Everyone loves a good farmers market. An open-air market full of fresh produce, great face-to-face interactions with farmers, chefs and artisans, and a perfect place to educate yourself or your family on fruits, vegetables and health. In addition to offering locally sourced fresh produce and goods to the community, farmers markets help preserve farmlands, and promote economic stability and sustainability. Luckily, here in Southern California, we have the optimal weather for farmers markets and a huge variety of local farmers and artisans to choose from. 

Irvine Certified Farmers Market

Taking place on Saturday mornings at Mariners Church, this is a local favorite for farmers markets in the area. This large market has tons of vendors, offering something for everybody. We’re talking about locally grown Asian vegetables, fresh seafood, honeys, organic and non-GMO fruits and vegetables, grass-fed organic meats and cheeses, the best nut selection in the area, live music, and more. This market isn’t the cheapest, but the quality of goods and foods are well worth the cost. The vibe and atmosphere at this market is friendly, welcoming and plentiful. 5001 Newport Coast Drive, Irvine; Sat., 8 a.m.-noon.

O.C. Great Park Certified Farmers Market

The Great Park Certified Farmers Market is the quaint but lively market taking place on Sunday mornings in the center of the gorgeous Great Park, near the Palm Court Arts Complex. This destination farmers market has delicious vegan cheeses, handmade salsas and hot sauces, fresh organic produce, wood-fired pizzas made on the spot, locally sourced meats, a good selection of food trucks, handmade natural pet foods, Hawaiian shave ice and other custom desserts, some of the best empanadas around, a great selection of artisan pickles, olives and nuts, and a ton of other independent small businesses. 6950 Marine Way, Irvine; Sun., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

(Courtesy of Orange Home Grown Farmers & Artisans Market)

Outside the Bubble

Orange Home Grown Farmers & Artisans Market

Although the Orange Home Grown Farmers & Artisans Market is all the way in Old Towne Orange, this is a huge farmers market event every Saturday and is definitely worth the journey. The vendors here offer amazing locally grown fruits and vegetables, sustainably sourced eggs, meat, seafood, cheese (vegan and non-vegan), hummus, spreads, salsas, baked goods and other artisan products. The crowd is lively and excited. There is usually live music or an awesome DJ, a kid’s club area, cooking demos, a pet-sitting area, yoga classes onsite, and a ton of different food trucks for people to enjoy. 303 W. Palm Ave., Orange; Sat., 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Laguna Beach Farmers Market

The Laguna Beach Farmers Market is an intimate and high quality market. Open to the public Saturday mornings, this market has very few food vendors but a great curated selection of produce, meats, cheeses, fresh baked goods, organic juices and kombuchas, spreads, dips, honeys and salsas. Most vendors here offer samples of some of their best sellers, which is a great plus, but you might want to leave your dogs at home (they’re not as welcome here as most other farmers markets). If you head west for this gem, you’ve definitely got to try the jumbo tamales and the crepes.Parking Lot 12, 521 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach; Sat., 8 a.m.-noon.

Tustin Certified Farmers Market

The Tustin Certified Farmers Market is one of the more affordable farmers markets in the area. On top of that, it takes place in gorgeous Old Town Tustin near Cream Pan, making it a great little mid-week jaunt for fresh ingredients and tasty treats. They offer free parking for guests of the Farmers Market, a great assortment of Asian fruits and vegetables, amazing hummus, fresh bread, eggs, seafood, flowers, salsas and oils. They also have a good, yet small, selection of food vendors, with freshly made kettle corn, tamales and fresh dog food! El Camino Real and 3rd St., 245 El Camino Real, Tustin; Wed., 9 a.m.-1 p.m.