Here is a Tampa riddle for you: in what one store can you purchase Persian cucumbers, kabocha squash, jackfruit, gai lohn and a gallon of Texas Pete? Most locals will probably know, the answer is Sanwa Farmer’s Market.
The Market’s Origins and Generosity
Just “Sanwa” for short, the market is a treasure trove of hard to find fruits and vegetables, but the market is mostly known for having quality multicultural foods at fair prices. Sanwa Growers Inc. started thanks to a chance visit by Tony Leung, a native of Hong Kong, to see a former professor in Ruskin. Leung was looking for a place to grow Chinese melons and cabbage, and, actually, he took root himself here in Florida.
Leung’s desire for some native vegetables turned into an agricultural powerhouse that services Fort Myers to Gainesville reaching restaurants, delis, and even large families who want to shop wholesale without club fees.
The Leung Family has also turned the growth of their business into an opportunity to invest in the Tampa area. Sanwa’s founders have planted seeds in everything from Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department to the Hillsborough County Parks Department along with specific schools across the area like Ruskin Elementary School, East Bay High School, King High School and many more institutions across the Tampa Bay area.
Reflecting Tampa’s Diversity
And when you visit Sanwa on a bustling weekend, you can see Tampa’s diversity in the food and in the aisles. Of course, let’s be real, there will be few carts to go around and the parking lot will be a quagmire. But the reason will be that dang near every family in the area is gathered to get quality food – and don’t even mention the people who drive from miles away to get produce.
Sanwa is more than a market and a place to get a jackfruit and soursop, its a cultural hub. Visit Sanwa Farmer’s Market at 2621 E Hillsborough Ave.