Sunday’s Farmers Market- La Jolla

IMG_8605Vista may host the oldest and longest running Farmers Market in the San Diego area, but La Jolla has one of the best- the La Jolla Open Aire Farmers Market. A couple dozen international food stalls serve breakfast and brunch foods for you to snack on while you shop at a wide variety of produce stands- organic and conventional. Need to pick up some specialty oils, vinegars, or specialty food treat for a gift (or a treat for yourself)? La Jolla’s Farmers Market has you covered. To top off the variety of vendors the market includes upwards of forty or more stalls selling hand made clothing, trinkets, art, and the odd collection of curios for sale.

IMG_8633One guy dives shipwrecks, for instance, and has a small table of items he has brought up from the ocean floor. He’s dived all around the world and has brought up literally millions of dollars worth of gold and artifacts. Go visit him and ask questions- he’ll tell you about the most expensive individual find, oldest, surprising, and the dive that made him the independent hobbyist that he can be today. It was quite fascinating to hear his stories.

IMG_8610 IMG_8613 (1)Smit Farms sells at several markets I visited this week, and I bought their cherry apple cider at Mira Mesa’s market, their onion and garlic pistachios at the Ocean Beach market, but The Husband was the one to cave in to their produce this time. The apple samples pushed him over the edge- we are now the proud owners of two pounds of honey crisps and one pound of those delicious grapes.

IMG_8620Anyone selling cage free eggs had great prices here- as a matter of fact, they were some of the best prices that I can recall from all the local markets. Some of the egg vendors really appreciate it if you can bring back the cartons and reuse them, how’s that for reusing and recycling?

This is a wonderful, lively, varied, great place to shop. We know people that spend the entire morning and afternoon here in La Jolla- they attend their church’s early service, eat a nice breakfast at Harry’s Coffee Shop, then hit the Farmer’s Market. I think they have a great thing going, for sure.

Did you know that Kashi foods started in La Jolla?
Did you know that Kashi foods started in La Jolla?
Beautiful bracelets and colorful gifts for sale. Fabulous prices, too- those bracelets are $1 each!
Beautiful bracelets and colorful gifts for sale. Fabulous prices, too- those bracelets are $1 each! From Ariela’s Unique Gifts
I didn't know
I didn’t know “chayote” were a soup squash…
Never tried a guava... holy cow, they were delicious!
Never tried a guava… holy cow, they were delicious!

More than one person buying from Belinda’s Cocina swore to us that they eat here every weekend because it is The Best Mexican Food in The Entire Area. Our chile relleno and chorizo burritos were fabulous.

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The chorizo burrito (right) didn’t stand a chance against The Hungry Husband. It was indeed DELICIOUS! So was my chile relleno burrito (left).

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Saturday’s Farmers Market- Vista

Vista, north of and just outside of the city of San Diego, claims to have the oldest, longest running Farmers Market in the county.

I found it to have all of the great stalls and vendors of the Wednesday night’s Ocean Beach Farmers Market… with none of the funny cigarettes… ha.

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Click for the Spuds.com link!!

What better way to kick off a weekend visit to outdoor markets than eating A Stuffed Hash Brown, or as I will now call it, Serious Competition For All Breakfast Burritos! My breakfast was the “Egg Head,” and I don’t know how they got that much bacon in there, but mmmmmm is all I can say. The Husband was equally pleased with his “Speedy” full of carne asada, pico de gallo, cheese and avocado. You can go to SpudzPotato.com and see where they will be next.

IMG_8570 (2)Other specialty vendors include The Brothery selling bone broth- very tasty I thought. Bone broth has become one of the latest health crazes, which kinds of amuses me since most of our grandmothers have been making it since time began. God have mercy on me if my father ever caught me throwing out the carcass of my Thanksgiving turkey instead of turning it into soup!  If you don’t make your own broth (after you’ve carved up a baked or rotisserie chicken put the remaining skin, bones, and bits into a large pot; cover with 6-8 quarts of water; simmer for 3, 4, or more hours; strain and refrigerate the broth to use for soups or to sip when you have a sore throat or cough), The Brothery (at TheFlavorChef.com) is available in several local health foods stores and the Vista Farmers Market.

IMG_8578This location is large enough to support two different bands on opposite ends of the market without stomping on each other’s musical footprint or the listening crowd’s earspace.

