HOME > Chowhound > San Diego >
Are you making a specialty food?

Do you have a favorite Farmer's Market?

ipsedixit Jun 21, 2013 08:21 PM

I like the Mercato, but that's more due to proximity and date/time than really anything else.

The selection and crowd are good, too, but I'm not sure I would go to Little Italy if I, say, lived or worked in North County somewhere.

What about you?

  1. stevuchan Jul 15, 2013 11:01 AM

    Vista was incredible on Saturday (7/13). Sweetest grapes I've ever tasted, great stone fruits, awesome tomatoes, and fresh morels. Worth the trip north and I got all my knives sharpened while I shopped.

    1. firecooked Jul 13, 2013 01:44 PM

      My favorite is the one in Coronado on Tue. afternoons I can ride my bike to it (although there is plenty of parking), and while its not big, I can get 90% + of my produce there, including a lot of organic stuff.

      1. l
        littlestevie Jun 25, 2013 03:34 PM

        My favorite is the Saturday FM at the Vista courthouse. Plenty of parking. The aisles are wide and there is a good selection of produce. An added bonus, is T&H sausage is there so I don't have to trek out to San Marcos backcountry. The Sunday morning one up in Leucadia is also good. I find the one in the afternoon down on Cedros to too full of the poser crowd.

        2 Replies
        1. re: littlestevie
          danieli10 Jun 25, 2013 04:27 PM

          Visting Leucadia in a couple of weeks (can't wait), where is the Sunday morning Leucadia farmer's market? Any recs on it or vendor's you particular like?

          1. re: danieli10
            littlestevie Jun 26, 2013 12:14 PM

            Paul Ecke School at Union and Vulcan. Thats just east of the 101 and the railroad tracks. Since I usually get produce, its whatever looks the freshest that day.

        2. jmtreg Jun 24, 2013 03:31 PM

          I've always preferred the Hillcrest Farmer's Market to Little Italy. The layout is better, the parking is easier, and I have a better idea where things are.

          As far as the whole farmers' markets suck subthread going on here, I respectfully disagree. Its not just that the produce is better (though it typically is), but that you can find produce that you would not ordinarily see. Case in point - right now, I have some padron peppers sitting on my kitchen counter right now that are destined for a pizza I'm making tonight. Without the Suzie's Farm stand at the Hillcrest Farmer's Market, I would never have known what a padron tastes like.

          If you don't like the crowds, go early. If you think the produce is overpriced, get the exotic stuff at the market and pick up the regular stuff elsewhere. This is really not rocket science.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jmtreg
            phee Jun 24, 2013 08:03 PM

            Agreed. We hit up the Hillcrest FM early yesterday morning, quickly found a parking spot, picked up a new brand of gluten-free bread for our kids, some kale I hadn't seen before, some of the best peaches I've had in ages, and a couple of tomato plants you can't find in most of the nurseries around town. We were out of there in about half an hour, and the crowds hadn't even gotten annoying yet!

          2. inaplasticcup Jun 24, 2013 11:28 AM

            I like the Encinitas/Leucadia market. It's somewhat close, lots of good produce and a good variety of prepared foods, too.

            Plus the setting is charming and the lumber yard down the street offers free parking in an otherwise difficult parking situation. :)

            1. menuinprogress Jun 24, 2013 11:24 AM

              Of the four (!!) weekly farmer's markets currently operating the the PB/MB area, we patronize the Saturday morning market in the Promenade parking lot.

              We like it because it is close, low key and has a good a selection of produce. It isn't a "destination" market, but it serves our needs well.

              1. Fake Name Jun 24, 2013 09:21 AM

                I hate Farmer's Markets.

                Yeah, I know. Similar to disliking Craft Beer- blasphemy. A branded heretic.

                I just dislike crowds, people with dogs on long leashes, people standing idly in walkways, people with GIANT STROLLERS jamming their entitled selves through crowds, oblivious to their destructive entitled path.

                I understand all the produce is so fresh and just so "farm-to-table" that one can easily pay $5 for a tomato. I know it's all so "natural" and supports farmers and is the essence of our core culinary values. I grok chefs come to the Farmer's Market to get only what's fresh and use that for their 150 covers each night with only the produce they can carry in their bundled-up aprons. Like the loaves and fishes, but with squash and microgreens.

                Yes, I know about the $20 chickens that taste so much better- you can taste the absence of hormones. The hypnotic spirals of the wind-blown twirly things with the ball that looks like it's going up and down. Sure, the citrus was picked just last night before they loaded up the truck. I'm aware of the tiny toothpicked samples they give and the extra donut peach they'll throw in with the apricots.

                But I don't like to go anywhere where there are that many people.

                If forced, I'll go when it opens, and leave before the throngs arrive. If forced, I'll accompany MrsName, but let her know in advance I won't be answering questions like, "do we want some of these xyz's maybe for dinner one night this week?" If you want it, I'll cook it, can we go now?

                20 Replies
                1. re: Fake Name
                  Beach Chick Jun 24, 2013 09:31 AM

                  Bravo Fakey...Bravo.

