California’s farms produce two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts. To enjoy them at their freshest, buy them directly from the growers at any one of Orange County’s vibrant farmers markets. Here are five that stand out for their stellar selections and noteworthy locations.
Huntington Beach Farmers Market at Peter’s Landing
16400 Pacific Coast Highway
Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Livelier than your average farmers market, this gathering of fruit and veggie vendors takes place in Peter’s Landing, the upscale shopping destination with its very own marina. Guest slips are available, so set sail and bring your bounty home in your boat. Live music and a petting zoo make for a festive atmosphere.
The Great Park Certified Farmers Market - Irvine
Orange County Great Park
6350 Marine Way
Sundays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A farmers market with its very own farm! The Orange County Great Park grows its own assortment of produce which is available for purchase along with more fruits and vegetables offered by local growers. Crafts and artisan food round out the offerings. Plus, learn growing techniques, pickling and canning tips from Master Gardeners at the Great Park’s 1-acre Farm + Food Lab.
Laguna Hills Farmers Market
24155 Laguna Hills Mall
Fridays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
If a shopping mall parking lot doesn’t sound like an inspired location, then at least consider it for sheer convenience. The parking is ample and there is no petting zoo or live music to distract from the smorgasbord of ingredients on display -- just booth after booth of SoCal’s finest yields. For a quick grab-and-go, it can’t be beat.
Newport Beach Farmers’ Market
Newport Beach Pier
Sundays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Quality provisions abound on the pier. This farmers market is “Farmer Mark” approved. Founded by an investment-banker-turned-farmer, this is one of several affiliated markets that are said to operate at a higher standard, hand selecting its vendors and complying with California Certified Farmers’ Markets, an organization that ensures a direct link between farmers and the buying public. In other words, no middlemen. That means you’re getting food straight from the source.
San Juan Capistrano Farmers Market
Downtown San Capistrano
El Camino Real and Yorba Street
Wednesdays 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., spring and summer, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., fall and winter
Historic Downtown San Juan Capistrano is worth the visit alone. But schedule your next trip around its weekly farmers market so that you can have your choice of nutritious, locally grown goods, plus take a tour of the Mission Basilica and other points of interest.