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North Co Farmer's Markets

Island Jun 18, 2011 10:51 AM

Poway to Del Mar north to Oceanside and San Marcos which area has the biggest Farmer's Market with most variety? Anything come close to Hillcrest or Little Italy? Thanks.

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  1. e
    eatemup Jun 18, 2011 11:37 AM

    Vista is outstanding. Saturday mornings.

    15 Replies
    1. re: eatemup
      inaplasticcup Jun 18, 2011 01:51 PM

      Glad to hear as I'll be living there by month's end! :)

      1. re: inaplasticcup
        goodhealthgourmet Jun 18, 2011 01:58 PM

        you also won't be too far from the Chino Farms stand in Rancho Santa Fe...pricier than your average farmer's market, but worth it!

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
          inaplasticcup Jun 18, 2011 02:06 PM

          Thanks, ghg! I'm excited to explore N. SD's food offerings and also scope out some venues to teach classes. Should be fun to set down roots in another part of So Cal and see where it takes me. :)

          1. re: inaplasticcup
            goodhealthgourmet Jun 18, 2011 04:54 PM

            San Diego is wonderful, i'm sure you'll be happy living there. i don't know anything about the Vista FM, but you should make the trip down to the markets in Hillcrest & Little Italy at some point...i personally thought it was worth the occasional schlep when i lived in North County :)

      2. re: eatemup
        Island Jun 20, 2011 11:19 AM

        Great, will check out Vista next Sat. Thanks.

        1. re: eatemup
          Island Jun 26, 2011 02:58 PM

          Eatemup, you were right about Vista. Picked up a lot of nice produce yesterday. Happy to see the jam and pesto stands we like were also there. One stand with a large variety of herb and vegetable plants. Wish my yard was in shape for some of those.

          1. re: Island
            eatemup Jun 27, 2011 07:44 AM

            Glad you went and enjoyed.

          2. re: eatemup
            Melanie Wong Aug 1, 2011 10:06 PM

            Happy to see that Vista Farmers Market is worth a visit, I'm planning to be there this weekend. I found these breakfast photos on the market's facebook page,
            Any favorites among the prepared food vendors?

            Vista Farmers Market
            325 S Melrose Dr, Vista, CA 92081

            1. re: Melanie Wong
              littlestevie Aug 2, 2011 09:47 AM

              Have you tried the sausages from the butcher shop out in San Marcos? I don't usually go that far out into SM and its nice that he sells his stuff at Vista FM. They was also a couple from New Mexico selling some salsa. (not the bitchin' sause people) and I really liked their green salsa. As far as the hot food, I have usually eaten by the time we get there. Another nice thing, for me anyway was no dogs. They let dogs on leash at Poway but the problem is the little guys get under my feet and I was afraid I was either going to trip on them or worse step on one of them and injure it.

              1. re: littlestevie
                Melanie Wong Aug 3, 2011 09:13 PM

                Do you mean T and H Prime Meats? No, I haven't, but I've heard a lot about this place. I'm judging the BBQ contest in Vista on Saturday and I understand that the winningest teams in the area buy their meats there. My plan is to check out the farmers market before I have to report for judging at 10:00am. Usually I have something non-meat for an early breakfast on judging days. Any bakers of note?

                I'm surprised that Poway allows dogs. I thought it was a state ordinance that prohibits them in food areas.

                T and H Prime Meats
                735 E. Mission Rd, San Marcos, CA

                1. re: Melanie Wong
                  DiningDiva Aug 4, 2011 11:06 AM

                  Melanie, you are correct about the state ordinance. I believe it is part of CalCode but that it is not enforced. Little Italy is rampant with dogs every Saturday.

                  I've had chats with one of the supervisors in the San Diego department of health regarding some other CalCode issues and she readily admitted that places that operated outside of their regular business hours probably did get away with things. Dogs are probably one of the things.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                    littlestevie Aug 4, 2011 12:17 PM

                    Yes it is T&H Meats. I was in a brain freeze and I couldn't think of the name. And thanks for the heads up on the dogs (and DD as well) I thought that was the case but it wasn't enforced. Is the BBQ competition on Saturday in downtown Vista or out at the park?

                    1. re: littlestevie
                      Melanie Wong Aug 5, 2011 02:21 PM

                      I'm to report to E Broadway and S Citrus Ave, so that's downtown?

                    2. re: Melanie Wong
                      escondido123 Aug 5, 2011 04:40 PM

                      There are always dogs at the Market in Escondido but then the booths line the sidewalk and I don't know how you would stop people from walking on them. Also, Escondido is a dog-friendly city so you'll also see water bowls in front of some stores, a couple have dog biscuits available and VINZ wine bar has a menu for dogs and a Puppy Hour or something like that.

