We are smack dab in the middle of summer. This means the season is here for wonderful summer produce. We have two great farmers markets in our fair city now. The markets give us access to locally grown crops, freshly picked and brought to market by these farmers without multiple layers of distributors. Here is your summer guide to the ‘can’t miss’ items at our local farmers markets:
Located at Lyons Avenue and Railroad Avenue, the market operates Saturdays from 8:30am until 12:30pm.
Vendor: Homeboy Bakeries
Can’t Miss: Cinnamon Bread
Details: Since 1992, Homeboy has been baking goodies and at the same time helping gang members get off the street and learn a trade. They bake a variety of wonderful bread, but their cinnamon bread is amazing and often sells out early.
Can’t Miss: Fresh Fish
Details: Based out of San Pedro, Blue Water works with various established fisheries to bring “whatever is fresh” to market. The seafood is wonderful. Keep an eye out for Arctic Char from Iceland.
Can’t Miss: Greek Yogurt
Details: Another vendor that is happy to let you sample their wonderful offerings. They offer a wide variety of tasty Greek Foods. But their Greek yogurt is the best I have had anywhere. My favorite flavor is a toss-up between fig and white pumpkin.
Can’t Miss: Wildflower Honey
Details: JJJ Bees started producing honey only 3 years ago, but their passion is apparent in their products. Their bees are moved around to produce honey and help farmers pollenate crops. The bees can be anywhere from Santa Paula to Palmdale or La Tuna Canyon pulling in the nectar that makes up their wonderful honey.
Can’t Miss: Vegetable Broth
Details: Dave makes a variety of wonderful Korean foods and he is happy to let you sample anything. But the winner for me was the vegetable broth. Amazing and flavorful, use it as a base for a soup or just drink it plain.
COC Farmers Market
Located in the parking lot at College of the Canyons in Valencia, the market is open Sundays from 8:30 until Noon.
Can’t Miss: Corn
Details: Tapia Brothers have deep ties to the SCV. They used to grow and sell corn at the Southeast corner of Newhall Ranch Road and Bouquet Canyon. Farmers for over 65 years, today they grow their wonderful corn in Encino at a stand where my family has bought corn since the 1970’s. Buy a Tapia ear of corn and a 25 cent ear from the local supermarket and do a side by side comparison. You will see why I have been such a long time customer.
Can’t Miss: Berries
Details: I was always disappointed by the berries I bought at local supermarkets. They often molded within a day or two. Not so with Pudwill Berries. Grown in beautiful Nipomo on the central coast, the berries are picked and quickly brought to market within a day or two. They can sit in my fridge for up to 10 days without molding. On top of it all, the berries taste incredible.
Can’t Miss: Heirloom Spinach
Details: While all of their produce is incredible, their heirloom spinach is divine. Grown on the cool central California coast near Lompoc.
Can’t Miss: Thomcord Grapes
Details: The Apkarian family has been farming in Reedly, CA for over 30 years. They grow awesome grapes, but I most look forward to the thomcord grapes. It is a cross between a Thompson seedless grape and a concord grape. Think of it as a concord grape minus the big seeds.
Vendor: Harry’s Berries
Can’t Miss: Strawberries
Details: While there are many vendors selling wonderful strawberries at the farmers market ranging from $6 to $10 a 3 pack, Harry’s sells a 3 pack of strawberries for $20. And, they sell out every week. There is a reason for this, the berries are amazing. You can always buy a single basket for $7.
Can’t Miss: Mushrooms
Details: There are many types of mushrooms, both wild and farmed. F & F grows two types, Shitake and Oyster. They produce these on their farm in Moorpark. Grown on things like cotton seed husks, millet or oak sawdust, it’s an incredible process.
Can’t Miss: Beef
Details: The cattle from Watkins roam pastures near Ojai eating only grass. They are never fed corn, grain or given antibiotics. The result is wonderful grassfed beef which is healthier for you and naturally high in omega 3’s.
Newhall and COC Market
These vendors operate at both markets
Can’t Miss: Peaches
Details: Based in Little Rock (Antelope Valley), some say that Tenerelli grows the best stone fruits in all of So Cal. In 2014, his peaches were chosen as the best in a blind taste test of peaches from 7 different farmers.
Can’t Miss: Eggs
Details: It’s a fact that eggs from free range chickens are better nutritionally than eggs from commercially produced caged hens. These chicken roam free in a certified organic orange grove in Fillmore and lay incredible eggs. The yolks are a deep orange color and packed with natural omega 3’s. Egg shell colors vary from white to shades of brown to blue, pink or green depending on the breed of chicken.
Can’t Miss: Fuji Apples
Details: In 2012, a blind taste test of 7 different fuji apples found Ha’s were the best. For over 30 years, they have grown apples high up in mountains in Tehachapi. Their apples are crisp and sweet. You will never eat a store bought apple after having one of theirs.