Among California’s many superlatives, it also grows over a third of the United States’ vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. While much of those products are shipped far and wide, it’s so much better to enjoy them locally, close to where they were just picked. Here are some of the state’s top farmer’s markets to check out for the food as well as community vibes.
Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips. All photos by author except where noted.
Great place for a snack and a sampling of Northern California food culture. Although the market hall is open every day, try to visit on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday when an abundant farmers market surrounds the building.
Alemany Farmer’s MarketSan Francisco, United StatesBustling Saturday market with great deals and interesting produce. Good selection of prepared food as well — and you’ll need it as perusing all the stalls here is hunger- inducing! #cheap-eats
The oldest farmers market in California, this Saturday market often referred to as “the people’s market” is quite a contrast to the much more curated Ferry Plaza market. You’re sure to find some Southeast Asian vegetables just in from the Central Valley and other fascinating and cheap finds that will have you stretching your culinary abilities. The market is a bit more difficult to get to than the Ferry Plaza but is worth the effort.
3. Marin County
Marin County Farmer’s MarketSan Francisco, United StatesThe farmer’s market at the Marin Civic Center is one of the best in California. Delicious snacks as well as super fresh fruit & veg. It’s Thursday and Sunday from 8-1.
4. Point Reyes
A seasonal, all-organic market running from June to November. This lively small-town market is well worth checking out for its ultra-fresh produce, amazing flowers and grilled cheese sandwiches.
A year-round Saturday market, Aptos is close to many farms, so the produce and fruit here is all very high quality. This is a major strawberry growing region — make sure to try some!
6. Santa Monica.
Santa Monica boasts four weekly markets, all of which have a distinct character. Chefs shop at the Wednesday downtown market, and there’s jazz at the Sunday Main Street Market. The Saturday Virginia Avenue Park Market is a friendly spot for picnicking and also offers classes.
This year-round Sunday market in a snug valley northwest of Los Angeles and east of Santa Barbara is well worth a detour. Many of the friendly vendors specialize in just a few delicious items.
San Diego’s premier farmers market, Hillcrest is every Sunday and currently features over 175 vendors plus a trolley. This market has great prepared food, much of it with an international flair, as well as a good selection of arts and crafts.
9. San Luis Obispo.
Thursdays from 6-9 pm San Luis Obispo shuts down a number of streets for this street party / market. There’s lots of delicious prepared food as well as fresh produce and a festive vibe with lots of bands and street performers.