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Do you have a favorite Farmer's Market?

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?

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  1. Little Italy. Hands down.

    1. 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

        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

          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

          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

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

              1. "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. 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

                    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

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


                      1. re: ipsedixit

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

                    2. re: NParker

                      How would you rate the selection of Asian veggies?

                      1. re: zare_k

                        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. 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. 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

                            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

                              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

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

                                1. re: jmtreg

                                  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

                                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

                                  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.

                                1. re: foodiechick

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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

                                        'The Great One'...Fakey Marissa?

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


                                        1. re: DoctorChow

                                          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

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

                                      2. re: DoctorChow


                                        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

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

                                    2. re: Fake Name

                                      "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

                                        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

                                        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. 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. 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. 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

                                              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. 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

                                                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

                                                  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. 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. 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.