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Ft. Myers: Farmers Market? Shrimp?


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I'm heading down to Cape Coral near the end of February and would welcome any suggestions for grocery shopping. I've been going down to the area with my family for years, but they're "eat out" people. With my own two young children, I'd rather cook at home but don't have any experience shopping other than the Publix down the street. I see there's supposed to be a farmer's market in downtown Ft. Myers--can anyone tell me what day it operates or if it's worthwhile? How much of the produce was damaged by the hurricanes?

I'd also like to buy some seafood. The closest seafood market seems to be Merrick Seafood

at 1229 Se 47th Ter. What will be local and freshest other than shrimp? I saw something about commercial grouper fishing being halted temporarily. Also, any advice/recommendations re: the shimp shacks/fish markets down by the docks on the way to Ft. Myers Beach?

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I would suggest Blue Pepper on College St. and 41 for all of your fresh groceries, it's kind of like a small fresh market. It's not cheep but they have a good selection of fish, meat and vegetables.

"He could blanch anything in the fryolator and finish it in the microwave or under the salamander. Talented guy."

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Fresh Market in the Bell Tower shopping mall is excellent. The best fish I have bought has been at Timbers on Sanibel -- out of the way. The farmer's market is now too far afield for me. I don't remember their ever having fish.

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Yeah, there is little to no evidence of a cat 4 hurricane coming through southwest Fl. in my area, Naples and Ft. Myers. Pick your own everything, everywhere!!

"He could blanch anything in the fryolator and finish it in the microwave or under the salamander. Talented guy."

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  • 4 years later...

For dining, Ft. Myers Beach may be the worst food town I've ever visited. For cooking, aside from the dismal produce, you can do pretty well. The fish markets on the other side of the bridge are very good. The Sandy Butler is good compared to everything else. But we all knew that. More interestingly, there is an awesome smoked fish shop on San Carlos Blvd, just across from the bridge. Maria's Smoke House is an ugly, dingy, broken down shack of a place, best located by the decent roadside citrus guy parked out in front. Inside, they serve some of the most worthwhile, interesting, and delicious smoked fish I've ever tried. You can eat in (it's actually not bad out back), or take out, which is what I usually do. Maria's smokes its fish in a style that I'm unfamiliar with. From what I can gather, it's a latin american style (help here). It appears that the fish is first coated with a spice rub, then hot smoked. The final product is closer to a cold cooked fish than lox. The fish varies by the day, but the amberjack has an excellent flavour (although is a bit dry) and the salmon is moist with the perfect amount of smoke. Honestly, it's worth a side trip if you're in the vacinity. And for southwest florida, that's saying something.

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