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a person holding flowers at a market

Sundays Unleashed: The Market at Water Street Tampa – A Feast for Senses

Unearth wellness wonders and delectable delights at The Market, Water Street Tampa's monthly feast. Sundays, simplified, savory, and full of local charm!

By Annalise Mabe
Photos by Annalise Mabe

The day starts early for The Market at Water Street Tampa’s 60+ vendors who cart trays of succulents, arrange glass jars of local, raw honey, and greet the neighborhood’s many pups who are out with their paw-parents on their morning walks. But at 8:30AM some of the city’s residents may still be sleeping in, or getting up slowly, savoring Sunday’s gradual rise.

Outside, a blocked-off section of Water Street in the neighborhood bustles with vendors, loading boxes of goods out of cars and into shaded tents—the air still cool enough, the smelling of kettle corn being freshly popped and bagged nearby.

a pink van with flowers on the side
a person painting on canvas
a row of earrings with different colors

Miriam Shapiro is one of these vendors setting up shop, placing organic cucumbers in a wicker basket among rows and rows of brightly colored produce: purple fairytale eggplants, bundles of green bok choy, fresh Florida oranges, pink dragon fruit, and perfectly ripe, red beefsteak tomatoes.

Shapiro is AquaOrganics’ market manager and says they’ve been coming to The Market at Water Street Tampa since its inception.

“The customers here come looking for the freshest organic produce,” she says. “They try to stay as local as possible, and we’re glad to provide produce that’s exactly that.”
AquaOrganics is located just a hop-skip away in Lakeland and was one of the first aquaponic farms in the state, staking this claim in 2007.

a person handing a bag to another person at a farmers market
two women standing next to a trailer

“Our system is more sustainable,” Shapiro explains. “Aquaponics combines hydroponic growing and aquaculture, creating a recirculating system where the fish in this environment are providing the nutrients for the plants.”

Just down the way, market goers find Sandy Hein and Amber Wilson of Roots and Ritual Ayurveda Apothecary handing out samples of dark golden, raw honey sourced from Tampa bees and hand-packed by the owners themselves.

Hein and Wilson are both beekeepers and ayurvedic practitioners located just five minutes away from Water Street Tampa in neighboring Seminole Heights.

Wilson explains the health benefits for people consuming some of their products: “The best thing for allergies is raw, local honey,” she says. “And if you can get wildflower, that’s the best—the bees are getting a very biodiverse diet, snacking on everything around the city. So, when locals consume this honey, their systems are benefiting from the bees’ work, fending off allergies due to that little bit of exposure.”

Also, bonus: it tastes great.

a window of a bakery
a bowl of soup with melted cheese and green onions

From there, set slightly above the street’s red brick road, is hard-not-to-notice Marin and Dottie Drew’s vintage camper plant boutique surrounded by bohemian rattan furniture and lush greenery for market goers to take home.

The sisters, who own the aptly-named Tampanian Vintage Jungle, are fifth-generation Tampanians.

“We got the camper in 2016, gutted the whole thing, remodeled it, and took it to San Francisco and back,” Dottie says. “In 2020, we found work at a small plant nursery and had the idea to start our own business out of our camper!”

Now, the sisters see tons of foot traffic at every Market they go to, noticing visitors to Tampa as well as new customers from other parts of the city, too.

“To see Tampa grow in the ways that it has and continues to is really cool,” says Marin. “Water Street [Tampa] is the new central point, and we’re here to keep the Tampa charm.”

a plate of food and a drink
Baklava at Predalina

After a morning full of walking and traversing the city, brunch might sound like a good idea. And here, it’s hard to choose between the many spots serving up cold drinks and semi-indulgent fare. There’s a ton to choose from, and not just from the vendors themselves.

Popping into Boulon Brasserie for freshly baked chocolate croissants, gently torched French onion soup, lightly fried blue crab beignets, and a refreshing cocktail from the joint’s talented bartenders is an easy choice.

Or you could find yourself at the newly opened Predalina for light and flaky pistachio crema baklava, a seaside tonic (free of spirits), the Greek chicken in warm pita with tzatziki, or steak and eggs with green harissa and crispy potatoes.

The Market at Water Street Tampa takes place every third Sunday of the month, and—in addition to the 60+ vendors whose focus is on wellness, food, and fresh, local, handcrafted, fair-trade, vintage and eco-friendly products—there’s also public art and live entertainment throughout the neighborhood, including unique community partnerships with local non-profits and rotating artisans.

Whichever path you choose, whatever route, Sundays here are easy—as they should be.