Beautiful piles of fruits and vegetables poured out of baskets and across tables from the farmers’ stalls. My brain sluggish recall is that the prices seem on a par with most local grocery stores for organics grown locally. This leads me to believe that if Whole Foods is selling organic locally grown red seedless grapes for $3.99/lb, same as the farmers market, then the farmers are cutting out the middleman at these markets and keeping more of the profit for themselves. And as I understand it, they work on thin profit margins.

IMG_8594My favorite purchases today, besides those stuffed hashbrowns, are the cocoa dusted almonds and the Mexican Chocolate Almond Butter we picked up from Hopkins AG (also at the Ocean Beach Farmers Market), and a beautifully delicious baguette from my now favorite boulanger- Le Rendez-Vous. Nothing beats dusting off your French skills and purchasing a baguette en même temps. Chouette! He sells at the Welk Market on Mondays, and the tiny Carmel Valley Market on Thursdays if you want to track down Le Rendez-Vous.

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Friday’s Farmers Market- Rancho Bernardo Winery

Bernardo Winery Events
Bernardo Winery Events

Friday’s Farmers Market was up at the Bernardo Winery, Southern California’s oldest operating winery. This is a great place to take visitors, with its numerous shops and stalls, and on Friday they add the Farmers Market to the mix, too.

This is a small market, but the produce looked great, and the stalls with snacks and baked goods have tasty treats.

Click pic for this neat product's info...
Click pic for this neat product’s info…

From the specialty foods seller Wildtree I bought a neat fruit dip powder to mix with cream cheese and cream after just one sample… and I’m rarely an impulse buyer at these markets. Someone is going to get this for Christmas, and the seller is usually at the Bernardo Farmers Market, so I know where to get more, ha!

If you shop for gluten free baking mixes or desserts, there are a few baked goods stalls selling to your needs, along with one totally conventional vendor with a banner advertising “Full of Gluten!”

One particularly interesting vendor, Across Africa, was selling baskets made by Rwandan and Ugandan women. You may have seen similar baskets to these at your local Costco- Rwanda Partners Baskets. Across Africa, with its slogan “This is a Success Story,” is a company that has not only brought a steady income for many families through organized cooperatives. Look at these beauties, and look them up. Don’t you know someone who would like one of these for a gift? I know I would.

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rwanda-schedule-header
Click *HERE* or on the photo for the Costco Road Sale schedule in the United States

I don’t know if the Rwanda Partners Basket company will be in the Bernardo market much longer, but the rest of the vendors (including, you guessed it… the same hummus seller) are here year round.

And the setting can’t be beat. Spend a nice morning visiting the winery’s shops, have a cup of coffee at the cafe here, and finish your Friday morning with the Farmers Market.

A lovely day trip!

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Thursday’s Farmers Market- Carmel Valley

Carmel Valley’s Farmers Market is… practically nonexistent. But if you are looking for about half a dozen different food vendors, or want your Carmel Valley teen to get a nice bite to eat after school, it is a handy hodge podge of snack shops. No McFood here!

There are about seven food vendor stalls, and the students from Canyon Crest and Cathedral Catholic High Schools are very fond of them, but that’s all there is.

Buy this guy's bread!
Buy this guy’s bread! And practice your French…

I had a great chat with one vendor, in French, yeah! Go me. He sells breads and traditional French pastries and cookies up at the Welk Resort Farmers Market on Mondays, too. According to this Parisian boulanger, Carmel Valley’s market used to have three more produce vendors, but they are gone for the season. As for his bread, I bought the small, rustic, olive bread. I will be back for more- this is seriously good bread!

Other vendors included Red Brick oven fired artisanal pizza (Holy Stromboli, it smelled crazy good! I’ve heard great things about their foods), the ubiquitous hummus guy (he’s at all the markets!), a smoothie/boba place (pricey at $6 for a boba tea, according to our International Teen who lives with us), Cassie’s Crêpes (could this be the same stand that we saw at the OB market last night?), and a Mexican food vendor, Mariskos Mi Playita, selling seafood snacks.

The olive bread made a great dinner for The Husband and me, along with soft goat cheese and our last pineapple tomato picked up on Monday’s Farmers Market visit. On the list tomorrow: tomatoes.

A Fine Dinner!
A Fine Dinner!

Wednesday’s Farmers Market- Ocean Beach

Every Wednesday from 4-8 pm (& pm in the winter), Ocean Beach has a Farmers Market on Newport Ave. between Cable and Bacon Streets. The website has information on the groups performing and promises a funky and free-spirited vibe is in store for its patrons.

