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Old Town Farmer's Market (Scottsdale)

Finally hit the Old Town Farmer's Market today. Super, super stoked!

We have been going to the Phoenix Downtown Market on Saturdays for a year + now & love it. It's just a bit of a hike for us. We also participated in Maya's Farm's CSA the last go around & have been missing our market visits.

Well I'd stopped by The Old Town Farmer's Market just after it finished a couple weeks ago & saw that McClendon Farms was there. Was psyched about this as we've always wanted to get down to Town & Country on Wednesdays but had never been able to - little kids & all. Well that day they'd packed up already so I didn't see what they had but I could tell they had a pretty large spread.

Today went back to OTFM & brought the family.

Man were we pleasantly surprised.

First of all, McClendon Farms spread was quite large (they said about the same size as they do at T&C) & the produce looked absolutely gorgeous. We are regulars here from now on.

Now the market is still small & there aren't a ton of vendors there but what was there was awesome (for us anyway).

So bonus on the produce. My other favorite thing about Farmer's Markets is getting good food to eat there. OFTM had a TON of that.

Here are some of the highlights for me:

-Chrysa Kaufman & Rancho Pinot are there showcasing McClendon produce - Kale today. They have samples of the daily product & also use it sandwiches, etc.

-Payton Curry & Pavle Milic of Digestif were there & had some dishes. We tried the chili & it was absolutely rocking. Also had a good looking frittata. Payton said that they do a Farmer's Market menu on Saturday evenings as well. They come up with a special menu every Saturday to highlight ingredients they get from the market. Sounds cool!

-Tracey Dempsey (desert queen of assorted Kasperski spots) was there had some beautiful gingerbread houses, her wonderful brittle & a yummy spicy hot cider. Alas no persimmon & goat cheese desert (which is still probably the favorite desert of my life).

So for me, it's already a win. I absolutely love that the chefs of some of the great local independent spots were there chatting & interacting with the community. Think it's a great move (for me anyway) as it makes me want to doubly patronize their restaurants.

-The tamale folks from Downtown Market are there but they were already sold out of a lot by the time we got there. We love their tamales (especially their chicken/mole - probably a bad idea to mention this now that I think about it) so we're psyched they're there.

-There was a hot dog stand using Vienna Beef & doing Chicago style dogs with sport peppers, celery salt & all. As of last week (our first Chicago food visit), we're huge fans so we're itching to try.

-There was also an interesting looking huge BBQ smoker - will definitely be back to try that. Heard it was great from some folks we talked to.

-Maya's Farm was there. Produce looked great.

-There was an interesting vegan desert stall which was quite yummy that we'll be checking out more closely as well (dairy/egg allergic kids).

-Several artisan bread stalls...

And throughout the day, there was a great guitar/mandolin player (Walt Pitts) giving a great vibe to it all.

Was bummed we didn't see Tortillas Rosario there as I did the first time I swung by.

I believe Seacat Gardens will also be having a presence as well.

Still did not see any eggs there. That is one thing that definitely seems to be missing.

Could also use DePoca Foods & their Mexican shrimp cocktails to expand there as well. : )

NOTE: Many of the vendors said they would not be there next week so I'd skip or go with that in mind & alter your expectations.

Regardless, we will definitely be heading back and are so psyched to have something so great so close.

Farmer's markets just give me a good vibe. Though Scottsdale is small, it definitely still did the trick!

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  1. BTW, it's on Saturdays from 8:30 am to 1 pm off of Brown and 1st street in a fenced off section of the city parking lot.

    Not too hard to find parking right nearby.

    They do the write your order down on a card & go pay at a central location type thing like Downtown Phoenix Market as well but there were a couple vendors who were only taking cash.

    If you need it, there is an ATM just north of 1st street on Brown (west side of the street) - I needed it.

    1. OFTM is getting more & more crowded as the weeks go by. Good thing I guess but alas we missed out on the Phoencian chocolate cherry sourdough. GOT to get there earlier as that's a must for us.

