Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Farmers Market Coming to San Diego: Adams Ave.

If you're a fan of the Saturday Little Italy Mercato run by Catt Fields White, but live over in the Normal Heights/Kensington area, you're going to love this bit of news. On Sept. 9 (the first Wednesday after Labor Day) White is launching a new farmers market in your neighborhood on Adams at 40th St. The market will be held every Wednesday afternoon from 3 to 7 p.m.

Already she's got a terrific line up of vendors that include Schaner Farms (love their eggs!), Smit Orchards, Sage Mountain Farms, Randazzo Farms, Da Le Ranch, Omega Me Well, Viva Pops, and Knight Salumi.

In just over a year, White has made the Little Italy Mercato a go-to market for San Diegans who love the urban setting with its beautiful bay view and carefully selected vendors. Recently, she opened another stretch of Date St. to accommodate new vendors--close to 90 at this point. Plus, she's doing chef demos and other special features. With the new market, both regular customers and chefs who have been asking for another quality mid-week market, will be able to buy high-quality local organic produce and other items from farmers and producers they already have a relationship with.

One question I get a lot is do we have too many farmers markets already (about 30 in San Diego County) and I asked White if this new market adds to what some vendors complain about already--that they're being spread too thin.

"No, I don't," she said. "A quality market in the area will attract shoppers and farmers and vendors. Each good market has its own flavor and attracts new devotees, along with occasional visitors."

White does think that we'll continue to see some attrition as markets that have opened without a strong base of both farmers and shoppers fold. "Markets, like any other business, have to devote time to quality control, marketing, and customer appreciation," she noted. "In our case, we have two customer bases, farmers/vendors and shoppers, and we have to make sure that we create an environment that benefits both. We'll continue to do that at both markets, and I expect both to thrive as a result."

The Little Italy Mercato is held every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Date St. just off Kettner Blvd. Stay tuned for more information about the upcoming Adams Ave. market.

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  1. I'm sure my adams ave friends will be happy, and it gives me another option if I'm busy at the weekend, which is often. Cool. I hope it isnt spread too thin, it is a danger, as long as there are good vendors then people will go.

  2. I'd shop at farmers markets more often and for more of our food if there were a bigger variety of food vendors (the craft vendors hold nearly no interest for me).

    I already get a weekly CSA box (at a price far lower than the produce prices of the north county farmer's markets, plus the BWR CSA quality is higher). So I don't need to purchase much more produce. I do like the FM plant vendors, especially those that sell herbs and other plants that bear edibles. They are also very helpful with gardening advice.

    And we are a grain-free family so the many baked goods vendors don't tempt me at all.

    What I would like to see are more vendors that sell pastured eggs (eggs from hens that are truly free range - outdoors eating grasses and bugs and not just eating corn and soy in an enclosure); pastured meat and dairy products; and wild caught local seafood.

    Additionally, I'd like more vendors selling a bigger variety of raw nuts (I like to soak and dry nuts myself) and specialty products like flaked salt and seaweed. Locally roasted coffee or teas would also be interesting. I like to buy local avocado oil at the FM for my own use and for gifts, for example.

    I've greatly reduced the amount I buy at a grocery store (usually Trader Joe's) by buying directly from (mostly local) producers, and I'd like to reduce my supermarket purchases even further, but the SD area farmer's markets (specifically the north county coastal FM) just don't offer enough variety or range of products yet. As soon as they do, I'll be glad to say goodbye to Trader Joe's.

  3. This would be great if it wasn't on a weekday afternoon. Like many folks I work Mon-Fri.

  4. I've just heard about the new market from my daughter-in-law. They live just a couple blocks away and are very much looking forward to the grand opening.

    If it's anything like the Grand Lake Farmers Market in my own neighborhood park here is Oakland, it's going to be a huge success.

    Whole families will come to shop while the kids head for the play structures. If music is in the offing, everyone will be tempted to stretch out on the grass to listen to local musicians.

    With San Diego's marvelous weather, it's going to be a year-around attraction that people look forward to--not only as a source of fresh wholesome foods, but also as a community oriented event where you get to meet and greet friends and neighbors.

    Congratulations. You're in for a treat.