Who could resist such promises?

Unbelievably delicious!
Unbelievably delicious!

If you want to get your vegan on and gas up your gluten-free mojo, get down here to Ocean Beach. After passing several international food vendors I stopped to try a sample of the most different ice cream I have ever tasted- Strawberry Basil Sorbet… It. Was. DELICIOUS! I was unprepared to bring home ice cream, so, this little delicacy will be at the top of my list the next time I visit. Sold at $10 per pint in glass mason jars, but bring back the jar and it nets a $2 discount. A little online searching helped me figure out that this is Na Pali Coast Frozen Organics. Worth the drive, people, check out their site for details.

IMG_8531I’ve had my online eye on De La Ranch’s meats for awhile. If you thought there were no local, grass fed meat suppliers in The Southland, think again. De La Ranch is in Elsinore and the ranch is open to the public if you are interested in seeing where your food comes from. We bought a pound of their Farmers Sausage for breakfast this weekend. Can’t wait to try it.

Great music enjoyed by happy dancers.
Great music enjoyed by happy dancers.

There was officially invited music for the crowd to dance to and enjoy, and there were so many people dancing that I couldn’t get a great photo. Everyone was really enjoying themselves. I counted four other buskers scattered about the market playing an assortment of styles.

Ocean Beach has the most produce and food vendors that I’ve seen at the different markets in the area- meats, nuts, dried fruits, ice creams, desserts, baked goods, cheese, sausage, kombucha, mushrooms, in addition to the much desired fruits and vegetables. We bought onion and garlic flavored pistachios and WILL BE BACK for the coco almonds. I tasted the kombucha and give it two thumbs up.

The Ocean Beach Farmers Market delivered on its promise. It was indeed the most fun and best market that I’ve visited yet.

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Tomatoes as far as the eye can see!
Tomatoes as far as the eye can see!

Tuesday’s Farmers Market- Mira Mesa

On Tuesdays in Mira Mesa as the high school kids leave for the day, the Farmers Market kicks into gear. About forty vendors split pretty equally between produce, cooked foods, and merchandise, sell their goods on the northeast corner of the school grounds.

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Most shoppers were here…

Now is the time to pick up the last of the summer berries and squash of all kinds were available at all the produce stands. I picked up a nice cherry and apple cider from a stand selling San Joaquin Valley apples. I bought it for The Husband but it looks too good and I’m going to have to make him share. One vendor had about 90% of the clientele of the entire market selling asian greens, vegetables and even a kind of vegetable vine… I regret asking what the heck that was. Clearly, that is the place to buy your produce.

IMG_8508Another stall sells fresh seafood including enormous sea urchins. These were whoppers. They are also available on the half shell, as this happy guy was enjoying during his vacation visiting family.

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Uni on the half shell!

Japanese, Filipino, Indian and other foods are available. The Indian food stall was passing out samples of their sauces, oh my GOSH they were delicious! They let me know that they sell at most of the local Farmers Markets, so keep an eye out for Masala Cottage and their delicious sauces to take home or made to order plates with rice and samosas. One guy said he gets his dinner at Masala Cottage every Tuesday afternoon, he loves their food that much.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s Farmers Market trip… I’m getting one of these dinners for sure.

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Fabulous Indian food from Masala Cottage, I kid you not!
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Not many buyers in view because they are all at that one stand pictured above…

Monday’s Farmers Market- Welk Resort

IMG_8507Just outside of San Diego’s northern city limits, north of the city of Escondido is a resort that offers the only Farmers Market operating on a Monday. After a quick call to double check with one of the Welk Resort’s operators that yes, indeed, there is such a thing as the Welk Resort Farmers Market, I made the drive north to see what goodies were available.

IMG_8500 (1)This is a nice little Farmers Market with about 60 vendors, and I walked away with some superb tomatoes and lovely caramels… even though the lotion and music stalls were giving passers-by the hard sell of their products. They were one step from pushy, really.

But the main goal for this week has already been accomplished: tomatoes like this for dinner! Tomatoes have been strangely absent around here recently, I didn’t grow any and didn’t find a neighbor to mooch from this season… and let’s face it- if a tomato doesn’t come from your back yard, your neighbors’, or a reputable local grower, it just isn’t worth eating.

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Heaven…. I’m in Heaven! These are “Pineapple Tomatoes,” I am told. Very sweet and VERY delicious.