Spring has officially sprung and we’re dreaming of place where we can sample the freshest flavors of the season: slender asparagus spears, sweet and juicy strawberries, and aromatic herbs. No, we’re not talking about Costco. It’s time to dust off your wide brimmed hat, oversized sunnies, and canvas shopping tote. Farmers’ market season is here!
As consumers grow more and more conscious of where their food comes from, farmers’ markets are becoming a popular alternative to shopping at big box grocery stores. In fact, the number of markets in the U.S. has increased from 5,000 in 2008 to more than 8,300 in 2015. Local food and direct marketing opportunities, including farmers’ markets, are one of the fastest growing segments of agriculture, the USDA reports.
We can’t wait to start grocery shopping outside and stocking our kitchens with locally grown food. Here are a few of our favorite farmers’ markets to visit on the West Coast. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
San Francisco, CA
Alemany Farmers’ Market
While many would argue that the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market takes the cake for ambiance, locals know you can get the freshest seasonal produce at the lowest prices at Alemany Farmers’ Market. Sure, you may not find artisanal jams or grass-fed yogurt at this no-frills spot, but you will enjoy fantastic brunch options from El Huarache Loco and Copper Top Ovens. Tip: Buy three bunches of mix-and-match organic veggies for just five bucks.
Portland Farmers’ Market
Held on the lush campus of Portland State University, the Portland Farmers’ Market features up to 200 farmers and producers as well as swarms of foodies who feed their need to chow down. This spring, be on the lookout for raspberries and huckleberries, fresh-caught Dungeness crab, soft cheeses, handmade pasta, and Asian greens like bok choy. Tip: Go in the morning for the best selection and nosh on sweet or savory crepes as you browse.
Los Angeles, CA
Santa Monica Farmers’ Market
If Los Angeles’ best chefs shop for their ingredients at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, you know the selection has to be top notch. Grab a juice from one of the stands and take a leisurely stroll as you peruse the gorgeous spread of organic produce, which attracts residents from every pocket of the city. Tip: Go on Wednesdays for the best and biggest assortment.
Ballard Sunday Farmers’ Market
Rain or shine, Seattle residents and tourists flock to the Ballard Sunday Farmers’ Market. Known for its fresh fish and shellfish, this community marketplace has everything you need to make a locally sourced dinner, including organic fruits and vegetables from Washington farms, cheeses, nuts, jams, and bread. Tip: Stop for lunch at Loki Fish Co. and order a couple of salmon sliders to get a taste of the local fare.