      This past week, we had a wonderful pork sandwich with slaw & watermelon radishes from Rancho Pinot. Awesome.

      The thing that was most remarkable though was that Payton Curry was pulling fresh mozzarella. They were serving it with what we later found out was called bagna cauda. Guess it is a staple dip in Italy. Payton said it was super common, almost like our ranch. Olive oil, anchovies, garlic, shallots & red wine. Anyway, it was awesome on the mozz & i feel gypped to have ranch everywhere. : ) The Mrs. had to go home & attempt - and actually did a killer job.

      We also had a great frittata from Digestif w/pancetta, Roaring 40s blue cheese a couple other things. Also great.

      7 Replies
      1. re: ccl1111

        thank you for the updates - i'm headed there on saturday...but shhhhhhhhhhh don't tell the downtown market i'm cheating on them ;) lol

        1. re: winedubar

          ok i went on saturday.... loved bob's produce. he has romanesco, which are only around for a short while. love this freaked out fractal vegetable.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanesc...

          so i stocked up from bob...

          had a cup of spiced hot chocolate with handmade kahlua marshmallows from tracy dempsey...had hand pulled mozz with a side of mushrooms from digestif. omg there is nothing, NOTHING, like fresh mozz. yummmm

          got some more veg from maya's farm, shes at the scottsdale market too now.

          had a stellar roast pork and lime coleslaw on fresh foccacia sandwich from rancho pinot. OMG - it was so good i had a little taste in my car on the way home and almost got into an accident getting more...it was stellar. the bread was crispy, almost fried, with a dusting of salt that was the perfect union of salt and fat. like a fresh french fry. yum..

          and then - thanks to ccl1111 - i tried the chocolate cherry sourdough bread from the phoenician's bread guy. i had a meeting at my house on sunday and that bread was snarfed up in a hot minute. FANTASTIC. addictive. must. have. more

          so its smaller than the phoenix market, but its off to a GREAT start. i'll stay at the downtown market because its closer to me, but i would happily drive across town for any of the prepared foods for breakfast. YUM..

          did i mention that digestif had a pork belly and porcini mushroom frittata? YUMMM

          1. re: winedubar

            I picked up some romanesco broc too from Bob at Town & Country on Wednesday, it totally impressed my dinner guests. Many pictures were taken.

            1. re: winedubar

              Winedubar, glad I didn't steer you too wrong.

              I haven't been back to report but we got the hand pulled mozz from Payton Curry. Amazing. And the total bonus was the introduction to bagna cauda (the sauce they drizzled on the mozz). Payton told the mrs. how to make it & now am eating more raw vegetables than even in my life. He said that bagna cauda was to Italy as ranch was to the US. Feel totally robbed if that's the case. I love Digestif more as every day goes by.

              We did the pork roast & lime coleslaw sandwich from Rancho Pinto too and it was soooo yummy. She rocks it every single week. Have had other killer sandwiches and ridiculous bean soup from her.

              I'm glad you hit the chocolate cherry sourdough too! Don't know if it's better with coffee or red wine!

              Haven't hit the pork belly frittata yet but that sounds right up my alley!

              1. re: ccl1111

                W, picked up some romanesco from OTFM today. Will Google to see what to do with it but man it looks cool!

                1. re: ccl1111

                  We had dinner at Rancho Pinot on Thursday night and they offered romanesco as a side in place of brussels sprouts. They roasted it cut into small pieces/spears with very little (if any?) oil, and finished with crumbles of crispy bacon, hot toasted pecans and a tiny splash of lemon juice. It was very good, and made me wish I'd have grabbed a head at the OTFM last Sat or today.

