Searching for the perfect Farmers’ Market

Brooke Lintag

Charlie Brown does not have to look any further for the perfect pumpkin. That and anything else that he prefers hand made or locally grown.
Any of the San Diego County Certified Farmers’ Markets, open Tuesday through Thursday, hosts a number of vendors selling an array of produce and products.
The majority of sellers at the markets boast that they provide a much more desirable alternative to big name supermarkets.
“We all sell (fruit) that are organic, healthy and fresh,” Rosendo Godina, a produce vendor, said. “It’s the best fruit they can buy.”
In order to sell products at a farmers’ market one must be certified, showing that the products are sold by the grower, grown in the state as well as having met the state’s quality standards. Before the start of every market the vendors are also double checked by proper officials.
There are a large number of farmers’ markets being held Tuesday through Thursday and each at varying times to accommodate those with almost any schedule. Not only that, but the farmers markets are held within the communities, so that there is no need of having to drive anywhere farther than 15 minutes away from your home.
Many customers bike or walk to their local farmers’ market. In fact, plenty of them are regular customers that frequent a few vendors. Many of them know one another by name and speak to one another with familiarity.
“Lots of tourists come around,” France Manning, a vendor for Polito Farms, said. “Lots of regular customers come too. I just love when people stick around and browse though.”
The Coronado market, open every Tuesday from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., keeps things simple and provides mostly produce and a few flower vendors. However, a few of their flower vendors have quite an impressive selection.
For those that do not find the promise of fresh and natural produce too alluring, fear not. Farmers’ markets have plenty of food vendors.
Taking a stroll down the Otay Ranch market, held every Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., is equivalent to watching a whole season of Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations”.
Everything from gourmet tamales, gourmet desserts, Jamaican food, Thai cooking and so much more is available to you. Almost all of them provide a small sample for curious food aficionados.
The Otay Ranch market also boasts vendors for handmade jewelry, hand made bags, baby clothes, etc. There is even a booth that is a “pet parlor and snack shop” for dogs, according to the seller’s banner.
However, the most interesting aspect of this particular market happens to be the three llamas that are kept next to an Astro Jump.
A nice mixture of fresh produce, prepared food and crafts vendors can be found in markets such as the one in downtown Chula Vista, open every Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
They have some gourmet olive oils and cheeses for the at-home chef to try, and some delectable carne asada, crepes, tamales and a large assortment of hot foods that are ready to eat.
However, one thing is for certain when visiting any farmers’ market, make sure to bring extra money. With the plethora of services, foods and crafts to purchase, this is definitely a place where you arrive hoping to buy one thing and leave having bought everything but.
So, on second thought, unless Charlie Brown finds a job… he should probably stick to his pumpkin patch.