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San Diego Farmers' Markets

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Is there a general consensus about which Farmers' Market in San Diego is considered "the best?"

I'd prefer to find one on Saturday or Sunday mornings. South of the 52 and North of the 94 (East-West travel doesn't really matter) probably works best for me.

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  1. I'm not sure about a general consensus, but from what I can tell, the one in Hillcrest is pretty popular and has a nice variety of produce. Sunday mornings 9am-1pm in the Hillcrest DMV parking lot on Normal Ave. (St.?) Parking is hell, so I like to park on Park Ave. (pun intended, I guess) and walk over.

    Edited... because "intended" has a "t" in it. :P

    1 Reply
    1. re: geekyfoodie

      I second geekyfoodies rec - given your parameters, Hillcrest is probably the best bet. If you want to see a list:

      http://www.sdfarmbureau.org/Pages/far...

    2. Definitely Hillcrest or La Jolla - both are on Sunday mornings. Of the two, I think Hillcrest edges La Jolla for the best assortment in terms of food. LJ has more non-food items, like teak furniture, housewares, etc.

      1. The original poster probably already knows this, but in case anybody wants a complete list of farmers' markets in the county, you can find one at http://www.sdfarmbureau.org/Pages/far...

        1. Hillcrest is definitely one of the best markets in the county for variety of goods - everything from bread and cheese to seafood and produce. Thankfully, the non-food items are tucked out of the way which leaves the prime "real estate" to the produce sellers (as it should be!).

          1. No doubt that Hillcrest is the "Primo" farmer's market in terms of variety, size, etc.
            But, because of that...parking sucks. Actually, parking sucks at the La Jolla location, too but I like going there and having entertainment (music) and Belinda's yummy chili rellenos or the smoked tri tip sandwiches....oh, and the veggies are nice too! LOL!

            P.S. Re: Hillcrest: (Be sure to get Jackie's Jams while you are there and Maria's carne asada tacos! The artichokes and asparagus guy sells some good varieties, too!)

            1. Hillcrest and LJ are both great. I like LJ a little better. But as a small alternative, I like the PB farmers market on Saturdays from 8-12 in the parking lot on Mission Blvd by Hooters. Parking is underground but only $1 if you don't feel like walking. It's the bare basics: fruits, vegetables and flowers but it has a nice, casual feel to it and you are pretty much right on the beach.

              1. I have found that very few of the vendors at the Farmer's Markets offer organic produce, I was fairly surprised. It is nice to support local growers, avoid the CO2 hit from transportation, and get fresh stuff, but it would be great to be able to choose from some organically grown produce.

                5 Replies
                1. re: MrKrispy

                  It is not easy or cheap to be certified as organic, especially in San Diego County. California's Laws regarding the definition of organic -and allowing certification- is very strict.

                  Most of the produce at these Farmers Markets are locally grown and so that is what I look for-the location of the farm.

                  To get certified organic, Henry's and Vons have it close by but most likely it was shipped to the county.

                  There is no happy medium.

                  1. re: MrKrispy

                    That is always the problem: Certified organic is expansive for the producer but gives the customer some security that he/she is indeed buying organic food. On the other side it is always good to buy from local vendors (carbon foodprint, economic reasons etc) but they are often not certified organic, so you have either trust them on how they grow their stuff or know them good enough. Overall local and certified organic is the best case. If this is not available I prefer certified organic non-local (as long as it is not from the other side of the world) over local non-organic food.

                    1. re: honkman

                      The Encinitas farmer's market on Sundays has multiple certified organic vendors.

                      I love them.

                    2. re: MrKrispy

                      I don't know about very few - I'd say it's about 1/3 organic at the Hillcrest Market. La Milpa, JR Organics, Sage Mountain Farm all are. There's also a smaller stand at the very end and a large one in the middle that are organic - the large one has a huge selection. I have absolutely no trouble finding just about all the vegetables I need. Fruit is a little more difficult in the winter, but in the summer it's pretty easy to find organic strawberries and some stonefruits. Citrus is available year round. Apples and bananas generally come from outside the area, I buy organic, but not necessarily local.

                      1. re: MrKrispy

                        One way to resolve that would be to join a CSA. It's off-topic, so here's a thread that Leanneabe started about San Diego CSAs:

                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/425360

                        I joined the Tierra Miguel CSA and while it's a tad expensive for me, it's fresh, organic, and local. I've really enjoyed it.