                2. re: ccl1111

                  you tolly steered me in the right direction :D there were some good finds there!! true to form, scottsdale's prepared food is a bit more upscale that what we have at the downtown farmers market :D i mean, i love me some dutch pancakes and grady's bbq, i'd just love to have rancho pinot and digestif too :D

          2. We were at Vincent's Market this weekend - it's more of an event, than farmer's market. I go to T&C fairly frequently on Wednesdays, for the more serious shopping. Sounds like this market is the best of both worlds. Can't wait to check it out!

            1. The McClendon Farms spread is nice.

              I'd love to see more restuarants with regular spots - nice to try dishes one might not normally think to order in a more formal outing.

              Also, I bought much of the goods needed for a Mexican meal but nobody was selling tortillas. Same with the other markets. Lots of bread options but some fresh tortillas would be something nice and Southwestern! A Carolina's booth? :)

              7 Replies
              1. re: tastyjon

                Almost every Saturday, a vendor is selling flour tortillas (white and whole wheat) at the downtown Phx market.

                1. re: hohokam

                  I recall seeing them but it seemed they were selling store-ready, consumer packaged stock... like they had gone to a supermarket and bought a bunch of packs, then were reselling them (but I could be wrong - that's just what it looked like). Will have to take a closer look next time, and see if they are fresh off some nearby grill. Or maybe someone knows more about this particular vendor?

                  1. re: tastyjon

                    True, nobody is there is doing anything like pulling and pressing rounds of dough and cooking them on the spot. The guy who sells them works with a local tortilleria to have them made, but ultimately the tortillas ("Tortillas Rosario") are his recipe and his product.

                    1. re: hohokam

                      i've never seen anyone make fresh tortilla's at a farmers market anywhere, not even in cali!!!

                      but i will say the tortillas rosario guy's family recipe is the bomb. i get a package of the whole wheat ones every week..

                      1. re: winedubar

                        We're big fans of Tortillas Rosario & always got whole wheat & the big white ones. He actually did a few weeks at OTFM but it was before it really started to take off & I think he was disenchanted with it. Would love to see him give it another try as we love his tortillas!

                        1. re: ccl1111

                          I stopped by today and he has a list of local stores that stock their fare... should have grabbed a copy. But from what I recall... Sunflower, Ranch 99, Baiz, and others. Didn't memorize as there's a Sunflower near me so that's all I needed to know.

                          We actually hit both downtown the PHX and Scottsdale markets today... it's a quick hop on the 202. I like Vincent's as well, so Saturday's are getting hectic! Will also be checking out the new Organic Sunday market in Old Town tommorow.

                          1. re: tastyjon

                            We grab his tortillas from Sunflower as well but nothing like straight from the man. : )

                            We're big fans of Vincent's market too.

                            Hit Green Market today & it's still too early/small to tell (for us).

              2. Just seeing this...thanks for letting us know. We attend Vincent's Market almost every Saturday with the kids (the best panini ever) and the T&C market on Wednesdays. We'll definitely be trying Scottsdale this Saturday. Fresh tortillas would be great. I had lunch at Carolina's yesterday and brought home a dozen tortillas. It's amazing how good they are.

                Thanks again.

                Barry

                2 Replies
                1. re: barry

                  barry - not sure if you've ever stopped but they sell good flour tortillas at La Purisima on the NWC of 24th St / Indian School. It's pretty close to T&C if you're ever thinking about it on Wednesdays.

                  -----
                  La Purisima Bakery
                  2318 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ

                  1. re: azhotdish

                    I've never tried Purisima. Thanks for the tip.

                    Barry

                2. Will be at the Old Town Market tomorrow, looking forward to it.

                  Might head to Vincint's or D/T Phoenix also.

                  Cheers!!!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: duck833

                    $12 is steep for a jar of african burr gherkins from McClendon but damn they're good.

                    1. re: azhotdish

                      holy crap - i think they're only 10 bucks at the downtown phx market - i know bob grows them just for the woman from cotton country jams. her canned goods are AMAZING..i have a blueberry sambuca jam she made that is so fantastic. its best over cheesecake.

                      back to the african burr gherkins - save the liquid. makes great marinades and vinagrettes!

