and third Saturday of each month from 9am to 1pm, and the City of Inverness often plans specialty vintage markets and swap meets during the year.


Market at the Depot
N. Apopka Avenue, Inverness Fl
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InvernessFloridaGov

Apples and bananas for sale.

Tony’s Produce Market

Crystal River is a favorite weekend destination for sightseeing and shopping, with one delightful boutique after another lining the streets, dotted with equally charming cafes and restaurants. Among them is the little bungalow of Tony’s Produce Market, with its wide, welcoming front porch and inviting umbrella-shaded tables.

Want some local honey? He’s got it. Jams, jellies, and canned pickles? He has those, too. Fruits, nuts, and fresh veggies – he has that covered. Tony’s inventory is curated with the love of locally-grown and sourced products and a commitment to stocking only the best quality food; if it isn’t good enough for his table, it’s not good enough for yours.

Tony’s Produce Market
454 Northeast 3rd Street, Crystal River Fl
Facebook: https://bit.ly/3UG0CxF

Farm fresh eggs for sale.

Hernando Fresh Market

These folks have taken the time-honored idea of a roadside stand and turned it into a destination you simply cannot pass by. Located on US Highway 41 just outside of Hernando and looking out towards the waters of the Potts Wildlife Management Area, this gem is small but mighty! The fruits and vegetables are bursting with color and flavor – fat, crispy apples, succulent lettuce, and crisp green beans and carrots are overflowing the bins.

There’s also a hearty selection of mouth-watering meats and seafood, seasonal foods like blueberries, blackberries, corn and pumpkins. Everything is supervised by the establishment’s bona-fide bodega cat, Peaches – as well as the whimsical blow-up turkeys, snowmen, Disney characters, and Minions that frequently pop up both in and outside the sun-dappled stand.


Hernando Fresh Market
1996 N Florida Ave, Hernando, FL
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/hernandofreshmarket/

A roadside produce stand with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Dixie Harvest

Over in the Gulf-neighboring hamlet of Homosassa, Dixie Harvest is a refreshing food oasis that sits under a shady tent; not only replete with fresh fruits, vegetables, and berries, but also a gorgeous assortment of Amish cheeses and locally-sourced products.

They have all the jams and sauces your heart desires, fresh canned pickles, and uniquely refreshing aloe vera drinks. Skinny Tortuga’s sublime meats and seafood are in stock as well; when in season, they also offer specialties for the adventurous palate like freshly harvested or caught octopus, mussels, and clams by the bucketful.

We just have one recommendation; when you go, prepare to drool.


Dixie Harvest
5240 South Suncoast Boulevard Homosassa, FL
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DixieHarvestProduce

If you’re planning to go and pick your own produce, we suggest you call ahead and ask what’s in season and confirm pricing and availability. You can also call the City and County offices to inquire about festivals and special events, or check their calendars so you don’t miss anything.

Happy foraging!