Farmers’ markets are a great way to support local businesses while experiencing different parts of your town. San Diego is full of farmers’ markets (in Ocean Beach, Hillcrest, La Jolla, Pacific Beach and Little Italy, to name a few), and I got the chance to go to two different markets this past week: the Ocean Beach Farmers Market and the Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market. I’ve wanted to check these out since I first came to San Diego last semester, and Ocean Beach and Little Italy were places I hadn’t yet explored. So, these markets made for a fun outing. Here are my opinions on each:
Ocean Beach Farmers’ Market
4900 Newport Ave
San Diego, CA 92107
Wednesdays 4 to 8 p.m. (4 to 7 p.m. in winter)
The Ocean Beach Farmers’ Market is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year! This farmers’ market wasn’t just about fruits and vegetables; there was a variety of fresh produce, flowers and plants, food, art and jewelry. People were singing and performing on the streets, and it was cool to hear local talent. The Ocean Beach Farmers’ Market also has scheduled live performances. You can check out the schedule on their website.
My favorite part about this farmers’ market was the jewelry vendors. I picked up awesome accessories, and I got to meet some nice local business owners. My favorite vendor was Victoria (@highfashionsinc), who sold the coolest handmade chokers. If you’re looking for some unique jewelry for Coachella like I am (or if you just want an awesome custom piece), you can message her on Instagram and see if she can create what you’re looking for!
This farmers’ market was smaller than I imagined, with its main vendors stretching along one long street a block away from the beach – but it had foods for every craving: nachos, desserts, pressed juices and smoothies, Indian, Mexican, Korean, African, pizza. There was a Mediterranean vendor where I ate the best, and biggest, gyro of my life. Flavors of East Africa, which is also at the SDSU Farmers’ Market every Thursday, pitched a tent at Ocean Beach. I get their veggie bowl with yellow rice and collared greens every Thursday after class, and it was nice to see the same workers at a different market.
Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market
519 W Cedar St
San Diego, CA 92101
Saturdays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
I personally preferred the Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market over the Ocean Beach Farmers’ Market. This market was bigger and had a wider variety of foods, drinks and desserts. Because it was on a weekend morning, there were more people and families walking around, which made it very lively. I did see a few of the same food vendors from Ocean Beach, but this farmers’ market seemed to have a lot less restaurant-style vendors and a lot more specialized vendors. Specialized booths served a variety of things such as chocolates, beef jerky, creme brulee, hot sauces, guacamole, paninis and crepes. This market stretched over a few blocks, so there was more to see, eat and buy (which was a hazard for my wallet).
My favorite part about the farmers’ market in Little Italy was the food. I bought chips and guacamole salsa, creme brulee, lemonade with chile and handmade chocolates. There was so much that I didn’t get to eat – which is enough to convince me to go back next weekend! While there were plenty of art and jewelry vendors, I noticed that this market was more art-centric and didn’t sell as much jewelry as the Ocean Beach Farmers’ Market. However, it was interesting to see everyone’s unique artwork. My favorite art vendors were these two men who sold handcrafted cards – they had one for every occasion!
Featured Image by Alexis Jimenez.