                  2. Tried the Old Town Farmer's Market this weekend and thought it was great. The McClendon Farms produce was excellent and some great samples to be had by the rest of the vendors. They were mentioning the Sunday market that they just started in Scottsdale. Has anyone been to that one and if so, how does it compare?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: sunshineinaz

                      While I haven't yet been to the new Sunday Farmer's Market, I heard about it earlier this week from a business I frequent whose company participates. They're calling it "Go Green" and the focus is on all things 'green' and relating to healthy lifestyle. Here's what I found online:

                      Scottsdale Downtown Presents...
                      Craftsman Court's Go Green Street Market
                      Sundays, Starting January 18, 2009
                      10 AM to 2 PM
                      Location: On Craftman Court
                      (Beginning at 5th Ave.)
                      This is a true Street Market where the emphasis is on green and healthy life styles. The Scottsdale Downtown Farmers’ Market makes a second day of it with more local growers, artisan food producers and local crafts. Also healthy lifestyle gurus, local green businesses, and demonstrations of stress reduction techniques such as yoga and dancing will be sure to give everyone the Sunday boost to take into the next week. Co-sponsored with the Kiva Center Wellness Weekend Get-Out. Family friendly, and well-mannered pets welcome! Bring your own bags and get a dollar ($1.00) coupon at the information table to spend with any of your favorite vendors.

                    2. Strange that everytime I've gone to this farmer's market (within the past 6 or 7 years) it never took off -- I think it even got cancelled at one point. Glad it's being reborn... Has anyone been to the Fountain Hills "nocturnal" farmer's market?

                      1. CHOCOLATE CHERRY SOURDOUGH BREAD!! from the Phoenician Bakery. Sorry to shout but it was THAT good. Thank you for the rec, my new years diet is officially busted, but it's so worth it. I bought two and put one in the freezer, then removed 2nd one from freezer 8 hours later, and ate that whole loaf too.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: yamalam

                          I went without the mrs. yesterday & came home with 6 loaves of bread from the Phoenician folks. Yikes!

                          Ate about 1/2 a loaf of chocolate cherry sourdough last night for desert. Split time between the olive/walnut & baguette for dinner.

                          Carbs are good for you, right? : )

                          1. re: ccl1111

                            Yes, they are, and bread freezes well. No problem having six excellent loaves.

                            1. re: ccl1111

                              I felt bad buying 3 loaves from them this weekend. Thanks for making me feel better. :) By the way, the chocolate and cherry bread is very good. We also liked the rosemary and the sourdough. I feel bad for the AZ Bread Company folks who sit nearby. Their products are all in plastic bags and just don't look as fresh as the Phoenician bakers who have tastes right on the table and the bread comes in white paper bags.

                              Thanks to those who mentioned this market. This past Saturday we watched Patrick Curry from Digestif make mozzarella before our eyes, and then give each of my kids a little pull with some smoked sea salt and olive oil (man that was good). They sell a full size ball ($8) with roasted veggies and other toppings to take home and make your own bruschetta. And the McClendan Farms produce is awesome and saving me a trip to Town & Country on Wednesdays.

                              Barry

                          2. As OTFM is one of the highlights of our week, just wanted to share some updates.

                            As mentioned still coming in the original review, Sweet Republic and Seacat Gardens are now at OTFM.

                            Sweet Republic has been there for a few weeks and comes with their super cool orange & white bus (NW corner). They've got a selection of 7 or 8 ice creams & sorbets, their homemade granola, cookies, coffee, tea and other drinks. So psyched they're there!

                            As of this week, Seacat Gardens is now back to stay at OTFM. James Porter of Tapino will be hanging out with Carl (Seacat) and using his ingredients in a dish or two. The word is that Seacat's awesome heirloom tomatoes will be there in 2 or 3 weeks (5 or 6 varieties). He's growing 14 varieties of heirloom tomatoes. And I'm sure we'll see other interesting, gorgeous produce to come. Glad to see the "Gucci Gardner" at OTFM as some call him.

