With cool winters, warm summers, NorCal’s climate supports a range of crops, from almonds and walnuts to juicy plums, peaches, tomatoes and olives. It’s no wonder some of the nation’s most ground-breaking chefs have migrated to the Bay Area and Napa Valley? to set up shop and sample the local bounty. Here, find five popular markets and fairs that offer a range of locally sourced crops and handcrafted products—make sure to stop in to support their efforts the next time you’re in the area.
FORT MASON CENTER FARMERS' MARKET - Hosted by the California Farmers’ Markets Association (CFMA), this weekly Sunday market takes place from 9:30am to 1:30pm at Fort Mason and typically includes 35 local growers and food purveyors. It’s the perfect place to find fresh ingredients for a Sunday brunch or picnic. Plus, the views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay are equally satisfying.
MARIN FARMERS' MARKET - This is the third-largest farmers’ market in all of California—so, bring a big bag! Founded in 1987, this market hosts more than 200 farmers, food vendors and artisans, offering everything from nut butters to organic dairy items and homemade soaps. It takes place every Sunday, 8am to 1pm at the Civic Center in San Rafael.
DANVILLE FARMERS' MARKET - Held every Saturday from 9am to 1pm at the Railroad Avenue Municipal Parking Lot, this fair is filled with fruits and vegetables from local farmers, along with fresh-cut flowers, breads and specialty food items. And don’t worry, no one will judge if several items you purchase don’t make it home—snacking on your haul is part of the fun!
OLD MONTEREY FARMERS' MARKET - When the summer sun comes out and the weather warms, this becomes the largest gathering of people in Monterey county, attracting more than 10,000 locals and tourists. The Old Monterey Farmers’ Market was established in 1991 and spans 3.5 city blocks. It runs year-round, but this open-air market is in its prime during the summer—from May to September it is open Tuesday evenings from 4-8pm. In addition to organic produce, find a range of arts and crafts, furniture, clothing, organic produce, flowers and pastries like baklava in the Baker’s Alley.
HEALDSBURG FARMERS' MARKET - One of the original 22 Certified Farmers’ Markets in California, this twice weekly event takes place Saturday from 8:30am to 12pm at the West Plaza Parking lot, and Tuesdays at the Downtown Plaza from 9am to 1pm. Come early and be sure to stock up on Costeaux French Bakery croissants and Nunez Tamales.