Looking for ways to enjoy the health and freshness of National Farmers Market Week this August? You'll find local markets across the nation, but use this guide for tips on where to find the freshest produce on the West Coast, from Washington to California.
Every August, people across America gather to celebrate their local farmers and artisans during National Farmers Market Week. This days-long celebration shines a spotlight on local foods and goods, but farmers’ markets are thriving hubs of activity all year in many places around the country. You can find them in numerous places, but many of the biggest and best farmers’ markets in the U.S. are on the West Coast. With countless acres of farmland and optimal growing conditions, this part of the country rarely fails to produce a bountiful harvest. From Washington to California, these top markets are the ones to put on your must-visit list.
Pike Place Market
A Seattle staple, Pike Place Market is renowned for its fresh produce, meats, and produce hailing from more than 80 area farmers. The oldest continuously operating farmers’ market in the country, Pike Place started in 1907 and now attracts more than 10 million visitors per year.
If you’re looking for a taste of Washington, this is the place to visit. Along with traditional market fare, you can enjoy Seattle favorites like Beecher‘s mac and cheese, Piroshky Piroshky pastries, and Daily Dozen Doughnuts. Tucked alongside the local farmers and craftsmen are more than 200 unique shops and more than 80 restaurants. It’s never been so easy to spend the day shopping and dining.
Portland Farmers Market
Portland is known as a foodie hotspot, so it’s no surprise that its farmers’ market tops the list. If you’re in the area on a Saturday morning, head to Portland State University for the Portland Farmers Market, a pop-up market that boasts more than 200 vendors throughout the year with 140 stalls.
In addition to some of Portland’s freshest foods, you can find delicacies like yak and boar, Portland favorites like toffee from Alma Chocolate, and breakfast sandwiches from Pine State Biscuits. After filling your tummy and your shopping bags, stay to enjoy the live music or experience one of the other special events, such as a chef demonstration or a food education class.
Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
No trip to San Francisco is complete without a stop at Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Located in an expansive venue with both indoor and outdoor booths, this market boasts 40,000 shoppers each week, with Saturday mornings attracting the biggest crowds. Other market days include Tuesdays and Thursdays.
In addition to typical farm products, you can find a variety of prepared foods and goods made by local artisans. If you want to try artisan street food, visit on a Thursday, but if you prefer a delicious hot meal from a local restaurant, stop by on Saturday, when the market invites area eateries to share some of their specialties.
Davis Farmers Market
Since it first opened in 1977, more than two million visitors have flocked to Davis Farmers Market in Davis, California. The city sits just west of Sacramento, near the heart of some of the state’s best farmland. The year-round market is open Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons and offers an array of local produce, meats, eggs, honey, baked goods, and plants. In addition to fresh eats, the family-friendly market features live music, an International Food Faire, two playgrounds, and fun activities for the kids, including face painting and a bicycle-powered carousel.
San Luis Obispo Farmers’ Market
Every Thursday evening, five blocks in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo shut down and transform into a bustling hub of local farmers, artisans, and craftsmen. This central California town has some of the freshest produce the state has to offer, and a visit is always worthwhile. After shopping for fresh produce like strawberries, oranges, and even freshly-picked nuts, grab a dinner of pulled pork or barbecue ribs and enjoy the market’s live entertainment.
Santa Monica Farmers Market
Santa Monica is best known for its sunny beaches and carefree vibe, but it’s also home to one of California’s best farmers’ markets. The city’s pop-up markets change location, depending on the day of the week, but what doesn’t change is the festive feel that accompanies each market. For the biggest and best selection, head to the corner of Second Street and Arizona Avenue early Wednesday mornings. If you’re lucky, you may even see top local chefs picking up fresh fare for their menus in Los Angeles’ top restaurants.
Did we miss any of your favorite West Coast farmers’ markets? Let us know where you like to shop for the freshest selections on our Facebook page.