                            There are also a few egg vendors now. You still have to get there reasonably early but the Butter lady has a selection of eggs of different sizes. Super tasty. The goat lady usually has eggs early too.

                            As far as new finds, in addition to the killer lemonade by Rancho Pinot, they had an amazing pink grapefruit mint cooler. I don't even like grapefruit and I was jumping the wall to get some of our neighbors' grapefruits today to try to mimic (with permission of course).

                            Also like the tasty chorizo burrito by Gil's of Taos. Tried a couple other of the burritos & the chorizo is definitely our favorite.

                            As far as the other faves, of course we frequent McClendon Farms (amazing produce), Phoenician Bread (about 4 weekly must have varieties), Digestif (for Payton Curry's hand pulled mozzarella & awesome frittatas) and Rancho Pinot (juices & killer sandwiches/soups) without fail.

                            Will be so sad if the market does close for the summer. At present, we've heard they may try to keep the market open year around & employ some shading although it will be sad to see McClendon absent for the few months he stops selling.

                            17 Replies
                            1. re: ccl1111

                              We...uh...cheated on the downtown market this Saturday to check out the OTFM. Some notes:

                              Had a great time pawing through McClendon's produce. I was stunned to see that all of his citrus was a flat $1 per pound, including his Meyer lemons. We loaded up on lemons and oranges and spring veggies (Brussels sprouts, favas, green garlic, golden beets).

                              Was glad to discover Gil's (opted for the bacon burrito with a cup of their chilerific red sauce)--nice to know that we have low key, low crowd, local spot to get our chile fix.

                              Finally got to try some of Sweet Republic's ice cream (salted butter caramel. oh my). Now actively trying to rationalize the drive from central Phx rather than just pretending that Sweet Republic doesn't exist. Hmm...there must be some non-ice cream-related reasons for me to spend time on Shea...

                              Was fortunate to be able to sample the magic James Porter worked with Seacat's celery and beets--two vegetables that I normally can't abide somehow rendered delectable. Again, there must be something important I need to do in that part of town...hmm...

                              Look out MJ. The Phoenician's breads are going to give you a run for my money.

                              Glad to see Maya's, a long-time downtown favorite, there. Hope they can sustain the both locations on Saturdays.

                              Appreciated the fact that the rancher referred to his cattle as being browse-fed rather than grass-fed--eastern Arizona ain't Marin County, after all.

                              I might just start two-timing the Downtown Phx market.

                              -----
                              Tapino Kitchen & Wine Bar
                              7000 E Shea Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85254

                              The Phoenician
                              6000 E Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ

                              Sweet Republic Ice Cream
                              9160 E Shea Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85260

                              Gil's taste of Taos
                              1601 E Bell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85022

                              1. re: hohokam

                                Due to SR's location, I don't get there nearly as much as I'd like to, but I have found it a useful place to go after hiking in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve or McDowell Mountain Regional Park. Trailheads for both are reached from Shea. I figure I've burned enough calories on the trail to justify putting some back on. In between the hike and ice cream, I usually stop for lunch at Osha Thai, Pita House, or Redendo's pizza.

                                As for OTFM, I haven't tried it yet. Despite my criticisms of DPPM, it was around first and I can reach it via train, so I'll stick with it for now. Your concern about whether Maya can sustain a presence at two markets is one I share. My position, which is routinely scoffed at here, is that we have too many markets chasing too few quality vendors.

                                1. re: silverbear

                                  Excellent. Please keep the rationalizations coming. I need all I can get. ;-)

                                  1. re: silverbear

                                    have you ever talked to any of the farmers in town? their experiences widely differ from your perceptions. maya, for example, needs more land because she's about maxed out what she can grow at the farm. and carl, from seacat gardens, has a much bigger plot now that he's leasing farm land that was previously un-used.

