The Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce Seafood and Farmer's Market is anticipated to open during the first or second weekend of February at the Pine Island Center.
The market, which will be located in Phillip's Park, will include approximately 30 booths and run from 8 a.m. to noon, every Saturday until April or early May.
The chamber is still seeking vendors, farmers, fishermen, artisans and civic clubs to sell their wares at the weekly market. Approved market items include fresh produce, seafood, plants, flowers, arts and crafts, as well as individuals selling their goods.
Chamber President-elect Steve Timcak said the market would be an ideal place for individuals to earn money for their families.
In 2011, the Florida Legislature passed the Cottage Food Bill, Bill 7209, which allows individuals to manufacture, sell and store some types of "cottage food" products from their home kitchen. The cottage foods include breads, cakes, cookies, candies, jams and jellies and fruit pies.
According to the bill, the annual income that is made through selling these products cannot exceed $15,000. The sale of the product can only be made from the cottage food operator directly to the consumer and not through the Internet, mail order and consignment or through wholesale.
Timcak thinks the bill is a remarkable thing because the state Legislature is trying to help individuals earn an income.
The best part, he said, is that individuals can make the cottage foods in their home kitchen and sell in the public without any licensing having to take place.
According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the item that is being sold has to be labeled with "made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida's food safety regulations."
Those interested in obtaining a booth at the market are encouraged to call the Chamber of Commerce at 239-283-0888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.