Farmers Markets for First-Timers

I grew up on the East Coast where farmers markets were a seasonal thing. The one in my town had about 6 vendors and ran from May through October. The pickings were slim and the prices were high. And even though the “organic” trend starting taking off a few years ago, I can’t remember walking away with a whole lot of produce other than peaches and pickles.

That all changed when I moved to California. Farmers Markets take place all-year round and offer a vast array of seasonal fruits and veggies. Here I’ve discovered exotic fruits, like cherimoya and persimmon, and without breaking the bank. Plus the combination of free samples, live music and food trucks adds a unique cultural element that you just don’t find at your average grocery store.

California has really opened my eyes to the full potential of Farmers Markets. And so I’m making it my goal to visit and review at least 7 in the Bay Area by the end of the year (starting with this post). Hope you enjoy and get a chance to visit them all!

 

3 Reasons to Explore: Marin Farmers Market

 

1) Seasonal Specialties

What I love about the Marin Farmers Market is that you know exactly what’s in season right now. After a quick loop around the market, it was clear: ’tis the season for strawberries . Almost every fruit vendor had a fresh crop in-stock. And after a sampling (or two), I understood why they were selling like hotcakes. A picture’s worth a thousand words, so I’ll shut up now and direct your eyes to the mouth-watering photo below.

Fun fact: California is the largest producing state, harvesting 83% of the strawberries grown in the U.S.

2) Salivating Hot Sauces

Jasper and I have tried a ton of different hot sauces in the Bay area. And yet we keep coming back to one particular vendor: Lucky Dog. We were blown away the first time we tried their Mild Fire-Roasted batch a few months ago and they continued to impress us with their new Dia Del Perro (Medium Smoked Pepper) blend this weekend.

Full disclosure: I tend to have a pretty low tolerance when it comes to spicy stuff. But this company has created a unique set of blends that pack a powerful punch, yet don’t leave your mouth on fire for hours. Jaz and I were offered a healthy sampling of each sauce at their booth and ended up buying 4 big bottles to take home with us.

Jasper sampling Lucky Dog Hot Sauces

3) Vibrant Venue + Vendor Variety

I feel like a little child at a carnival whenever I’m at the Marin Farmers Market. There are 60+ vendors, a variety of food trucks, and even a bouncy castle for the kids (I refrained, though it was tempting). And amazingly enough, despite the number of vendors and heavy foot traffic, it never feels crowded or overwhelming. It helps that the venue (Marin Civic Center) is super spacious with plenty of sun/shade. But the real magic lies in the layout. The whole market is broken into several sections — hand-crafts/jewelry; veggies/fruits; cheeses; food trucks; drinks, etc. — making it easy to navigate without getting lost.

Traversing the tents at Marin Farmers Market  in San Rafael on Sunday, March 8, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Moore @ Marin

The Marin Farmers Market takes place twice a week at the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael:

Sundays, 8:00am – 1:00pm (year round)

Thursdays, 8:00am – 1:00pm (year round)