Farmers Marketing Around
Many foodies visit their favorite farmers markets religiously; the most adventurous foodies try to visit them all. We love the familiar but also crave the new. Do you?
In addition to the Thursday and Saturday markets in SLO, we’ve ridden bikes north to the Saturday market in Templeton and south to the Friday night Avila Beach Farmers Market. Visiting a couple of new markets recently reminded us how much variety each gathering of farmers and producers brings to the table.
Chef Michael Reyes of MEZE had mentioned that he prefers the Baywood Farmers market, which piqued our interest to visit this Monday afternoon market that takes over Santa Maria Street. If we only shopped at our regular market, I’d never have a chance to purchase the only dry-farmed watermelon in SLO County or sample a tasty Joycup made with local, sustainable, and natural ingredients including fair trade chocolate.
The layout of this market encourages visiting among neighbors and shoppers as we mingle, travel, and linger along a long block of Santa Maria Street with interesting vendors on both sides of the street. We kept running into people we knew who always shop here, another benefit to trying out new markets.
We also heard about some new features of the SLO Sunday market near Kennedy Fitness off of Tank Farm Road so we had to check it out. On a pretty Sunday morning, Mr. Spice and I rode bikes to the newest SLO certified farmers market to discover some new producers. We enjoyed sharing plant stories with Serena Wyatt of Grown from the Heart in Atascadero and took home some healthy herb seedlings including chervil, cilantro, and dill. This market also provides access to several special products not available at other SLO markets such as hydroponic lettuces produced by Magnolia Produce and Flowers from Templeton.
When it comes to farmers markets, it pays to be promiscuous. Especially if you’re in a rut and always return to the same market, visit some neighboring markets to experience a wider world of Central Coast produce, products, and farmers.