With spring in full swing, it's time to start living the good life outdoors.
Putting aside the usual alfresco adventures such as the start of Padres season and the fast-approaching San Diego County Fair, San Diego is home to some of the best outdoor markets brimming with organic produce, wholesome cuisine and finger-licking fun. After all, we locals will take almost any opportunity to chow down on dipped, stirred and fried treats while getting in our daily dose of people watching.
The farm-to-table culinary movement is all the rage right now. San Diego makes it easy to hop on the trend, support local farms, engage in a sustainable environment and eat healthy, organic food with its diverse and generous offering of farmer’s markets across the county. From the laid-back ambiance of Newport Avenue in OB and local chefs specialties at Little Italy’s Mercato to farm-fresh produce at La Jolla’s Open Aire Market, and eclectic commodities at Oceanside’s Sunset Market, San Diego has all the bases covered.
Discover a few of our favorite San Diego farmer's markets.
Little Italy Mercato – Saturdays
Held every Saturday from 9am to 1:30pm, the Mercato has been successful in its mission to serve the community and boasts many accomplishments, including the issuing of weekly e-newsletters chocked full of content and engaging the restaurants, farmers and locally-based businesses to support a sustainable and healthy environment for San Diego. With more than 100 booths lining Date Street from Kettner to Union in Little Italy, the Mercato offers everything from farm fresh produce to artisan foods and specialty items. Pair fresh baked breads and pitas with Baba Foods hummus and Venissimo cheeses; spruce up your home for the upcoming summer season with fresh flowers and plants from Hidalgo flowers and Urban Plantations; indulge in local chefs specialties and desserts including goodies from La Creperie, Café Virtuoso and Ranchwood Deli; and find something for Fido at Puppy Paw Productions. Find more fresh information at littleitalysd.com.
Hillcrest Farmer’s Market – Sundays
Rain or shine, every Sunday from 9am to 2pm, the Hillcrest Business Association puts on one of the top voted Farmer’s Markets in San Diego. Whether you’re simply in the mood to browse and take a Sunday stroll or want a hearty lunchtime meal, you must check out this one-stop foodie paradise in Hillcrest. While there are many vendors boasting a selection of fresh produce and nutritional breads, this bold Farmer’s Market will make your taste buds salivate with indulgent treats and strong flavors. From the “Panini Man” and his delightfully delicious turkey pastrami with brie and empanadas from the Argentineans, to Middle Eastern Flavors, Thai Chef Saranya, Natural Health Group, and La Creperie, Hillcrest is chockfull of tasty treats every Sunday. Find more fresh information at hillquest.com.
Ocean Beach Farmer’s Market – Wednesdays
Everyone knows that Ocean Beach is the chill, unpretentious neighborhood where you can kick your shoes off and throw back a few beers at just about any hour of the day. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that they also host an eclectic and laid-back Wednesday evening Farmer’s Market from 4pm to 8pm on Newport Avenue between Cable and Bacon Streets. From fresh squeezed juices and obsession-worthy guacamole to homemade hummus and nuts by the bag, the OB Farmer’s Market is the place where you can get it all. Aside from the foodie fanfare, there’s also hand-blown glass, artsy innovations, gifts and treats for your pup and live eclectic bands filling the air with light-hearted notes. Find more fresh information at oceanbeachsandiego.com.
Del Mar Famer’s Market – Saturdays
The Del Mar Farmers' Market boasts international cuisine, a wide range of international art and gifts, regularly scheduled special events for the family and outdoor entertainment, not to mention the freshest and finest meats, poultry, seafood, produce and flowers. Held year-round every Saturday from 1 pm to 4pm in the City Hall Parking Lot in Del Mar, the Farmer's Market is your weekly opportunity to purchase locally grown produce and specialty items. Vendors bring a variety of foods, including; fine crafted cheeses, fresh fish, honey, fruits, vegetables, flowers, kettle corn, handcrafted jewelry and imported linens. After your score local goodies, enjoy the Del Mar scenery. Find more fresh information at delmarmainstreet.com.
La Jolla Open Aire Market – Sundays
Every Sunday from 9am to 1pm, the upper playground at La Jolla Elementary is transformed into a colorful, friendly and wholesome market. Ranked as one of the largest farmer’s markets in San Diego, the La Jolla Open Aire Market hosts a range of vendors from farm-fresh fruits and vegetables to unique antiques, artwork and handcrafted jewelry. Sit and enjoy food at the Food Court, including lemongrass chicken and healthy crepes, homemade Belgian waffles and Turkish treats. At the heart of the organization are the certified vendors, including Carlsbad Strawberry Co., Terra Bella Ranch, Valley Center Growers and Carranza Citrus. The Open Aire Market in La Jolla also boasts a unique shopping experience, featuring AZ Arts & Crafts, Gypsy Dutch Arts, Twinkle Baby Couture, Sergios Antiques and Vases by Vazu. Find more fresh information at lajollamarket.com.