                  2. re: Melanie Wong
                    magvahe Aug 5, 2011 02:22 PM

                    I'm usually there early and love the crepes for breakfast

                2. c
                  Cathy Jun 18, 2011 11:38 AM


                  1. DiningDiva Jun 18, 2011 12:53 PM

                    Here a short video of the Leucadia farmers market which is on Sunday - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PB1OF...

                    I've not been, but Leucadia is a pretty sweet little town.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: DiningDiva
                      goodhealthgourmet Jun 18, 2011 01:57 PM

                      unfortunately, much like the ones in DM & SB, the Leucadia farmers' market is proportional to the town's diminutive size ;)

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                        DiningDiva Jun 18, 2011 02:08 PM

                        Size isn't everything. One of the smallest markets I've been to was actually quite interesting. Of course, it wasn't in the U.S. ;-)

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                          cgfan Jun 18, 2011 03:16 PM

                          I wouldn't say that Leucadia's FM is small; it's actually a pretty good size for a NC suburban FM, and I'd say one of the larger ones amongst the coastal NC ones that I've been to (Del Mar, Fairbank's Ranch, Solana Beach, & Leucadia). But I guess that's your point; they don't seem to get to any appreciable size up here when compared to Hillcrest or Little Italy...

                          However for me when I can't make it to the LI Mercato, it's almost always to the Solana Beach one - though smaller than Leucadia, it just seems to have the right mix for me, and has some of the "better" vendors...

                          BTW the Leucadia FM is about 40% produce, 40% prepared food vendors, and about 20% sundry items. The Solana Beach FM seems to be about 60% produce, 25% prepared foods, and about 15% sundry items, a mix I like better.

                          1. re: cgfan
                            goodhealthgourmet Jun 18, 2011 04:57 PM

                            But I guess that's your point; they don't seem to get to any appreciable size up here when compared to Hillcrest or Little Italy...
                            yes, that was precisely my point - i wasn't slamming the little guys :) sometimes the smaller markets are just what you need, and they're definitely easier to navigate...but you can't beat the selection & variety at Hillcrest & LI.

                            1. re: cgfan
                              Island Jun 20, 2011 11:14 AM

                              Thanks cgfan. That's the info I was hoping for. Been to Solana Beach, but not Leucadia so I think I'll check that out. Curious to see what prepared food they have since I don't see much of that outside LI and Hillcrest.

                              1. re: Island
                                littlestevie Jun 20, 2011 01:43 PM

                                I found the veggies to be about the same in both the SB and the Leucadia FMs. the parking is a tad easier at Leucadia. The Leucadia crowd is also much more laid back than the SB one. The customers at SB have always seemed on the hyper side to me, and I am not sure if it is the people who live in SB, or the shoppers that have just wandered down from the Cedros Designer District. Vista is my top choice for No. County FMs. Lots of parking, plenty of vendors. Poway also on Saturday morning is ok, but with the confined space that they are in, it does get kinda jammed.

                        2. e
                          escondido123 Jun 18, 2011 01:30 PM

                          I like Escondido's because it is on Grand, the main street downtown. You can sit and have a glass of wine, a beer or something to eat and watch the shoppers go by.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: escondido123
                            Island Jun 20, 2011 11:17 AM

                            Escondido123 That's Tues evening correct? Have you been to the one on Sun on Sunset Dr? I was wondering how they compare. Thanks.

                            1. re: Island
                              escondido123 Jun 25, 2011 01:09 PM

                              Didn't even know it had opened--it is officially the Rancho Bernardo market and I've been to that before and been disappointed. But I'll take a look tomorrow if I get the chance. The one on Grand Ave in Escondido is open 2:30-6 on Tuesdays and since it is only three blocks from my house I doubt I'll be hitting the other one too often.

                              1. re: escondido123
                                Island Jun 25, 2011 04:37 PM

                                Not sure where these streets are yet, but Cathy's link shows there are FM's Sun in Escondido on Sunset and Fri in RB on Paseo Del Verano Norte. Either way I hope to get there tomorrow too and will try the one on Grand a Tues after work. Thanks.

                                1. re: Island
                                  escondido123 Jun 25, 2011 09:20 PM

                                  The one on Sunday is right on the RB/Escondido line across from the mall. Might want to double check on the Friday RB---that's what I though the one on Sunset was replacing.

                                2. re: escondido123
                                  Island Jun 26, 2011 03:02 PM

                                  Stopped at the one on Sunset today and I concur, disappointing. Smallest and worst one I've been to in the county. I'll check out the real Escondido FM on Grand on Tues.

                                  1. re: Island
                                    escondido123 Aug 3, 2011 03:09 PM

                                    I do like the fresh pastured chicken eggs at the one on Sunday off the 15 by the golf course in RB/Escondido. They also have duck eggs.

                            2. p
                              placeholder Jun 26, 2011 05:30 PM

                              I actually prefer the Leucadia one to Little Italy. The produce itself is more diverse - from mushrooms to kale to citrus, stone fruit, veggies, legumes, you name it. Little Italy seems to run really heavy on citrus (reminiscent of Santa Monica), and with a far smaller percentage devoted to other fruit, and altogether very sparse on veggies. Not to mention that while everyone seems to think it is huge - its really just two city blocks, with the last third block devoted to crafts and other non-produce vendors.

