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Favorite Farmers' Markets in the West

Find organically grown veggies, bowls of steaming ramen, and friendly local vendors.

Asparagus from Zuckerman's Farm at San Francisco's Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

Courtesy Brie Mazurek / CUESA

May/June 2021 Issue

The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market on Saturdays is quite the weekly event! Lots of knowledgeable, kind vendors with endless delicious foods, pastries, and flavors to enjoy.”—Linda Justmann

“My favorite farmers’ market is at the College of San Mateo in San Mateo, California. There are tons of offerings—fresh fish, specialty salads, hummus, fresh chicken, and ramen sauces with noodles. There’s even a vendor who provides all types of mushrooms, plus food trucks and blade sharpeners. I always over-buy!”—Terri Cook

“The best and most diverse farmers’ market in the East Bay area of California has to be the Irvington Farmers’ Market on Sundays in Fremont, California. The market features international-style produce such as tomatillos, gai lan (Chinese broccoli), and fresh herbs like mint and Thai basil for pho. Ask someone how to cook the winter melon and you will start a debate!”—Alfred Jay Spielmann

“Go on a trip around the world with the sounds and colors at the Asian Farmers Market on Broadway in Sacramento. You’ll find seasonal veggies and fruits such as bitter melon, kumquats, and exotic leafy herbs grown on family farms. Once, while I was praising some yard-long beans, world-famous chef Mai Pham walked up to me and said, ‘Master chef Martin Yan [Yan Can Cook] would agree with you!’ Even more fun: Be sure to bargain!”—Elizabeth Xiu Wong

“The Gilroy (California) Farmers’ Market is charming and festive, and a great place to buy locally grown vegetables, fruit, and herbs. You’ll also find assorted crafts from regional vendors and yummy treats such as fresh peanuts, loaded baked potatoes, and bacon goodies sold from a converted school bus. My husband and I thoroughly enjoy visiting farmers’ markets, and this is one of our favorites. We especially love the additional garlic choices!”—Sally Devine

Cultural Roots Nursery at Old Oakland Farmers Market.

Andrea Boca

“The Old Oakland Farmers’ Market on Fridays in Oakland, keeps us up to our ears in fruits and vegetables all year long, from peaches and tangerines to pea shoots and mustard greens. The vendors are friendly and welcoming with affordable prices. My mom has been going there for decades. Lately, the outdoor market has been a particular blessing. It is something she looks forward to every week.”—Christina Eng

“The Coastside Farmers’ Market in the Rockaway Beach neighborhood of Pacifica, California, is a gem. It is small, without the large numbers of stalls that can make bigger markets hectic, but it still has a good variety. The vendors come from the San Joaquin Valley and the Salinas and Monterey areas, and sell goods such as honey, preserves, and prepared foods like tamales.”—Cynthia Woo

“The beauty of the cool mountain pine trees, fresh air, friendly people and pleasant shopping make the Show Low Farmers’ Market and Art Walk in the White Mountains of Arizona the most refreshing way to spend Saturday mornings all summer long.”—Julia Edens

“My favorite farmers market, the Thursday Farmers’ Market at the Marin Civic Center, is less than five miles from my home in San Rafael, California. I’ve been going to this charming market since I moved to Marin in 2005. It’s a small enough market to make the rounds and pick up everything from flowers to fresh bread and vegetables each week.”—Stacy Burroughs

Fresno State horticulture students share advice with the community at the Fresno State Gibson Farm Market.

Geoff Thurner / Fresno State

“The Gibson Farm Market on Fresno State University’s campus in Fresno, California, is our family’s favorite market. Many of the produce and products sold here have been grown, harvested, processed, and packaged by students. The market offers everything from milk and olive oil to seasonal fruits and vegetables. Summer is busy when the corn comes in!”—Liz Tyree

“Saturdays start early, with a trip right down the hill from my house to the San Mateo Farmers’ Market. Despite the variety, my visits are focused: bunches of red and golden beets, oroblanco, naan with lentil curry, and Liminal Coffee from Ethiopia—Chelchele is marvelous.”—John Pavolotsky

“The hands-down, very best farmers’ market is the Vineyard Farmers’ Market in Fresno, California. It’s a true ‘farmers’ market, where most stalls actually have the farmer who grew the produce right there for you to ask any questions you may have. The year-round market is set under a beautiful arbor with music playing in the background. You will most likely run into some of the best chefs in the Central Valley there, who also seem to know the best place to buy fresh, wholesome local produce.”—Michele Reynolds

“My favorite local farmers’ market is the California Avenue Farmers’ Market in Palo Alto, California, just a few minutes from Stanford University. They are open every Sunday, rain or shine, plus there’s free parking. They offer a wonderful assortment of veggies and fruit, nuts and jams, flowers, global foods, bakery goods, and warm smiles. Our family tries a new vegetable each month!”—Syd Hoffman

“The Live Oak neighborhood farmers’ market in Santa Cruz—on Sundays all year round—is a special place. Fresh bread, organic meats and seafood, produce from local farms, specialties from nearby restaurants and a wonderful French bakery are just a few of the delights to be found. The market has patio seating and live music. A wonderful way to enjoy a day at the beach.”—Patricia Lamson

People browse at the Idaho Falls Farmers Market on Memorial Drive.

August Film Co.

“My favorite farmers’ market in the West is the Idaho Falls Farmers Market. It’s not too crowded to enjoy. You can find what you are looking for, the people are friendly, and the produce is so fresh. We go every Saturday and eat well all summer.”—Linda Hill

Old downtown Auburn in the Sierra Nevada foothills has a great farmers’ market. Fresh and local fruits and vegetables, plus jams and cheeses made nearby are all available.”—Kathleen Percival

“Towering trees and Temescal Creek make Temescal Farmers’ Market a countrified oasis in the urban setting of the Rockridge District of Oakland. You can pre-order items and pick them up to take home, or grab a coffee and pastry and shop the aisles.”—Bill Kaufner

“The farmers’ market in the historic fruit-canning town of Campbell, California, is my favorite weekly pilgrimage. Held outside in downtown—near the old cannery—this market has everything from local produce and fresh fish and meats to cheeses and baked goods, plus homemade toiletries and eclectic finds from talented artists. That’s not all: Treat yourself to an array of global fare sure to entice the senses as you stroll the town’s main drag, lined with mom-and-pop shops and eateries.”—Cynthia Bournellis