In January 2020, the Hernando County Growers Association (HCGA) entered into a ten-year lease agreement with the county to move some of their operations to the Little Rock Cannery.
An email statement from then HCGA Director Michael Defelice explains, “Our proposal includes establishing regular and routine hours of operation for the public to use the cannery facility, the establishment of a Farmers Market featuring local produce and other agriculture products from our community, the construction of a commercial kitchen to serve as a commissary and business incubator for cottage food businesses, and future construction of a food hub for aggregation and distribution of Hernando grown produce to be offered to our school district and restaurants. This project will enhance agritourism in Hernando county as well.”
The Brooksville Farmers’ market was moved to the Brooksville Cannery. The farmers’ market is on Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm with a few high-quality vendors. There are a couple of produce vendors, a vendor selling Amish cheese and butter, baloney, and jam, a vendor offering a wide variety of meat and some local seafood, a vendor selling local honey, and goats milk soap.
The market is pet friendly, but the cannery building only allows service animals inside.
The vendors at the farmers market accept Snap/EBT. They are also part of the Fresh Access Bucks program which will double the amount of EBT. One of the vendors also accepts the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program Vouchers.
The Cannery’s hours are variable so please call ahead to make an appointment. The hours are from Tuesday through Friday from 10-4, on Sunday 10-4, and sometimes Saturday from 10-4. The cannery offers classes and the equipment to can fruits and vegetables.
The HCGA is a 501c3 non-profit and pays an annual lease of $1 to the county to rent the Cannery. The HCGA is working on creating a commercial kitchen at the Cannery to increase the services that they can offer their members. To create this commercial kitchen they are looking for donations of equipment to outfit the kitchen. They need a hood, commercial stove, deep fryer, stainless tables, a walk-in cooler/reach-in cooler, and a merchandising cooler.
The building that houses the cannery has an interesting history. It was built by Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the New Deal. The building has served as a school, orphanage, and cannery.
The farmers market should grow after the new year since many farmer’s markets require vendors to sign up for the entire year. The current vendors will provide a great foundation on which to grow.
For more information visit https://www.hernandogrowers.org/ or [email protected].
The cannery is located at 15487 Citrus Way, Brooksville, FL 34614