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Foraging at America’s Farmers’ Markets: Our Top 5

Foraging at America’s Farmers’ Markets: Our Top 5
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Off to the Market.

Visiting farmers’ markets has become a popular pastime with people from many different walks of life.  People seem to feel that food from a farmers’ market is better for you, as well as less expensive, and buying it helps to keep the American tradition of farm fresh alive.  I know I feel this way, and I also enjoy the mix of fresh produce, meat, crafts, baked goods, etc.  I also like handing the money to the person who grew my food!

As recently as 30 years ago, farm fresh produce seemed like a thing of the past.  Large supermarkets with food from corporate farms seemed destined to put the small farmer out of business.

Hale Market Homestead photo
Photo by churchstreetmarketplace

But the farmers fought back.  They banded together and found locations to jointly sell their goods.  Low and behold; many people were sick of supermarket food and unable to grow their own because of their living situation.  The farmers’ markets thrived.

Today, almost every city or town has a market area.  If  you’re like me, you can’t wait for the season to start so you can get some decent food!

America Unraveled has ranked its five favorite farmers’ markets across the country.  Maybe we will see you there buying eggs or lettuce!


5.  San Luis Obispo Thursday Night Market, San Luis Obispo, CA

San Luis Obispo Market photo
Photo by Sandra Foyt

A few years ago, I was visiting the San Luis Obispo area.  I asked the clerk at my hotel if there was anything to do on a Thursday night.  She gave me an astonished look and said: “Why the Thursday Night Market, of course.”  I had no idea.

At that time, the only farmers’ market that I had ever attended was a ten booth affair in a supermarket parking lot.  Holy Cow.

Almost the entire length of Higuera Street was taken up by the market.  As we approached, the various ribbers called out to us, enticing us to sample their wares. We knew the ribs were good because so many people were buying them. If we had used long lines as criteria for excellence, then McClintock’s must have served up about the best ribs around!  The people waiting were about eight deep. I also saw beautiful tooled leather work, fresh fruit to die for,  vegetables, nuts (oh, those spiced almonds), plants and just about everything else you could imagine.  We taste tested various baked goods. Oddly enough, one vendor was even selling New England clam chowder made with local clams. It was great! There were over 120 vendors. It took hours to wander up to each stall and inspect the various products.

Live music from the “Fresh Picked” Concert kept us upbeat, moving forward.  There must have been about 10,000 people there, and I hear they come every week. We were there for hours and left with bags and bags of fresh nectarines, cherries, garlic, and oh, did I mention the spiced almonds.

Open: Every Thursday from 6:00 – 9:00 PM

(2003)

Jamie Stewart America Unraveled's resident expert on all things higher ed!

Comment(3)

  1. We live in Santa Fe and love the Farmers Market. It’s also open on Tuesdays- thought it’s a smaller market. Another farmers market we used to love- haven’t been in years is the one in Boulder CO.

  2. Your reporter has apparently never been to the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market in California. Almost 40 years old, and taking up six blocks and hundreds of vendors, the Wednesday morning market features year-round access to some of the finest produce, fruits, small-batch goods and food products in the country, with up to 9,000 buyers every week.

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