                  1. re: Fake Name
                    ipsedixit Jun 24, 2013 09:40 AM

                    I also dislike FMs, but for a different reason.

                    I just think they are basically a rip-off.

                    But if one is literally outside of my doorsteps, I'll step out, meander around, take some (free) samples, and then go back home.

                    It's like Costco ... but with sunshine and an ocean breeze.

                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      RB Hound Jun 24, 2013 11:02 AM

                      I go to the UTC farmer's market, because when the produce is on it is better than anything I can get in any of the area grocery stores. They fooled me last week with the strawberries, though, so I'm going to be a little more picky next week.

                      1. re: RB Hound
                        jmtreg Jun 24, 2013 03:24 PM

                        The local strawberries aren't as good this year, sadly.

                        1. re: jmtreg
                          RB Hound Jun 24, 2013 09:39 PM

                          There was a few weeks they were very good. We got a batch two or three weeks ago from the field north of Canon Rd. that was unbelievably good, and I got a batch two weeks back from the UTC farmer's mkt that was pretty good.

                      2. re: ipsedixit
                        cstr Jun 24, 2013 11:48 AM

                        You bring up an interesting point ipse.... I farmers are eliminating several layers of middlemen and selling direct to the public why are their prices so frigg'n ridiculous?

                        1. re: cstr
                          ipsedixit Jun 24, 2013 01:52 PM

                          There's something to be said for economies of scale.

                          Adam Smith wasn't right about everything, but on this point he fucking nailed it.

                      3. re: Fake Name
                        foodiechick Jun 24, 2013 12:34 PM

                        Mr. FC says AMEN! I say harumph.

                        1. re: foodiechick
                          DoctorChow Jun 24, 2013 02:25 PM

                          I second your harumph. Anyway, this thread wasn't supposed to be about whether on not people like farmer's markets. It was supposed to be about which farmer's market is your favorite. Si or no, ipse? So if you don't like farmer's markets, don't post. And yes, I'm looking at you, FN and BC. Sheesh.

                          1. re: DoctorChow
                            Beach Chick Jun 24, 2013 02:36 PM

                            Don't you sheesh me.. ; )

                            I love Farmer's Markets but I get all what Fakey has to say and applaud his stance.
                            With the monies I spend at these FM, I rather give it to my Church, the Church of Chino in Rancho Santa Fe!

                            1. re: Beach Chick
                              DoctorChow Jun 24, 2013 02:49 PM

                              Well, it's a little like someone starting a post such as, “What’s your favorite Italian restaurant”. So a bunch of people start to reply, and then The Great One announces that he completely dislikes all Italian food and proceeds to ramble on about all of the reasons why, which boil down to: “All Italian food sucks and is way over priced to boot. But hey, sometimes Mrs. Great One forces me to eat it anyway.” And then others start to applaud this terrific pronouncement. Arrgghh. Maybe I'm just in a bad mood today.

                              1. re: DoctorChow
                                Beach Chick Jun 24, 2013 03:22 PM

                                'The Great One'...Fakey Marissa?

                                Bad mood..you need to go to Candy Mountain, Charlie. .


                                1. re: Beach Chick
                                  DoctorChow Jun 24, 2013 03:37 PM


                                2. re: DoctorChow
                                  Fake Name Jun 24, 2013 04:55 PM

                                  Taking a petit fermata to verify, I've confirmed the original question is:

                                  "Do you have a favorite Farmers Market?"

                                  For me, the answer is clearly no, I do not have a favorite Farmers Market. Not in a box, not with a fox.

                                  Nowhere did I suggest they all "suck" I freely and publically acknowledge my personal shortcomings. I don't like the Craft Beer Fad either, but I realize they don't all "suck".

                                  This is neither is the fault of the beer or market.

                                  Double Sheesh.

                                  1. re: Fake Name
                                    DoctorChow Jun 24, 2013 05:06 PM

                                    I think we're out of Sheeshes for the day. Peace.

                              2. re: DoctorChow
                                ipsedixit Jun 24, 2013 07:24 PM


                                Seriously, why worry about it. If you think a reply is irrelevant simply ignore it.

                                Bringing attention to a post's (supposed) irrelevance simply makes it relevant.

                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  DoctorChow Jun 24, 2013 08:01 PM

                                  I agree. I think I was just being cranky. Let's move on.

                            2. re: Fake Name
                              Gypsy Jan Jun 24, 2013 02:48 PM

                              "Grok"? A Robert Heilein reference on Chowhound - well, yeay.

                              I don't like crowds, I don't like trendy, I don't being pushed about by people regardless of whether they have, babies in strollers or not.

                              We go to our small produce market here that buys from local farms - the place is basically an open, no-walls space with tarps spread over it. You don't get fancy schancy brands, but what they have is great, fresh and well-chosen.

                              I tried the Farmer's Market held at the Rosarito Beach Hotel once - never again - a somplete cluster-f***.

                              1. re: Gypsy Jan
                                NParker Jul 15, 2013 10:56 AM

                                I'm wondering if the Stehly farms market on Morena is a happy medium: fresh, local produce without the scene. I've been meaning to check it out.

