Orange County is a great place to be if you want to buy local produce and visit interactive farmers markets. Residents and guests have a few options:
SoCo Farmers Market in Costa Mesa
It is open 9 am to 2 pm on Saturdays
This market was started by tomato grower Mark Anderson in 2009. He was selling his produce at various local farmers markets and was not entirely happy with the way things were done. Most farmers markets were run just as events for fees and profits, with no attention to the needs of the farmers. Unsatisfied with the way business was done, M. Anderson decided to open his own farmers market.
His strategies were rewarding and now he runs 5 markets in Los Angeles and Orange County, including this one in SoCo.
What is so special about this farmers market, you might ask? It has live music every week, balloon artist for the youngest shoppers, and workshops for parents of babies on how to make organic baby food at home. You can by local veggies, artisan breads, hummus, canned goods, jams, and jellies at this event.
The main philosophy behind Anderson’s success is his insider knowledge of what it takes to run a successful farm and his unwavering support of small farmers. He believes that a quality customer service directly influences the quality of produce, so he always puts farmers first.
Anderson is a great believer in healthy lifestyle and runs a non-profit organization Sprouts of Promise, where families can learn about healthy eating habits.
Irvine Certified Farmers Market at Mariners Church
8 am to 12 pm on Saturdays
This is probably the most popular farmers market in OC. It used to be held at the University Center near UC Irvine, but it outgrew the space and moved to the Mariners Church after 20 years. The church has plenty of parking and space for farmers. Despite that, the isles are still very crowded and hard to navigate as many shoppers seek fruits and vegetables, local honeys, fresh flowers, cheeses, baked goods, and organic meats.
Many families consider this Saturday morning farmers market a highlight of their day. It can take just an hour to buy amazing fresh produce, great coffee, artisan deli meats, pesto, dips, and more. Shoppers also love to buy flowers, handmade crafts, and even clothing items.
Families can take a break after shopping and enjoy one of the booths selling authentic Mexican, Japanese, Chinese foods, Barbeque, pastries, freshly squeezed juices, and many other healthy foods.
The farmers market has plenty of entertainment and live 70s-80s music to remember good old times.
The parking is plentiful at 8 am, but it gets crowded by 9. The later you come the longer the lines will be. The market is very popular among all kinds of age groups and ethnicities. You will see young families, couples, and older people here.
Kids can enjoy a short train ride to complete this wholesome family activity.
Downtown Fullerton Farmers Market
4 pm to 8.30 pm on Thursdays
Most Farmers Markets are open on Saturdays, so this is a wonderful exception. It offers music, beers, and a great atmosphere to start your weekend right.
The market is small, but very popular. It has wine and beer gardens and makes a fantastic spot for a date. It is within a walking distance for many couples living in Fullerton who enjoy a laid-back atmosphere with live music and great shopping.
The market is open from April to October and offers a great variety of local farm produce. In addition to that, shoppers can enjoy various foods from vendors: fresh bread from Old Town Baking C., pizza from Olive Wood Pizza mobile, and many more.
Little visitors have kids corner dedicated for various activities. The farmers market hosts many special events. One such event is a dog night in August. The last Thursday of October is dedicated to all things Halloween. Kids are encouraged to come in costumes and trick or treat vendors and farmers.