                              They do have a killer olive oil vendor that I go to specifically to buy oil. Leucadia has a vendor that sells out of this world Toum (lebanese whipped garlic spread). They also have a great Moroccan vendor who sells great sausage and other items. The same oyster vendor who operates in Little Italy hits this market as well.

                              The Carlsbad market is so-so, a much smaller version of leucadia - a bit less variety.

                              Haven't been to Vista - but I hear its great. I'd also recommend Catalina offshore for incredibly fresh seafood, and tip top meat in carlsbad for butcher products and euro-deli stuff.

                              I moved here from NYC a month ago, and while the restaurant food is very disappointing, the produce more than makes up for it...:)

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: placeholder
                                DiningDiva Jun 26, 2011 06:08 PM

                                Wow, did we go to the same market :-). I never thought there was *that* much citrus at the LI farmers market.

                                Within the last month I've been able to source at LI - lettuces of all kinds, spinach, kale, swiss chard in multiple colors, daikon, multiple varieties of radishes, about 8 varieties of sprouts, cauliflower, asparagus, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes, squash blossoms,bok choy, fingerling potatoes (at one of the citrus stands, no less), carrots, herbs, beans, fresh and dried, cherries, blueberries, white and yellow peaches, nectarines, avocadoes (tho' rarely ripe and ready to use). If you go again, stop in at Susie's Farm which is about 2 or 3 vendors up from the rotisserie chicken truck on the Kettner end of the market. JR Produce at the corner of India and Date usually has an interesting variety. The most interesting vendor to me right now is the Asian produce vendor about mid-market. Very cool stuff, most of which I don't recognize :-).

                                My biggest problem with LI is that it's too crowded and the wait at some of the better prepared food vendors is too long. Wish I lived closer to Leucadia, that Moroccan sausage vendor and the Toum sound delicious. Catalina Offshore is wonderful aren't they.

                                1. re: DiningDiva
                                  placeholder Jun 26, 2011 06:28 PM

                                  In re-reading my post I think I was too harsh :) LI is a great market. I might have gone too late in the day for some of the items you mentioned as it was definitely heavier on the citrus and prepared foods when I was there. I think the point I was trying to make is that LI always gets credited as being THE farmer's market to go to, and I think Leucadia holds its own pretty well. I also happen to live in south Carlsbad so its 5 minutes from my house....:)

                                  1. re: placeholder
                                    cgfan Jun 26, 2011 07:37 PM

                                    Well I live in North County but every week make the drive to go to the LI Mercato. (I don't tend to grade on a distance curve :-) ). I find it to be worth the extra drive.

                                    I do agree there's plenty of citrus and fruit choices, (which is great, BTW!), but by no means is it at the expense of other produce. I just find it to be a very well balanced AND bustling market that's very enjoyable to walk through.

                                    ...and BTW the Mercato is 5 blocks long, not 3, of which from east to west can be found:

                                    blocks 1-2: predominately crafts & prepared foods, but there's still a produce stand on block #2
                                    blocks 3-4: the heart of the Mercato where most of the produce, protein items, and specialty pantry items can be found
                                    block 5: about a 50/50 mix of produce, (in particular some of the newer produce vendors), and specialty food/prepared food items

                                    1. re: placeholder
                                      DiningDiva Jun 26, 2011 08:37 PM

                                      Don't worry, I didn't take your post as being harsh as much as it didn't really fit my experience of the market :-).

                                      1. re: DiningDiva
                                        zoey67 Jul 9, 2011 03:34 PM

                                        Can someone please confirm if the corn guy is still here at the new Del Mar's farmer's market? I know he was at the old location, haven't been here since then, thanks

                                        1. re: zoey67
                                          stevuchan Jul 9, 2011 04:56 PM

                                          The "Meatmen" finally had cured meat products at the Poway market today.

                                          1. re: stevuchan
                                            frogprincess Jul 18, 2011 12:39 PM

                                            steveuchan -
                                            Do you remember what products they were offering, and how they compared to Knight?

                                            1. re: frogprincess
                                              stevuchan Jul 18, 2011 01:07 PM

                                              Only two types of salami, a "hot" and "regular". I got the hot and its pretty good flavor wise, with nice whole peppercorns and a mild red chili bite. Moisture content was a little high for my liking but overall it's a well made product. I would say similar to Knight when they started, but I've only had one. More research is needed. They were also selling fresh grilled sausages in bread as Knight used to that smelled and looked great. Pork sourcing is diffrent from Knight from what I could gather, using only Berkshire.

                                              1. re: stevuchan
                                                frogprincess Jul 18, 2011 09:11 PM

                                                Thanks for the details, that sounds promising!

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