The Best Farmers' Markets in San Diego

Bright and colourful California farmers market
Bright and colourful California farmer's market | © Danita Delimont / Alamy Stock Photo
Katie Watkins

Home to over 5,000 farms, San Diego‘s markets abound with local fruits and veggies.

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With its Mediterranean-like climate, San Diego is an ideal spot for agriculture. It currently reigns as the avocado capital of the U.S., and its farmers’ markets are replete with fresh ‘cados, alongside other local products ranging from strawberries to cut flowers and honey. Here are six markets worth a visit.

Little Italy Mercato

Running five blocks down Date street, shoppers at the Little Italy Mercato farmers’ market are rewarded with an ocean view in the background. Lined with over 200 tents, the market takes place every Saturday (rain or shine) from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Alongside local produce, there are fresh eggs, prepared food options, artisan goods, and flowers.

Hillcrest Farmers’ Market

Touting the slogan “Fresh & Fabulous, just like Hillcrest”, the Hillcrest Farmers Market is held at the DMV parking lot every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There are about 175 vendors each week selling the typical array of local products, flowers, and arts and crafts. The market is also known for their international “food court,” which features prepared dishes from cuisines around the world, including Brazilian cheese bread, Korean BBQ, and East African bites.

State Street Farmers Market

Ideal for midweek produce shopping, the State Street Farmers Market sets up shop in Carlsbad Village every Wednesday afternoon. Slightly smaller than some of the other markets, State Street is currently at capacity, with just over 50 vendors. Each spring they host a “Shop with the Chef” event where customers receive a tour of the market, followed by a multi-course meal at a nearby restaurant that’s cooked entirely with fresh ingredients from the market.

Poway Farmers Market

Farther inland, the city of Poway hosts a market with 65 vendors every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Old Poway Park area. After visiting the market, customers can take advantage of exploring Old Poway Park, which has numerous historical buildings. It also contains vintage trains that passengers can ride on, including the only operational steam locomotive open to the public in San Diego County, the No. 3 Baldwin Steam Locomotive.

Leucadia Farmers Market

Held at Paul Ecke Elementary School in Encinitas, the Leucadia Farmers Market has been a neighborhood staple since 2005. It’s open on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and all proceeds go to support the school’s PTA and the Leucadia Main Street Association. The 75 vendors include flower and plant sellers, a certified organic section, and specialty items like beef, seafood, and baked goods. For anyone whose knives are getting dull from chopping up all of those farmers’ markets’ fresh veggies, there is a booth that offers knife sharpening once a month.

Vista Farmers Market

The oldest market in San Diego County, the Vista Farmers Market has been selling fresh produce since 1981. It’s open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. All 53 of their farmers are certified local and organic, while over 30 prepared food artisans sell everything from freshly baked bread to tamales and juices.

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