Solana Beach Farmer’s Market – Sundays
Every Sunday from 1pm to 5pm at the south end of Cedros Avenue, you’ll find the Solana Beach Farmer’s Market. Start at the southern section of the food court, grab a seat at one of the streetside tables beneath giant palms and colorful umbrellas and enjoy a bite or a refreshing beverage while classic jazz wafts from overhead speakers. Then, head north and find yourself immersed in a variety of vendors including juice blends, artisan smoked salmon, hearth baked breads, organic pastries and handcrafted chocolates. The market is located in the chic Cedros Design District in Solana Beach, it would just be wrong if there wasn’t any artistic satisfaction to be had. Fortunately, the market is also home to a small crafts area awash with gifts, clothing and handmade jewelry at every price. Find more fresh information at cedrosavenue.com.
Oceanside’s Sunset Market – Thursdays
Main Street Oceanside’s Sunset Market is a go-to gathering spot for thousands of residents and visitors. Featuring international food, eclectic merchandise, gourmet packaged foods and fresh produce, as well as live entertainment, it is easy to see how this Thursday night event has become quite the Oceanside attraction. From 5pm to 9pm all year round, peruse nutritious fruits and vegetables or head over to the Fresh and Ready Row. Every week you can find different foods to take home, ranging from sauces and marmalades to fresh baked cookies, cakes and pies, salsa and chips and artisan breads and rolls. Or browse over 85 vendors boasting eclectic merchandise from all over the world, such as jewelry, clothing, beauty supplies, toys, art, memorabilia, and exotic home furnishings. In the International Food Court, nosh on everything from gyros, Pad Thai noodles and pulled pork sandwiches to Philly cheesesteaks, roasted corn on the cob, mini donuts and homemade cheesecakes. Find more fresh information at sunsetmarketoceanside.com.
Vista Farmer’s Market – Saturdays
The longest running market in all of San Diego County, the Vista Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday morning from 8am to 12pm. This iconic market in Vista offers a variety of local, small, unique farmers selling seasonal fruits (subtropical and traditional), vegetables, flowers, plants (herbs, vegetables, flowering, fruit), dates and dried fruit from over 50 farmers. In addition, the Vista Farmer’s Market boasts the first winery to be at a farmers market in the county, cheese from one of the few Southern California cheese makers, wool and yarn from a local sheep rancher, and earthworms for your garden. The market also features bread and baked goods, spreads, juices, chips, coffee and tea, fresh fish and seafood, chocolate and fudge, and a handful of craft vendors. Find more fresh information at vistafarmersmarket.com.
Poway Farmer’s Market – Saturdays
Held every Saturday from 8am to 11:30am, rain or shine, at Old Poway Park, the Farmer’s Market is located on the corner of Midland Road and Temple Street in Poway, is easy to find with plenty of parking. Centrally located in San Diego County, this petite, produce-packed market is certified by the county's agricultural commissioner which means that every product you see at the Old Poway Farmers Market is grown by the farmer vendor and sold fresh right to the consumer. Nearly all the approximately 25 farmers participating in the Old Poway Farmers Market grow their produce right here in San Diego County and each is certified as the actual producer, which guarantees you always get delicious California grown produce. In addition to the local-favorite fresh fruits and veggies, the market boasts an array of Thai and Mexican food as well as crepes and cupcakes to satisfy your sweet tooth. Find more fresh information at poway.org.
Otay Ranch Farmer’s Market – Tuesdays
The Otay Ranch Certified Farmer's Market hosts an incredible community of family farms that make this market a local Tuesday tradition for all. Every Tuesday from 4pm to 8pm on Main Street, guests enjoy a market that’s easy to find with plenty of parking and the freshest produce of the season grown by local farmers. Boasting fresh summer fruits, from cherries and blueberries to peaches and nectarines, and market tables loaded with local organic produce and fresh baked breads, this market is a come-one, come-all community event in Chula Vista. Best of all, you can bring the kiddies along for some fun-filled llama rides. Find more fresh information at otayranchtowncenter.com.
Pacific Beach Farmer’s Market- Tuesdays
Every Tuesday from 2pm to 6:30pm, Pacific Beach comes alive with fruits, vegetables, farm-fresh eggs, baked bread and pastries, fish, meat, cheese, flowers, spices, olives and sauces. Visitors can stroll through the stands while meeting local farmers, artists and craftspeople while shopping for groceries and enjoying the live music that fills the air. Rain or shine, this farmer’s market features something for everyone located on Bayard Street at Garnet. Grab a bite to eat from vendors like The California Olive, Gourmet Tamales, and Moncai Vegan. Top farmers participating in the weekly market include Paradise Valley Ranch, Proios Family Farm, and Rancho Mexico Lindo. Find more fresh information, at sdweeklymarkets.com.
For the other days when there just isn’t time to shop, discover the best San Diego restaurants