Farmers’ Market Fresh: Where to Get the Green Goods in Your ‘Hood

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With all the rain we’ve had this year, everything is growing like gangbusters. That means that this is the perfect time to head to your nearby farmers’ market with the kids. With samples galore you just might score some major parent points by getting them to try a fruit or veggie that they’ve never had before. Bonus – you can even make a day of your farmers’ market outing as many also offer tasty lunch options, shopping from local artisans and entertainment for kids. Read on to find the scoop on your local market!

Photo courtesy of Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market

San Francisco

Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market
This massive farmers’ market has been serving up farm-fresh goods to urban dwellers since 1993. Open three days a week, you can grab what you need for the week or come back in a few days to re-stock. All your goodies weighing you down? Use the market’s Veggie Valet service where you can park your goods until you are done shopping. Looking to educate the next generation of eaters, the market offers a free Foodwise Kids program for elementary school kids to learn about seasonal eating, taste some new produce and learn how to cook with what’s available.

When: Year-round. Saturdays (8 a.m. – 2 p.m.), Tuesdays and Thursdays (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.)
Where: 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, Ca

Heart of the City Farmers’ Market
Every Wednesday and Sunday local farmers set up their stands in the United Nations Plaza to sell veggies and fruits, jams and jellies, cheese and eggs, and more. Run by the farmers themselves, this nonprofit farmers’ market aims to keep the prices low and even accepts EBT cards, WIC vouchers and senior farmers market nutrition vouchers. Their “Healthy Heart of the City” campaign includes nutrition education outreach with local schools, after-school programs and supportive housing buildings, as well as over 1,000 pounds of produce donated each week. They offer extra-long market hours but come early for the best selection.

When: Year-round. Sundays (7 a.m. – 5 p.m.), Wednesdays (7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.)
Where: United Nations Plaza, Market Street between 7th and 8th Streets, San Francisco, Ca

Photo courtesy of Malia C. via Yelp


San Rafael Market
This market is the third largest farmers’ market in California with nearly 200 local farmers, food purveyors and artisans offering their products for sale. Buy some locally-grown and organic produce, fresh milk and cheese, handmade bath products and fresh-baked sweets. Take a break from shopping to swing by the kids area where they can bounce on some bounce houses and slide down the slides.

When: Year-round. Thursdays and Sundays (8 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
Where: 3501 Civic Center Dr, San Rafael, Ca

Photo of Campbell Farmers’ Market courtesy of Stephen Efting

South Bay

Campbell Farmers’ Market
This massive market takes over downtown Campbell every Sunday. The area near Third Street is full of food vendors serving crepes, corn on the cob, tamales and more. Get there early if you want to grab some of the amazing baked goods from Manresa Bread Project as folks line up at their booth even before the market opens. Keep walking down the street to find dozens of fruit and veggie purveyors (plus the kid-favorite kettle corn). The end of the block is devoted to artisans selling their wares and even some plants that you can take home and grow in your garden. Looking for a teacher gift or housewarming present? Grab one of the gorgeous orchids sold there at very reasonable prices.

When: Year-round. Sundays (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
Where: Campbell Avenue between Third Street and Central Avenue, Campbell, Ca

Willow Glen Farmers’ Market
Grass-fed meat, the sweetest strawberries you can find and free-range eggs are favorite products at this market behind the Garden Theater in downtown Willow Glen. It’s more petite than many Bay Area markets but offers a ton of selection for the size. Park in the nearby neighborhood and walk the street after you shop. You can find some good kid-friendly eats at Bill’s Cafe or Crepevine.

When: May through October. Saturdays (9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.)
Where: Behind the Garden Theater, 1165 Lincoln Avenue, San Jose, Ca

Saratoga Farmers’ Market
Held at West Valley Community College, this farmers’ market offers what many do not – TONS of free parking. With over 50 farmers and food purveyors taking up space here every Saturday, you can find fresh fish, Chinese long beans and more types of squash than you’ve ever seen. Kids will love the shave ice stand and honey vendor. Don’t pass up the rotisserie chicken truck – it makes an easy dinner with some asparagus or broccoli on the side.

When: Year-round. Saturdays (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
Where: West Valley Community College, Parking Lot 3, 14000 Fruitvale Ave, Saratoga, Ca

Photo courtesy of Coastside Farmers Market


Coastside Farmers’ Market
The Peninsula is home to tons of local farms so it’s no surprise that there are great farmers’ markets here. With two Coastside Farmers’ Market locations to choose from, you can grab your greens on Wednesday in Pacifica or Saturday in Half Moon Bay. Pick up some fresh-caught fish to go along with your seasonal peaches and blackberries. Top your table with deep red dahlias and bring home a pie for dessert.

When: May 1 – December 21. HMB: Saturdays (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.). Pacifica: Wednesdays (2:30 – 6:30 p.m.)
Where: HMB: Shoreline Station, Half Moon Bay, Ca. Pacifica: Old Country Road and Rockaway Beach Avenue, Pacifica, Ca

Mountain View Farmers’ Market
Consistently voted one of the best farmers’ markets in the Bay Area, the Mountain View farmers’ market has over 80 purveyors. Live music and kids entertainment are a staple. Grab a coconut from the fresh juice vendor and give the kids a refreshing treat. The line for Acme bread is always long but worth the wait if you have the time.

When: Year-round. Sundays (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
Where: Mountain View Caltrain Station, 600 West Evelyn Avenue, Mountain View, Ca

Photo courtesy of Jack London Square Farmers’ Market

East Bay

Jack London Square Farmers’ Market
This staple of the Oakland food scene has been providing fruits and veggies to the community since 1989. Recently, the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) took over running this weekly market with the goal to offer high-quality, nutritious food to the community at a reasonable price. Swing by the CUESA booth to get your parking at the Washington Square Garage validated ($0.75 for the first hour). When you have finished your shopping, make a stop at the marina to check out the boats.

When: Year-round. Sundays (10 a.m. – 3 p.m.)
Where: Water Street at Broadway, Oakland, Ca

Pleasanton Farmers’ Market
Bring your knives to get sharpened while you shop and buy some mushrooms from Vacaville, honey from Concord and sprouts from Watsonville. Kids will love the resident clown and balloon guy who regularly makes an appearance as well as the ample samples.

When: Year-round. Saturdays (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
Where: West Angela Street at Main Street, Pleasanton, Ca

Got a favorite farmers’ market that didn’t make our list? Give it a shout-out below!

– Kate Loweth

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