The term farm-to-table has been on the up and up for some time now in Southern California, and it’s made possible by the abundance of farmers markets this sunny coast has to offer.
Some people might question why it is essential to support farmers markets when they can go to the grocery store and get everything they need in one trip. The truth is, we all end up supporting so much more than the market itself.
On average, produce will travel about 1,500 miles from farm to plate. That’s an excess of natural resources, unnecessary means of packaging and ultimately contributes to pollution.
But at farmers markets, farmers will often travel an hour or two to bring customers produce that was picked not too long before it is purchased. That means shoppers are getting what is fresh and in season. Nothing is overproduced, under-ripened, or out of season.
Personal health is also an aspect positively impacted when shopping at a farmers market. Pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are used to keep produce looking fresh and vibrant in grocery stores after traveling so long. However, there is no need to preserve food for that long when food is going from farm to table.
It’s also helpful to know where the product is physically coming from. Becoming familiar with local farms allows for a tighter community.
One of Irvine’s most abundant farmers markets is located at Mariners Church on Saturday mornings. It is the perfect place to start making a habit out of market shopping.
All of the seasonal fruits and veggies, meats, honey, baked goods, even affordable freshly picked flowers are all offered to shoppers by vendors with smiles on their faces and love for the community in their hearts.
There is also a small section with merchandise for sale from hand made woven baskets to organic men’s beard oil.
The Downtown Santa Ana farmers market, held every Sunday rain or shine, provides the same bountiful produce that one might find at a high-end supermarket.
To no surprise, chefs from craft kitchens will often do their shopping here. If you’re lucky, you might learn a recipe or two.
The Orange Home Grown Farmers and Artisans Market, open on Saturday mornings, might not be as fancy or as big as the first two, but their produce is just as good, and even features a mini petting zoo.
Costa Mesa’s South Coast Collection (SOCO) market on Saturday mornings and Newport Beach’s farmers markets on Sunday morning are also worthy contenders.
There is a farmers market in almost every corner of Orange County — all open on various days of the week. With summer around the corner, indulge in what the earth has to offer directly.