Maggie’s Seafood has been apart of the Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market for the past 17 years. When they first started selling seafood at the Market it only ran from 1st Street to Main Street on Lemon Avenue, and it was packed with 20 or so vendors, on the courtyard and in the street, there was no room for Maggie’s. So, their first booth wasn’t a booth at all, but a set up in the no-parking zone in front of the stop sign on Lemon. Space was so tight they had to place their coolers on the curb and stand on top of the storm drain in order to sell their shrimp and lobster tails. If they dropped something, it literally went down the drain.
“Maggie and I have been tremendously fortunate to be part of this market, and be able to grow our business along with it,” Maggie’s co-owner Gary Balch said. “We have met so many new people, and have become friends with so many customers through the years, it’s just been amazing. It’s been a wonderful experience which we wouldn’t trade for anything.”A lot has changed since then, for both Maggie’s Seafood and the Market. Instead of two or three hundred people coming to the market each week, we now have thousands. Instead of just selling shrimp from their friend’s boat, Maggie’s now offers the largest variety of fresh wild caught fish anywhere in the area. In addition to their freshly made crab cakes, salmon patties, soups chowders, fish spreads and more.
You can visit Maggie’s Seafood every Saturday morning at their booth outside of Brooks Brothers, at the intersection of Lemon and Main. Visit soon if you’re interested in jumbo shrimp, live Maine lobsters, or stone crabs as those items can go fast during the holiday season.