                                    having MORE places to sell produce has encouraged MORE people to farm or at least keep land using for farming as farmable. there are MORE farm vendors at the dppm today than there were 3,2, or even 1 year ago. and thats a good thing.

                                    and its capitalism 101 - where there are buyers, sellers emerge. or in the case of local farmers, keep farm land as farm land.

                                    like we need one more subdivision in queen creek. or in this economy - like we need one more bankrupt subdivision that used farm land to build mcmansions except the developer went bankrupt, no one moved in, and now instead of a farm its concrete slabs, unfinished homes, and a haven for crime.

                                    1. re: winedubar

                                      Like I said: "routinely scoffed at"

                                      All I know is that all of the farmer's markets have more vendors of more knick-knacks than they should, and that I have to spend more time driving between several markets if I really want to do business with all the worthwhile vendors. It wouldn't be that way if we had one excellent consolidated market instead of myriad average ones, many of them occuring simultaneously.

                                      1. re: silverbear

                                        note i didn't say knick-knack vendors, i was specifically speaking of produce vendors. which have increased, and continue to increase, at the downtown farmers market. there continue to be new vendors selling produce and meat. note the 3 beef vendors as well as the meat shop, the most excellent pork vendor downtown, none of which were selling 18 months ago. the pork folks have been there around 6 months.

                                        and, based on market viability and successful proof of concept, at least 2 vendors are in the works to add fresh chickens to the mix. this happens because of the success of the markets, each on their own merits, each serving their communities.

                                        markets should be diffuse, they better serve the communities that live in them, and differ by demographics, and provide additional outlets for farmers. these are good things.

                                        and fwiw, farmer's markets around the world sell everything from fabric to knick knacks. every country ive ever visited, every city with a farmers market, is selling non-food stuffs.

                                        1. re: winedubar

                                          It is true. Two weeks ago I spent the weekend in LA with friends. Went to the older market. The Original Farmers Market on 3rd and Fairfax is part indoor and part outdoor and surrounded by an Abercrombie/L'Occitane-style mall. Produce vendors outside, meat vendors inside, along with hot food spots and then several shops and stands for everything from earrings to tea. The Hollywood Farmers' Market on Ivar & Selma is a true wonder. An open air market with more than 90 farmers and 30+ food vendors..but there were also plenty of non-food items for sale, including beauty products and jewelry. In all of my travels, it's rare to find a farmer's market that sells food only.

                                          1. re: Annika

                                            I've never suggested that any farmer's market anywhere in the universe sells 100% food. Nevertheless, I stand by my opinion that the ratio of food to non-food at most farmer's markets in the Phoenix Metro Area is unappealing to me. There's no "true" or "false" here - - just my own opinion as a consumer.

                                            1. re: Annika

                                              I don't really have a dog in this fight, but I will note that the Berkeley farmer's markets are pretty much food only. The Ecology Center, which more or less runs the FM show there, has a table where it sells t-shirts and water bottles and what-not, but other than that, the only non-food activities are knife sharpening (1 guy), busking (1 or 2 "acts"), collecting petition signatures (1 table), and selling Street Spirit (2 or 3 people on the edges of the market).

                                              Although I couldn't swear that the Ferry Building farmer's market in SF is craft-free, I'm having a hard time thinking of a time when I've seen non-food vendors mixed in with the food vendors. The artists and crafters seem to be confined the stretch of Market St between Steuart and The Embarcadero.

                                              The Oakland farmer's markets I've been to, however, did/do have a heavier crafter/non-food vendor presence, but not as heavy as I've seen at the Phoenix area markets.

                                              Just thought I'd throw in those data points.

                                              1. re: hohokam

                                                Thanks. I've never been to those markets. My frame of reference is more the Reading Terminal Market and the Ninth Street Italian Market -- both in Philadelphia. I can't say with certainty that either is 100% food, but the ratio seems better than here.

