Fresh Food Daily at San Diego Farmers Markets

San Diego Farmers Markets

San Diego may be a laid-back town, but we take our food very seriously. With a diverse landscape and mild temperatures, San Diego County boasts ideal conditions for farming, so it’s no surprise that the county is home to more than 6,000 small and family owned farms. These farmers provide chefs from local restaurants with access to the freshest possible ingredients, but you don’t have to pull up a seat at a restaurant to enjoy some of San Diego’s local bounty.

San Diego Farmers Markets

Whether you are packing supplies for a picnic in Balboa Park, picking up fresh fruit to snack on in your hotel room, or even enjoying an impromptu lunch streetside, there are a number of California Certified Farmers Markets that take place every day in San Diego all over the county.  These colorful and festive farmers markets offer fresh picked fruits, crisp heirloom vegetables, regional cheeses, locally baked breads and desserts and a unique window on life in this sun-kissed Southern California paradise.

Uni served at Little Italy Farmers Market in San Diego

How about some uni served fresh from the sea at the Little Italy Mercato?

On Sunday mornings, an offbeat crowd of neighborhood musicians, artists and residents gather at the Hillcrest Farmers Market, where they enjoy fresh finds from around the county along with a unique collection of handcrafted art and housewares.

On Wednesday afternoons, visitors step back into the 1960s at the Ocean Beach Farmers Market; in this eclectic beachfront setting, fresh produce mixes with a laid-back surfer vibe and dash of the bizarre—llama rides are optional.

On Saturday mornings, the Little Italy Mercato brings the streets of this colorful downtown neighborhood to life as farm fresh produce rubs elbows with prepared foods from some of the region’s best kitchens.

Fresh meats available at San Diego Farmers Markets

It’s not just for fruits and veggies: you’ll find locally raised meats at many San Diego Farmers Markets.

Markets are held across San Diego County 7 days a week, so no matter where your travels take you, your sure to find something fresh nearby. Check out the San Diego County Farm Bureau for a complete list of markets.

Which Farmers Market in San Diego is your favorite?


Candice’s Perfect Day in San Diego

The colorful (and delicious) sights of the Little Italy Mercato, including fresh uni.

It’s Saturday morning, and India Street is bustling as usual, with colorful tents and even more colorful produce on display at the Little Italy Mercato, one of the city’s best farmers markets. The Mercato’s highlight is freshly caught sea urchin, which Poppa’s Fresh Fish will happily crack open and hand over with a fork to so you can devour the delicacy immediately. But today, I’m saving my appetite for brunch at PrepKitchen. The chef takes his inspiration and ingredients from what’s available at the market that morning, so there’s a good chance I’ll be feasting on some of the Mercato’s spoils. After brunch, Little Italy’s indie boutiques beg for a little exploration.

Shopping at Little Italy’s Vocabulary boutique; brunch at PrepKitchen

My shopping itch not yet scratched, I head a couple of miles East to the South Park neighborhood, where I could spend hours wandering from boutique to boutique. If you happen to stop by on a Saturday afternoon, don’t be surprised to see a pop-up flea market in one of the grassy lots along Fern Street.

Shopping spills out into the street along Fern Street in South Park

Knitting books? Handmade jewelry from local designers? Craft beer bottles recycled into drinking glasses? A vintage ceramic ashtray in the shape of a Dachshund? Not matter what I’m looking for, I’ll probably find it at one of South Park’s crafty and quirky shops.

Make Good, Junc Life & Style and Graffiti Beach are just a few of the unique shops you’ll find in South Park.

After all that shopping, I’ve worked up a little appetite, so I make my way down to Barrio Logan, an epicenter of San Diego’s Hispanic community. Street tacos at La Fachada are the perfect fuel before stopping to admire Chicano Park, where vibrant murals beneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge overpass portray the struggles of the Mexican-American community.

Tacos at La Fachada; the murals of Chicano Park

Before the sun sets, I make my way to the beach to soak up summer’s welcoming weather. The beaches of La Jolla are some of my favorites – La Jolla Shores’ vast stretch of sand full of surfers and lifeguard towers feels quintessentially Southern Californian, while the rocky tidepools of La Jolla Cove are almost Mediterranean in appearance. But today, I set up camp beneath the towering sandstone cliffs of Torrey Pines.

For dinner, it’s of to 30th Street in the North Park neighborhood, where the Linkery has been serving up farm-to-table food for years before it became a staple of the national foodie vocabulary. And nothing washes down one of their housemade sausage links better than a local craft beer.

Craft beer and the farm-to-table tastes of the Linkery; Bar Pink’s kitschy-cool decor and drinks

Before calling it a day, I cross the street to Bar Pink. Their signature drink, the Sneaky Tiki, seems to sum up San Diego in a glass: beautiful, of course, but with some surprising flavors and just a bit of punch that sneaks up on you when you least expect. Before you know it, you’re drunk on the San Diego’s charms. What a perfect way to end my day.


5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

1. Farmers Markets

San Diego County has more small farms (over 6,500) than any other county in the Country. With spring just around the corner, San Diego’s Farmers Markets are a great way to enjoy the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. My favorites are the Little Italy Mercato on Saturdays and the Hillcrest Farmers Market on Sundays. But with over 45 farmers markets in the County, you’re sure to find one wherever you are.

2. The American Comedy Co.

This weekend, The American Comedy Company opens in the Gaslamp Quarter and will feature San Diego native Bobby Lee. Lee has performed stand-up on “Late Friday,” “Premium Blend” and “The Tonight Show.” Shows are Thursday and Sunday at 8:00 pm and Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm.

3. Santee Drive-In Theatre

Go old school and check out Santee’s Drive-In Theatre. Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for kids. Children 4 and under get in free. This weekend, The Lorax debuts on March 2nd. Other movies currently playing include Act of Valor and Ghost Rider.

4. Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley

This weekend, the San Diego Junior Theatre located in Balboa Park debuts the Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley. Stanley Lambchop is your ordinary, every day, run-of-the-mill ten-year-old: normal mom and dad, normal little brother, normal life. One night, the bulletin board on the wall above Stanley’s bed comes loose and falls – right on top of Stanley! The next morning, Stanley Lambchop wakes up flat! Performances are Fridays at 7:00 pm and Saturdays at 2:00 pm.

5. Wildflowers in the Desert

It’s that time of year again, when the flowers start blooming in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. One of the nation’s largest state parks, the 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert is within a two-hour scenic drive from downtown San Diego and offers visitors endless opportunities to experience the wonders of the desert. Be sure to call the hotline for the latest on the desert blooms. 760-767-4684.