Two San Diego Area Farmers Markets and Vintage Shops Nearby

During my trip to San Diego last May, I shared many of my culinary and shopping adventures by tweeting and posting updates to the MHK Facebook page . There was a great response and interest from readers and I was thrilled to know that many of you shop at farmers markets, many in California. What a great place for fresh, local and organic food.

I was also surprised to learn how many of you shared my love of vintage pieces, which I believe is a great way to have unique, inspiring pieces of home decor and furniture without being wasteful. One person’s junk can truly be someone else’s treasure, especially when one has a vision for old pieces recycled as new. Lots of older pieces are also incredibly sturdy and have character not often found in cookie-cutter items mass-manufactured with synthetic, perhaps toxic materials.

More on the vintage pieces later…

When I lived in Northern California nearly a decade ago, I was always amazed at how fresh everything tasted in comparison to food elsewhere in the country. It makes sense once you visit farms and/or farmers markets and speak to the farmers about where and how they grow their food. They’ve been on the organic/sustainable/responsible agriculture movement many years ahead of the rest of the country–and it shows.

 Beautiful organic swiss chard from a farm in Vista, CA. Just look at the color varieties in their stems!

Shoppers at these markets are quite savvy- they know what they want and expect it to be fresh and organic. Most seem to know how to cook what they buy, too. Reminding me of much of Europe, there’s a bit more sophistication, perhaps confidence, in the air. It’s not food snobbery; rather, it’s having experience with good food and informative vendors- something the rest of the country is now picking up on with fervor.

And I’m so glad.

We get beautiful, organic blueberries from Michigan, too, that perhaps rival these California ones.

It’s a good competition to be participating in…

San Diego truly is an edible county indeed. There’s no reason it shouldn’t be…

San Diego has more farmers markets than I can count. Even if you visit for just a few days, you’ll be able to find one to browse and pick up a few fresh things for your short or long-term stay.

In May, these root vegetables were beautiful and vibrant and grown organically on farms in nearby Vista and other areas.

These blood oranges were some of the juiciest and flavorful I’d ever tasted. I thought I was in Sicily for just a moment.

Strawberry plants in May? If I lived there, I would have bought several and put them in hanging containers. I know exactly what I would grow if my abode were in that gorgeous Mediterranean climate.

 

 

 

There is still one caveat to farmers markets anywhere.

Know your farmer.

See these gorgeous looking strawberries below?

The were actually grown with pesticides.

The reason I know is because of my sister-in-law’s pre-screening of all the vendors before purchasing anything. She runs farmers markets of her own in Arizona and ensures that all her vendors grow organic goods. In all my excitement at the market that day, I didn’t bother to ask, but she gently guided us to all the vendors who grow without chemicals.

Non-organic strawberries look deceptively good- you’d never be able to tell the difference just by looking at them

Unfortunately, it does happen that not only do credible vendors (i.e. farmers) grow with chemicals, but there are also people (non-farmers) who set up shop by virtue of buying produce from large warehouses or other places where they can get large volumes of fresh goods. They set up a stand at farmers markets and sell. One good way to detect these people out is to ask a few questions about where the food comes from and how it’s grown. Most of the time, they have absolutely no idea at all. At least farmers who do spray with chemicals can and will explain how and why they do it- an honest answer for you.

Look at this beautiful sugar cane! How much fun would it be to bring it home and use in drinks- so natural and processed by you.

Sunflowers are always beautiful, in my opinion. I love them even more in sunny climates like California that remind me of fields and fields of them I’ve seen on my travels through Tuscany.

These white radishes and purple and white leeks were beautiful enough to make me sad that it was our last day in California. As we strolled through Solana Beach’s farmers market, I wished I could shop there for the day and take so many things home to make a nice pot of soup. Seafood soup would be ideal for the brisk day it was, and of course the fresh Pacific seafood nearby.

I got over it quickly with a moutful of these savory fish tacos from La Playita Seafood bought right at the eastern end of the market, where all the food stalls are located. La Playita does not fry their fish in any animal fats so we were good to go. I don’t think I’ve been so happy to eat a fish taco, for some reason, though I should have thought more about the possibility of radiation in the food from the recent tsunami and subsequent nuclear accident at Fukishima…

In my constant amazement at what grows so well in California that is so similar to what grows in Italy, I just had to photograph one of my favorite foods, the artichoke. Did you know it grows like this?

It can be a bit hard to see among the backdrop of other greens, hence the arrow I drew in for you, just in case.

After my fresh produce and hearty, halal fish taco fix, I needed an eye-candy shopping fix. For those in the family who may not like vintage, they were slightly forced to find something in there to enjoy because these shop owners know how to make old stuff look elegant and beautiful. No junk-jokes coming from my husband that day…

I’m on the lookout for vintage chandeliers. If you are, too, this is the place to find one–at a pretty penny, but they are beautiful.

You might have to have a real vision for this yellow one. Have a beach house, anyone?

I was at the Mermaid’s Mercantile in Solana Beach.

Where on earth do they find this stuff? I’d love to go shopping with the ladies who do find it, though.

They also reupholster furniture for customers. These chairs above really need it.

Again, one must have a vision for these things…

 Or, just leave them as-is. Some say the rust look is…well, rustic.

If that’s not your thing, there’s also some really cool stores that make rustic in a very new, modern way.

I loved the way the store Solo, displays their home decorating ideas as well as the many varieties of books on art and home design a la California style. It’s sort of an earthier, more contained version of Anthropologie stores, minus the clothing.

Just makes you want to go home and do something new with your space at home.

And if not the interior of the home, there’s always whatever outdoor space you’ve got…

What are your favorite places to shop for fresh organic produce, vintage or ecclectic home interior or garden items? I’d love to hear about your spots for finding the things that make your home uniquely yours.

Shopping Resources from this Article

Farmers Markets

I love the hours of some of the SoCal farmers market- more time to get other things done in the morning, like heading out to the beach…

La Playita Seafood and Temecula Olive Oil Company have postings in Solana Beach

 

Carlsbad Village Farmers Market

Wednesdays & Saturdays, 1-5 pm

at Roosevelt Street between Grand Avenue and Carlsbad Village Dr.

Carlsbad, CA 92008

 

Solana Beach Farmers Market

Saturdays, 1pm-5pm

410 S. Cedros Avenue

Solana Beach, CA 92075

 

Good Real Food at SoCal Farmers Markets or Nearby

La Playita Seafood                                                                  

5135 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.

San Diego, CA 92117

(858) 565.2300

 

Temecula Olive Oil Company

Flavorful and fresh olive oils from the olives groves nearby

various locations, but the one near the Solana Beach farmers market is at:

342 S. Cedros Avenue

Solana Beach, CA 92075

(858) 847.9007

 

My Picks for Vintage or Ecclectic Shopping in the Carlsbad and Solana Beach Areas

 Beautiful books on art and architecture at Solo on Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach

 

Mermaid’s Mercantile

315 S. Cedros Avenue

Solana Beach, CA 92075

(858) 755-7630

 

Solo

309 S. Cedros Avenue

Solana Beach, CA 92075

(858) 794-9016

 

Cokas Diko Furniture Store

some of the most beautiful, earthy southern California-style furntiture I’ve seen. It’s worth a visit, even if just for ideas on how to decorate your home in this style.

412 S. Cedros Avenue

Solana Beach, CA 92075

(858) 481.4341

Vintage chandelier from Mermaid’s Mercantile

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