                                                Like I said, I don't see much here in the way of some universal truth about farmer's markets -- just contrasting opinions, experiences, and preferences. Those can and should be discussed in a respectful climate.

                                                1. re: hohokam

                                                  No California however enjoys proximity to a great deal of farmers. Unfortunately this is not the case in the PHX area....the markets have to do what they can to attract customers and keep the market viable for the vendors and customers. You have to respect what the downtown market HAS done in their 5 years given the lack of nearby farmers. That first year there was just a couple farmers participating and now there are several new ones, some that are new to farming in recent years. All the farmers have expanded their production in that time. Demand definitely outstrips supply at the moment for the markets, CSAs, etc. IT's nice to see some of the vendors from further away beginning to participate and believe that PHX is viable for them(I remember talking to vendors at markets in Tucson and other points south and being told coming to PHX wasn't worth it for them a few years ago).

                                                  The growth the market has seen in produce is pretty impressive when you consider the reality of urban farming in the Maricopa County area(development and water policy here just doesn't favor an expansion of urban farming). Imagine the possibilities 5 years from now given what's been accomplished in the first five.

                                                  Yes, the arts and crafts vendors may not be what some want to see...but they do add some variety to the market that might appeal to some customers. Additionally, looking at the vendor side for many this is a new business venture for them. Many of the vendors are low to moderate income families and participating at the market gives them the opportunity to participate in a direct market they might not otherwise be able to access. IF someone is doing their weekly produce shopping and picks up an apron as a gift for someone, where's the harm really?

                                                  (full disclosure: this topic is near and dear to my heart as I'm doing graduate research in community food systems and currently working on a project involving the Downtown market).

                                                  1. re: ziggylu

                                                    I'm not judging. Just reporting differences I've observed.

                                                    When I'm at a farmer's market, I generally ignore non-food vendors of all stripes. So, on one hand, I wouldn't mind if the non-food vendors went away or were segregated from the food vendors, but on the other hand, I'm not really bothered by the current arrangement at the Downtown market, where non-food vendors share space with food vendors. If I thought that non-food vendors were squeezing out worthy food vendors, I would feel differently.

                                                    I've been going to the downtown market for only a couple of years, and I've been pleased by the increase I've seen in the number of produce vendors over that short time and look forward to seeing more in the future.

                                                    1. re: hohokam

                                                      I'm not judging either. I tend to ignore the craft vendors myself but they don't offend me. I do enjoy some of the prepared food vendors(love the tamales, miss the watermelon juice ladies and hope they do well in their new store front)

                                                      I remember driving all the way from Chandler the first year the market was going...it would take 30 min to get there and 10 minutes to shop and 30 min to get home. I struggled with the traveling so far to support the local producers. Light rail makes it easier now. Now the Chandler market is developing(small, being organized by the one of the One Windmill family)...I struggle with supporting my hometown market vs the overall mission of the downtown market which I do believe in a great deal. Fortunately it doesn't ahve to be an either/or and over time the more successful markets in the state the better off consumers and producers will be. The next big challenge the markets likely will face is how they define "local" producers - it's feasible that California and Mexico could be considered part of the local food system but will consumers see it that way?

                                                    2. re: ziggylu

                                                      Thanks, ziggylu. That's the type of polite and coherent commentary that I can respect.

                                                      I agree that DPPM has come a long way, which is why I still go there every few weeks despite some frustrations with it. My fear, the one routinely scoffed at, is that we're getting so enthusiastic about farmer's markets that every suburb and every neighborhood wants to have one. It's not just about any competition, real or imagined, between DPPM and OTFM. Consider that there are also markets in Chandler, Ahwatukee, north Phoenix, and who knows where else all occuring on Saturday mornings. To use a favorite word associated with farmer's markets, I'm not sure if that is sustainable.

