The Seminole Heights Sunday Morning Market, held the second Sunday of every month in the front lawn of the gorgeous Hillsborough High School, provides Seminole Heights with a massive amount of locally created foods and goods, all in a relaxed open air market environment. It’s kind of like the Florida State Fair and a dirty, dirty flea market had a baby, but then they put the baby up for adoption because they really weren’t ready for that kind of responsibility, and it was raised by a bunch of hipsters on their organic farm/commune. Also, there are dogs.
As soon as you arrive on the grounds of the high school, you are greeted with the alluring aroma of dozens of shops preparing their fresh foods for sale. The vibrant colors of all sorts of plants, flowers, and produce being sold provide the backdrop to the crowd’s excited enjoyment of the event. Crafts pack table after table, ranging from handmade clothes to handmade soap to handmade metal… hangy things. There’s even a bit of live music, and everyone seems to be in a generally pleasant mood. If you have to be awake on a Sunday morning, it’s hard to think of a better place to spend it than here.
Over a hundred vendors come out each month from October to May, setting up their little tents and peddling their personally crafted wares to the public. Almost half of the vendors seem to be there to sell freshly made food of all varieties, from ethnic dishes to literally home grown foods. At each tent you’ll find a smiling face excited to tell you all about their businesses and let you sample the products of their passions. There’s a strong sense of pride in the Tampa Bay community at the Seminole Heights Sunday Morning Market, and it’s easy to get caught up in that pride when being barraged by so many different items you would never expect to find in your own back yard. Highlights from my visit include:
- Warm, glorious freshly baked pastries from 20 Shekels Bread (Clearwater) – a perfect cinnamon roll and a beautiful bread filled with cream cheese and berries.
- A few bottles of some excellent hot sauces from Festival Hot Sauce (Tampa) – hot sauce with an emphasis on flavor over heat, including habanero mango and cilantro lime.
- Locally-tubed sausages from Sausage Laboratory (Wesley Chapel) – a perfect hot Italian sausage and a deliciously inventive cranberry bratwurst.
- A huge assortment of different spices as well as oils and vinegars from VSpicery (Tampa).
- Jerkied items of all types from Wook’s Beef Jerky (Lakeland) – nicely spiced beef jerky and my first ever exposure to vegetarian mushroom jerky.
If you have any interest in local business whatsoever, the Seminole Heights Sunday Morning Market is entirely worth checking out. Bring your friends, bring your family, bring your dog, and eat some great food and shop for artisan crafts all while supporting some of the local businesses that are making Tampa Bay a great place to live.