                              2. re: Fake Name
                                inaplasticcup Jun 24, 2013 05:11 PM

                                I love the occasional jaunt to a nice farmers market and yet I have a hard time disagreeing with anything FN says.

                                I think I see them more as a source of entertainment than groceries.

                                Just to stretch this tangent a little further... ;)

                              3. bocasdeltorro Jun 24, 2013 08:43 AM

                                Little Italy is my favorite to bring visitors to. The view of the water helps.

                                Hillcrest is really good, and seems to be better for eating there than Little Italy - more ready made food venders.

                                North Park is my local and the one we go to the most.

                                1. n
                                  NParker Jun 23, 2013 03:14 PM

                                  I most frequently end up at the North Park Farmer's market out of convenience. But when I did make it to the Saturday City Heights Farmer's Market, I loved it. It's small. There are stalls catering to Southeast Asian and East African customers, so the variety of produce was a little different. I encourage people to check it out! On Wightman and Fairmount (just off University).

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: NParker
                                    phee Jun 23, 2013 04:21 PM

                                    Good to know, thanks. I've been wanting to check this one out.

                                    We went to the HIllcrest Farmer's Market today, looking for the guy who sells jerky. Does anyone know if he's only there certain Sundays? Or any other farmer's markets where they sell jerky?

                                    1. re: phee
                                      ipsedixit Jun 23, 2013 06:34 PM

                                      You might check here to see a listing of all vendors in SD Farmer's Market.


                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                        phee Jun 23, 2013 08:27 PM

                                        Thanks! Couldn't find a jerky vendor amongst them, so I guess he's not around anymore.

                                    2. re: NParker
                                      zare_k Jul 14, 2013 05:42 PM

                                      How would you rate the selection of Asian veggies?

                                      1. re: zare_k
                                        NParker Jul 15, 2013 10:50 AM

                                        It's not my area of expertise, so I really couldn't say, but they had several stands manned by Asian people, if that's an indicator. The corn we got there was starchy, rather than sweet corn that's all you can get now in most places. I thought that was indicative of different tastes.

                                    3. foodiechick Jun 22, 2013 12:40 PM

                                      "Church of Chino" on a Sunday morning. Put the top down or open the sunroof, it's a glorious drive on a beautiful day. I count it as a farmer's market, because after all, Tom is THE farmer!

                                      1. chris2269 Jun 22, 2013 12:22 PM

                                        I like the Hill Crest Farmers market. I think its the right balance IMO. Second would be Little Italy.

                                        1. c
                                          cstr Jun 22, 2013 04:24 AM

                                          I like the Mercato in LI 'cus it's on a good day for me, if you go early enough parking on the parallel streets is tolerable. If I'm around, LJ is also good. Not too impressed with Tues in PB.

                                          1. DiningDiva Jun 21, 2013 10:16 PM

                                            I think it depends on what you're looking for from a farmers market.

                                            For a long time I really liked LIttle Italy, and I still do, but parking is difficult and I'm tired of fighting the see and be seen crowd. On the other hand, I know where the vendors are that I like and can actually get in and out fairly quickly if I want to. I also like that there is a Wells Fargo bank on the corner of the market in case I need it, and I usually do.

                                            I like the Sunday Hillcrest market. Parking is a bit easier and the crowd and the vibe more relaxed. It's less of a "scene". Most of the same vendors are LI, so if I miss Saturday there is always Sunday.

                                            I really like the Wednesday OB market but parking is a straight out b*tch. But it's interesting, it's funky and usually a lot of fun. Good energy at this market

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: DiningDiva
                                              phee Jun 22, 2013 10:26 AM

                                              Exactly what I would have said, DD. If I can get to Little Italy around 8:30, I can usually find street parking, but Hillcrest is much easier to navigate and park. We have a little farmer's market out this way during the week, but I usually only go there for strawberries, avocados, medjool dates, and honey.

                                              1. re: phee
                                                DiningDiva Jun 22, 2013 10:46 AM

                                                La Mesa has a farmers market on Friday afternoon that I'd like to check out as I've heard good things about it, but given that my office is in Mira Mesa, and the market is in La Mesa...good luck getting there on a Friday afternoon

                                              2. re: DiningDiva
                                                ipsedixit Jun 22, 2013 10:58 AM

                                                This is sort of why I asked.

                                                I really like the Mercato, but I'm not sure I would go there unless I lived in/around Little Italy and parking was not an issue.

                                                Same with the Hillcrest market. I don't mind going there only when I'm in the area and parking is not an issue.

                                                I'm not sure there's a farmer's market I would go out of my way for.

                                                1. re: DiningDiva
                                                  honkman Jun 22, 2013 01:32 PM

                                                  There is always free parking (2 hrs) a few blocks down on India Street towards Hillcrest. Overall LI is also our go to farmers market but we wish there would be more produce and less produced food

                                                2. d
                                                  DoctorChow Jun 21, 2013 09:00 PM

                                                  Little Italy. Hands down.

                                                  Show Hidden Posts