So I hesitate to write this review somewhat, because there are some wonderful finds to be had here. However, there is too much great stuff not to share with others. We have been making the hour drive to Webster from Orlando for a little over a year and each visit brings something new and exciting.
Firstly, the farmers market portion: Webster offers a wide array of farmers offering everything from kale to Asian spinach, and all at prices that put traditional grocery stores (yes, even horrid Wal Mart) to shame. Most of the farmers are from local farms and their goods are grown within a few miles of the market. They are all genuine, nice people who are happy to talk about their farming practices if you have questions about what pesticides are used and their growing practices. Tip: shop the main isle for your fruit/veggie goods and walk the entire isle to see all the offerings first. If you buy the first tomatoes that look good to you, you may kick yourself later when you see larger, cheaper ones a few booths down. Get a feel for the entire isle offerings before making your purchases. Also, if you're a serious farmers market shopper, you'll likely already know what foods are currently in season when you go. Identify those foods, since they will be the ones freshest and locally grown. If you're seeing kale in July, it was likely imported from another state with a cooler summer. We can easily get two weeks worth of produce for $30. Go at the beginning of the day for the best selection or stop by at the end for the bargains. The farmers will often cut prices slightly around 11am in hopes of selling off the remainder of their goods. The less they have to load back into their trucks, the better. Overall, this is a wonderful opportunity to support local farmers and eat fresher produce.
Now, the flea/antiques market. This place is massive in size. You can spend 4-5 hours walking around and still only see half of it. If you're a bargain hunter, antiques collector, DIY fanatic, or thrift store junkie this may be your version of heaven. But you have to know which part of the market to go to. Skip the isles just to the left of the farmers market produce isle. They are at the front of the market and contain the cheapest stuff- ie. bubble machines, off brand perfumes, poorly made pocket knives etc. (Side Note: These isles also often contain vendors selling off animals- mostly puppies. This is heartbreaking as they are clearly puppy mill animals and they look so sad. I consider this to be a major detractor from the quality of the overall Webster experience and I wish they would not allow these vendors to participate.) Once you get past these isles and to the back of the market, you will enter the "antiques" section, which is hosted both on an open lawn area as well as sorted into color coded buildings (ie. lavender building). This is where the good finds are! Vendors in this area - both on the open lawn and the color-coded buildings- have everything from furniture, appliances, tools, cutlery, lighting, odds & ends, decor, and everything in between. All vendors are open to bartering and bargaining, so go for it. This week we walked away with 3 small pieces of furniture (a bench, a table and a display rack) for $30. Some items are clearly fixer-uper's and others are in phenomenal condition upon purchase. It's a very nice flea market, and the only true flea market in the central Florida area I've found.
Food: There are plenty of food options if you get hungry. As we're vegan, we stuck to candied pecans and almonds as a snack. However, they offer popcorn, hot dogs, funnel cakes, burgers, lemonade, pretzels and much more. You won't go hungry.
Overall, Webster is most certainly worth a visit if you are local to Orlando or just visiting the central Florida region and have a passion for antiquing or thrift store shopping. For us, it's worth making the hour drive from Orlando twice a month. Have fun!