To Market, To Market….


My weekly haul from the San Dimas Farmers Market

Farmers Markets.
Quick – what’s the first thing that pops into your head when you hear those two words?

Is it the thought of locals, with rattan baskets and canvas totes full of vine-ripened produce?
… or is it the other scenario: a blocked off street, full of people selling whatever the trendy home-party goods of the month are, a guy selling insurance, a “deep-fried-on-a-stick” booth, and a Dora the Explorer bounce house?

No offense to Dora, but for a while now, I’ve been visiting various “Farmers Markets”, in search of those that live up to the name, and there are quite a few, if you know where to look.
About 6 weeks ago,  I found a gem of a farmers market in Riverside. Well, actually, my friend Susan frequents it, and told me about it. So, props to you, my  über-cool friend!

Mission Inn, in downtown Riverside, CA

Mission Inn.
Located in Riverside California, Mission Inn place is worth the drive alone. It almost looks like it needs to share a property line with Hearst Castle. In any sense, they’ve got a Farmers Market every Saturday from 9am – 1pm that is an absolute cocophany of all that is good.

Arrival.
When I arrived there, my first stop was at the booth of a family selling gorgeous golden raspberries, red raspberries, succulent figs, blackberries, and other delicate treats. They were spectacular, and of course, I scooped up 3 basketsfull.

Not 5 minutes later, a sweet older woman was calling us to try her white peaches. Normally, I’ll gravitate to the yellow kind, because white ones are a bit on the dry side. But, she was adorable, so I grabbed a toothpick and dug in. The next thing I knew, I was wiping the juice from my chin. Oh my, oh my…so incredibly sweet and juicy! Yes, ma’am….bag ’em up!

Organic Produce
Goodies from my trip to the Certified Organic Farmers Market in Claremont, CA

As I kept walking, I was delighted that each booth was as delicious as the others. There were chocolate tomatoes (yes, they’re brown, cherry-sized, and quite tasty!), yellow pear-shaped tiny tomatoes (just like my Dad grows!), and gorgeous Roma tomatoes. Then I was on to the long beans, eggplant, and cauliflower.

One woman was selling all different potted herbs, and many types of succulents. A couple down the way had freshly baked bread and rolls from their bakery. A  man I stopped to talk to had a cooler full of steaks from locally grown grass-fed beef (yesss!). Another man had a display of freshly caught, beautiful fish on ice, while a woman was selling mocha-colored eggs from her free range chickens.

At the corner of the market, there was a woman selling beautiful flowers of every size and shape, and her prices were VERY reasonable! Down the way, a man named Mike was selling gorgeous, healthy Plumerias.

There were 2 nice gentleman selling baklava. I know…BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAk-lava. Ohmygoodness.
I love that treat, and they had dozens of boxes of the stuff, staring me in the eye. I couldn’t….I shouldn’t…nope.
So, 5 minutes later, as I was gobbling up the food of the gods (what? you thought I’d pass it up? yeah, I try to eat healthy, but come ON….! it’s BAAAAAAk-lava!) I decided this was a vendor I’d have to visit again. Soon. (PS: I didn’t catch his name, but his bakery is located on Ball Road in Anaheim).

Walking through this wonderland of deliciousness made me wonder why people don’t get as excited about foods like I do.  Perhaps it’s because they’re too busy telling their kids to get out of the bounce-house. However, it’s never too late to give it a try. I highly encourage you to step out into the land of the farmers market and see what treats await you.

Click this handy dandy link to find a California CERTIFIED FARMERS MARKET near you!

Support your local farmers!

My question to YOU: Which FarmersMarkets have you visited? Do you have a favorite vendor? Tell me about your experiences in the comments section below.

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11 thoughts on “To Market, To Market….

  1. Great post, I visit Farmers Markets myself.

    When I’m in Scotland I visit the Edinburgh farmers market, held on Saturday mornings near the base of Edinburgh castle.

    They have a great selection there, with the name and address of the vendors clearly shown so that you know it is genuine local produce.

    My favourite stand is the porridge stand – as well as selling porridge bars they also sell hot tubs of porridge which are welcome in the winter 🙂

    They are a great example of a local business that is now doing well selling their products nationally too.

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    1. A porridge stand! What a wonderful idea! And, shopping at Edinburgh castle…amazing!
      I think it’s wonderful when you’re able to see specifically where your food comes from. Just last week, I found a woman in Claremont who sells unfiltered honey she gathers from her hives in a nearby city. I know that eating local honey can reduce seasonal alergies, since it builds up your body’s defenses against allergens in your specific locality…. so finding her was such a treat!
      Thanks for your comment, James!

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  2. Gorgeous photos, Joani! When I travel, I always scout out local food markets – everything from roadside produce stands to fish markets with fishmongers shouting and tossing the catch of the day (think Pike’s Place Market in Seattle) to Varvarkios Agora (Central Market) in Athens with its meat, fish, veggies, and fruits which assault your senses in a cacophony of sights and sounds. I love discovering a fruit or veggie I’ve never tasted before. Heaven. (After reading your blog it’s clear I need to plan another vacation…)

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    1. Susan – Thanks again for the Mission Inn recommendation! I do love all of the different places to buy locally. And the one time I did visit Seattle, Pike’s Fish-Toss was one of my most memorable stops along the way 🙂
      I do believe you are in need of another holiday…perhaps there may be a guest blog in the future? 😉

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  3. I absolutely LOVE the West Side Market in Cleveland. I swear you can get anything there. Never got any bad produce. Never a bad experience. If you ever go to Cleveland that’s a place you must visit.

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