Attending a weekly farmer’s market is a tradition I’ve enjoyed ever since I left my parents house at the age of 18, moved to a new city to attend college, and started to fend for myself.
I absolutely loved taking a break from my studies one afternoon a week to browse fresh produce and hand-crafted goods along those pop-up tent-lined streets. It was my sweet little sanctuary!
Ten years later, shopping for food (yes food, not shoes… but shoes is a really close second) is still my all-time favorite hobby. And the weekly farmer’s market ritual? That has stuck with me, too.
What does going to a farmer’s market mean to you?
- Seasonal eating
- Supporting local
- Supporting small
- Homemade products
- Homegrown produce
- Meeting your farmer
- Live music
- Culinary inspiration
- An excuse to sample dragonfruit (or other seasonal goods)
- A place to teach your kids about food (field trip, anyone?)
Whatever your reason, you will surely find it at the Orange Homegrown Farmer’s Market.
After attending farmers markets all over the world, I can say with absolute dignity that the Orange Homegrown is my favorite. Let me tell you why.
- It’s not too crowded
- It’s not pretentious
- It’s not overwhelming
- The vendors and products always surprise me
- The goods are all really high quality
- The people are so friendly
- I always find close parking
- There are samples a’plenty
- It’s only a few blocks away from the historic Orange Circle
- It’s kid-friendly
- They offer pet-sitting
And last but surely not least, the market is sponsored by Orange Homegrown, an organization with noteworthy morals.
Not only is OHG heavily focused on sustainability and promoting a healthy community, but the organization as a whole actively educates the public and their market vendors on practicing earth-friendly habits, runs a volunteer-driven educational farm, AND manages a youth literacy program open to all OUSD high school students interested in learning about organic farming, how to read food labels, food-based business advice, culinary techniques, and so much more.
So, when we support the makers and farmers at the weekly OHG market, we are also deeply enriching the local community through these educational programs, and providing funds to an organization striving to make our town more sustainable so that we continue to thrive here.
Now onto the goods! I want to highlight a few of my favorite products from the market, so that you can start drooling and mark your calendar for the nearest Saturday. (9:00am-1:00pm, people!)
plant-based cheeses, yogurts & spreads
You honestly won’t believe how delicious these spreads are until you accept a spoonful from one of the nice people behind their booth and pop it into your mouth. It’s like a creamy, flavorful cashew cloud that you’ll want to dip, spread, and love all over your kitchen.
The black garlic is my favorite flavor, and I especially love smearing it on freshly toasted sourdough from Grampy Pat’s, sprinkled with nuts, seeds, honey, and this pistachio-fig salami from Erewhon market.
thick, creamy small-batch European yogurts
Available in coconut, cow, and sheep’s milks, Bonjour! has something to offer everyone. The flavors are totally inventive (the white mulberry is hands-down my favorite) and the texture is incredibly creamy.
Since discovering this incredible yo, we’ve been indulging in a scoop with fresh fruit and granola for both breakfast and dessert. Plus! Farmer’s market fermented foods don’t have to go through the processing and pasteurizing that conventional ones do in order to sit on store shelves, making the local ones much higher in natural probiotics.
green tea + honey kombucha
Jun is a fermented probiotic beverage similar to kombucha, but instead of black tea and sugar cane, jun is brewed with green tea and raw honey. And the masterminds behind JenEric (yes, Jen and Eric) have crafted one really special brew.
My favorite flavor is the sage blossom honey + jasmine green tea, but you’ll have to stop by and grab a sample to truly taste it for yourself!
organic, 48-hour sourdough
This sourdough is a game-changer. If you have given up on bread forever, I would urge you to give this one a try. Not only does Grampy Pat make excellent boules and baguettes with his signature sourdough recipe, he also infuses ancient grains like einkorn and superfood add-ons like kombucha into his specialty loaves.
We’ve enjoyed these breads as a base for avocado toast and grilled cheese, as a dipping tool for soups and stews, and toasted in cubes for the fanciest croutons you ever did see. It’s been a joy getting to chat with Grampy Pat each week, as my husband and him have a mutual interest in the craft beer industry and especially love geeking out on all things fermentation.
Well trust me folks, I have so much more to say about this market and so many other vendors I’d like to feature, so I’m going to have to write a follow-up post to truly give you a better taste of the market and why it is so close and dear to my heart.
I hope you have a chance to make it to your own farmer’s market soon!
Enjoy the abundance!
PS! If you are local and decide to check out the OHG market, keep an eye out for the Greasy Spoons, who I have enjoyed watching for years. You won’t be able to keep from tapping a toe or two, and the kids especially love dancing to their happy tunes. Click for a preview below!