‘Tis the Season

Sacramento farmers markets abound this time of year

By Steph Rodriguez
May 2019

In Sacramento, farmers market season is pretty much year-round. But in May, many seasonal open-air markets really start to sprout.

With dozens of choices to snag sun-kissed berries and crisp veggies, I wanted to share my favorite markets to visit throughout the farm-to-fork capital. Each market has its own unique features, especially those that blend artisan vendors with local farm stands.

In Midtown on Saturday mornings the smell of fresh crepes and empanadas waft through the air as veggie lovers fill their baskets with the region’s colorful bounty. In front of the MARRS Building on 20th Street, farmers stack purple carrots and kale while clothing and soap vendors sell their original threads and suds. Must-haves include unicorn-shaped macarons from Love + Macarons, beef empanadas from Che’s Urban Eats and beautiful bouquets of wildflowers from Cabrillo Farms. 

In the Oak Park neighborhood beginning in May, McClatchy Park hosts live music during its Saturday farmers market, along with cooking demonstrations hosted by local chefs and delicious tamales from Yolanda’s Tamales. There’s even a Kids Cooking Challenge that pairs teams of little ones with one local chef to create fun dishes for a panel of judges. Children run around the outdoor amphitheater while parents pick up everything from fresh-baked bread to lamb, beef and other proteins from Coffee Pot Ranch. This year, farmers market manager Joany Titherington says she looks forward to celebrating the 10th anniversary.

“It’s difficult to believe how far we have come,” Titherington says. “We started with six vendors … in a dusty vacant lot. Now we are located in beautiful McClatchy Park with more than 20 vendors each week, along with live music, arts and crafts for kids, and free weekly yoga.”

Another market that everyone can get behind is, of course, the Certified Farmers Market under the overpass on W and 8th streets. With so many vendors packed into this market, doing multiple loops will ensure you’ve seen everything. Grab some fresh basil and spicy Thai peppers to create some delicious meals at home. Stop by the lavender station with its all-natural floral body mists and grab $1 bags of onions, jalapenos and tomatoes for salsa making.

A new market this season brings the bounty of Davis to Sacramento. Hosted at the Sutter Medical Center on 28th and Capitol, the Davis Farmers Market makes its debut. This market is unique because of its hours: 4–7:30 p.m. This is the perfect spot to stop right after work to pick up fresh ingredients for dinner on a Thursday night.

Randii MacNear, executive director of the Davis Farmers Market, says marketgoers can pick up items such as fresh-squeezed tangelo juice, hummus by Good Hummus Produce, assorted jams, sulfur-free dried fruits, spring bouquets, and chèvre goat cheese and handmade goat-milk soaps and lotions from Jollity Farm. When asked what fruit or veggie she looks forward to eating this season, MacNear says she prefers a certain bite-sized fruit.

“My favorite is apricots. They are just the right size to eat a few, right in a row. I also love the figs that will be coming soon, and they are most delicious when fresh picked.”

Steph Rodriguez can be reached at wordstospill@gmail.com

Make a Date With a Farmers Market Near You!

Visit one (or all) of these friendly farmers markets—all of which are truly the cream of the crop:

Tuesdays

 

Roosevelt Park

9th and P streets

10 a.m.–1:30 p.m., May through October

 

Freemont Park

16th and P streets

10 a.m.–1:30 p.m., May through September

Wednesdays

Cesar Chavez Plaza
10th and J streets
10 a.m.–1:30 p.m., May through October

Thursdays

Capitol Mall
6th Street and Capitol Mall
10 a.m.–1:30 p.m., May through September

UC Davis Health System
45th and Y streets
3–7 p.m., April through October

Sutter Medical Center
2825 Capitol Ave.
4–7:30 p.m., year-round

Saturdays

Country Club Plaza
Watt and El Camino avenues
8 a.m.–noon, year-round

East Sacramento
3330 McKinley Blvd. (McKinley Park)
8 a.m.–1 p.m., April through October

MARRS Building
1050 20th St. (between J and K streets)
8 a.m.–1 p.m., year-round

McClatchy Park
3500 5th Ave.
9 a.m.–1 p.m., May through October

Sundays

Certified Farmers Market
W and 8th streets
8 a.m.–noon, year-round

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