Taste and see: the freshest food in San Diego
Almost any given day, you can find yourself at one of San Diego’s many farmers’ markets across the county. If you’re dreaming of farm-fresh produce, sunshine, and handcrafted goods, these markets are for you.
As college students with hectic schedules and extensive extracurriculars at the University of San Diego, the last thing we want to think about is running errands. It is typically better to combine socializing with grocery shopping at a local farmers’ market.
The friendly and easygoing atmosphere of farmers’ markets make them a great alternative to your everyday supermarket. A farmers’ market can also be a place to browse around with your friends and try different foods, all while enjoying the sunshine.
Here are just four of the extensive options that can aid you in your quest for homegrown foods and handmade goods.
1. Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market
It’s no surprise that the Little Italy Farmers’ Market tops the list as one of the most well-known and well-loved farmers’ markets in San Diego. Running on Saturdays through West Cedar Street, there are over 200 tents lined up between Kettner Boulevard to Front Street for you to wander through. At Front Street, there are many vendors who display their artwork.
The market gradually transitions into its food vendors. From farm-fresh meats and poultry to handmade crepes and sandwiches, to local and organic produce, this farmers’ market has a wide range of healthy and organic options. One of the most popular drinks at this market is the mango chili lemonade, and you can see people carrying vibrant orange and yellow drinks as they hop from vendor to vendor.
Sophomore Vijay Patel said that he loves to frequent farmers’ markets in San Diego over going to traditional marketplaces. He explained that the Little Italy Farmers’ Market is one of his favorites.
“It’s got food, new things to experience, and is much more cozy than any supermarket,” Patel said.
2. Hillcrest Farmers’
A bit smaller than the Little Italy’s Farmers’ Market, the Hillcrest Farmers’ Market runs every Sunday with 175 vendors camped between Lincoln Street and Normal Avenue. Fresh fruits are abundant at this market, along with multiple stands for cooked food, jewelry, and clothing. The ambiance at this market is hard to beat, with multiple musicians playing music throughout the market and groups of people enjoying the food on the grass on the side of the road.
Given Hillcrest’s eclectic reputation as one of the funkiest places in San Diego, it seems fitting that its farmers’ market would have a diverse mix of people and entertainment. The market is fun, welcoming, and friendly, and it is a great place to spend a Sunday morning. The vendors really embody the farmers’ market tagline, “Fresh & Fabulous.”
3. Ocean Beach Farmers’ Market
If you’re looking for something fu to do during the week, hit up the Ocean Beach Farmers’ Market. This little beachside market gets jam-packed on Wednesday nights from 4-8 p.m. Whether you’re looking for one-of-a-kind artwork to decorate your room, homemade guacamole, or freshly-picked flowers, this market is sure to be a great mid-week pick-me-up. They also seem to offer more tasting samples than any other market.
4. La Jolla Open Aire Farmers’ Market
The fact that La Jolla is a beautiful area in San Diego is no secret. It makes sense, then, that their Open Aire Farmers’ Market lives up to the high standards of La Jolla’s higher-class reputation.
You can find all sorts of different cuisines here: from quiches to gyros to sandwiches, this market has it all. In addition, this market also has a great selection of fresh flowers and fruits with some of the sweetest sellers you’ll meet. With a huge field right beside the market for people to enjoy the sun, and a shaded area with picnic tables, the setup of the La Jolla market is incredibly endearing and popular among families.
These are only four of the many farmers’ markets that call San Diego home. If you’re feeling adventurous, or you just have a lot of free time on your hands, there’s one going on almost every single day of the week. With an abundance of friendly buyers and sellers, the farmers’ markets are always a great place to spend your time—and money—to support the local San Diego community.
Junior Jessica Rasheed stated that she loves her weekend trips to the markets.
“My weekly trip to the farmers’ market is always incredibly refreshing, not only because of the fresh and vibrant fruits and vegetables, but also because of the multicultural crowd and food that enhances my Californian experience in an unique way,” Rasheed said.
Even if you don’t feel like buying anything, the market samples will still fill you up. If you’re not interested in the food, there are many vendors who sell other goods, including clothing, succulents, jewelry, and flowers. The market is also a great place to people watch or to play with the adorable dogs walking around. These markets are a fantastic way to unwind during the school year, and it never hurts to pick up a few groceries while you’re there.
By Casey Huang, with contributions from Walker Chuppe, Arts & Culture Editor, and Gianna Caravetta, Copy Editor