                                                      I also agree about some non-food offerings being harmless. In fact, I recently bought my wife a piece of jewelry to go with her Wei of Chocolate gift. That worked out well and scored me some points. It's more the ratio of food to non-food that concerns me, and when so many simultaneous markets are competing for the highly coveted food vendors, it's hard to keep that ratio leaning toward the food.

                                              2. re: silverbear

                                                i would readily be open to a sunday farmer's market - the concurrent run of OTFM and DPPM on saturday morning's makes this is a very rare option for me, unless i start outsourcing my produce shopping.

                                          2. re: hohokam

                                            I've seen Gil's when I go to Krua Thai and the used bookstore in the same mall. It's actually only a few blocks from our new place. I've never been there, though. Guess I'll have to give it a try.

                                            Sweet Republic is amazing. We don't live even close, but since it's mostly highway driving, SR itself is a good enough excuse to go to them. :)

                                            1. re: Firenza00

                                              sweet republic is at first fridays now. which is a good thing, because driving to shea is HARD :D

                                        2. Any berries yet at OTFM or DPPM? The berry season here seems super short, I've lived here 5 years and still haven't ever got local berries.

                                          And while we're on the topic, anyone know of a pick your own strawberry farm in the greater metro area? Schnepf doesn't do it, and they told me the spring is so short here that no one does pick your own strawberries, but maybe you guys have heard otherwise?

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: yamalam

                                            McClendon's was selling strawberries at the OTFM this past Saturday. I didn't happen to notice any other berries at their booth or elsewhere in the market, but I didn't look very hard.

                                            1. re: hohokam

                                              Thanks H! I find it hard to shift my seasonal taste buds, my tired brain does not compute strawberries in March!! Maybe I'll set a calendar alert on my phone so I don't miss peaches....

                                              1. re: yamalam

                                                You may want to reconsider - picked up some strawberries at the OTFM this past weekend and they are delish!!

                                                1. re: sunshineinaz

                                                  For the record, I'm pretty sure the ones McClendon's was selling were from California, not local. If that makes a difference to you.

                                                  Still, they were beautiful to look at and pretty-decent-but-not-absolutely great flavor-wise. Better than ones I've gotten from stores but I've still yet to meet a bought berry that can match the ones my mom grew back in TX. Maybe it's the difference between something that has to be shipped and something that you pick yourself, sun-warmed & ripe from the plant? Sigh.

                                                  1. re: Bax

                                                    I wouldn't be surprised if they were from CA. Seems like I started seeing CA strawberries sometime around the beginning of the month at markets in NorCal.

                                                    We passed on McClendon's berries because my partner said they had no smell, and her sniffer never lies. :-)

                                          2. Today the market took another step. Went from the existing box formation to 3 rows. Looked a little cramped but it appears they'll be able to support a lot more vendors.

                                            Heard amazing news as well. Heard that in the summer, OTFM is going to move from it's current spot to directly below in the underground parking garage. Love this idea. One of the bummers of being a farmer's market lover in the Phoenix metro area is that it gets brutal in the summer months. Downtown Market at least has the fans, evap coolers & shading. Helps a bit but going underground in the summer months should make OTFM quite comfortable. Heard talk of fans, misters, etc. also being brought into the equation.

                                            Totally psyched about it.

                                            Do have a couple other recent finds to share as well. The lemon custard/Bubble Up float from Sweet Republic is amazing. Perfect as the days are getting hot. Today we got lucky & someone didn't pick up their special order from Phoenician Bread. We scored some cottage cheese/dill bread rolls which had been brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with sea salt. Chef Ben is awesome. Also officially addicted to Digestif's frittatas. They've become a weekly staple. Today's pancetta/gorgonzola was super yum. The garnishes also stand way out.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: ccl1111

                                              That is a big step. I though OTFM was going to close for the summer, but it looks like it found a creative way to keep going year-round.

                                              1. re: ccl1111

                                                Is Chef Ben the bread maker that is there at the market?