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On The Market


The same locally-grown, DIY attitude that made San Diego the mecca of microbrews carries over onto another booming trend: The Farmers’ Market. Though they’ve long been a staple of San Diego County, it’s only in the last few years through outreach programs, a boost in organic farming, and the rising economy of home craft companies that these markets have made the transition from niche consumerism to mass appeal. And like the differing tastes of our now famous microbrews, so too do these community markets vary in offerings. You may find fresh uni in Mission Hills, petting zoos in Ocean Beach, or custom jewelry in Del Mar, all of which makes frequenting the numerous locations an exciting treasure hunt. Here are a few that leave us wanting more.


Leucadia Farmers’ Market and Art Fair
Sundays, 10am-2pm, at Paul Ecke Elementary
Hailed as one of the larger markets in the county, this one boasts everything from fresh organic foods and made-to-order dishes to live music, performance art, and a wealth of homemade crafts and goods. Get there early as parking is notoriously tough. (www.leucadiafarmersmarket.com)

La Jolla Open Air Market
Sundays, 9am-1pm, at the corner of Girard and Genter
Organic produce, unique crafts, and live entertainment make this a popular choice. Every third Sunday the market offers free family activities, like the upcoming Easter egg hunt, which bring people from far and wide.  (www.lajollamarket.com)

Cedros Avenue Farmers’ Market
Sundays, 1-5pm, at 410 S. Cedros Avenue
Savor locally grown organic veggies and certified produce, fresh cut flowers, juice blends, artisan smoked salmon, hearth baked breads, organic pastries, gifts, clothing, and handmade jewelry. Grab a seat at one of the streetside tables and enjoy a delicious lunch or a refreshing beverage amid classic jazz tunes. (www.cedrosavenue.com)

Del Mar Certified Farmers’ Market
Saturdays, 1-4pm, at 1050 Camino Del Mar
Established in 1986, this market offers organic and pesticide-free fruits and vegetables, international cuisine, eggs, seafood, and flowers. But perhaps the most unique thing is the markets’ nonprofit status. Every week each farmer pays a small percentage of sales to cover operating expenses, and the balance is used for charitable purposes.  (www.delmarfarmersmarket.org)

Little Italy Mercado
Saturdays, 8am–2pm, at W. Date and India
Wine, art, and pizza are just a small offering of Little Italy’s famous market. Guests come for organic fruits and vegetables, herbs, flowers, eggs, cheese, and pastured chicken and meat from more than 40 California farmers. The market also boasts designer clothing, handmade crafts, and live music. (www.littleitalymercato.com)

Carmel Valley Certified Farmers’ Market
Thursdays, 2:30–7pm, at Canyon Crest Academy
A handful of certified farmers and acoustic musicians make this quaint market a nice departure from the hectic nature of the larger weekend ones. Here you’ll find a bountiful collection of organic produce and prepared ethnic foods. Guests can also find a number of lifestyle artisans from gardening experts to yoga instructors. (www.carmelvalleycertifiedfarmersmarket.com)

Rancho Santa Fe Farmers’ Market
Sundays, 9am–1:30pm, at Del Rayo Village
Find everything from fresh fruits to gourmet tamales to locally-made pasta sauces at this hidden gem. Many patrons bring coolers and have lunch under the canopies while enjoying live music and other entertainers. The market’s Web site also features recipes you can make with produce from specific market vendors. (www.ranchosantafefarmersmarket.com)

Carlsbad State Street Farmers’ Market
Wednesdays, 3-7pm, at State Street between Carlsbad Village Drive & Grand
A more intimate affair with a heavier focus on produce and floral arrangements, the Carlsbad market is a great destination for discovering local farm fresh food and up-and-coming singer songwriters. (www.statestreetmarket.com)

Encinitas Station Certified Farmers’ Market
Wednesdays, 4-7pm (5-8pm starting in May), at 600 S. Vulcan Avenue
Located near the train station, guests can grab a bag of fresh local produce, some chocolate and nuts, or warm dinner from the handful of food trucks on hand. It’s small, but the vibe is just right when the trains pass by and the ocean air hangs heavy. (www.farmersmarketencinitas.com)

The list goes on, from Chula Vista to Escondido, Ramona to Downtown, and dozens more. To get an idea of which are closest to you, or learn about ones that you’ve never even heard of, visit the Farm Bureau of San Diego County Web site. (www.sdfarmbureau.org)    RYAN THOMAS



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