Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market — Photo courtesy of Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA)
1. Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
San Francisco, California
The artfully arranged tables of fresh vegetables that fill the plaza in the 1898 Ferry Building in San Francisco is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the stomach. Here, at the Embarcadero, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday (the largest market), a rainbow of organically grown pink-fleshed watermelon radishes, heaps of yellow, orange, and purple carrots, and pale green artichokes catch shoppers’ eyes.
Crescent City Farmers' Market — Photo courtesy of Market Umbrella
2. Crescent City Farmers Market
New Orleans, Louisiana
Local food traditions star at the Crescent City Farmers Markets, held four days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday) at different locations around New Orleans. Pralines, alligator meat, crawfish, king cakes, and Southern heirloom vegetables number among the bayou bounty that distinguishes the Saturday market. Held year-round in the William B. Reily Company parking lot at Magazine and Girod streets, the Saturday market takes place against a toe-tapping soundtrack provided by local musicians.
3. Pike Place Market
Established in 1907, Pike Place Market embraces the nine-acre Market Historic District overlooking Elliott Bay. Some 240 stalls offer the best of local farms and waters year-round, while the surrounding blocks overflow with eateries and shops. A highlight of this venerable market is watching the fishmongers toss wild salmon and other piscine purchases to the crowd of customers who gather in front of the fish vendors in the Main Arcade.
Green City Market — Photo courtesy of Adam Alexander Photography
4. Green City Market
Held outdoors at the south end of Lincoln Park from May through October and indoors at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (also in Lincoln Park) the rest of the year, Chicago’s Green City Market was the first in the U.S. to require its farmers to be certified by a national agency such as USDA Certified Organic and Animal Welfare Approved. It is lauded by many as the best sustainable market in the country.
5. Union Square Greenmarket
New York City, New York
For Manhattan residents, the Union Square Greenmarket is the place to find fresh seasonal ingredients four days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday). Hudson Valley duck, regional cheeses, locally brewed cider, grass-fed beef, and fresh-baked bread are just a few of the products that chefs and home cooks come to purchase in Union Square. An added bonus are the cooking demos and cookbook book signings by some of New York City’s hottest chefs.
Dane County Farmers' Market — Photo courtesy of Bill Lubing
6. Dane County Farmers Market
Held on the square flanking Madison’s domed 1917 state capitol building on Saturday mornings from mid-April to early November, the Dane County Farmers' Market bills itself as the largest producer-only farmers market in the U.S. During the late winter session (early January to mid-April) of the market, held indoors at the Madison Senior Center, local chefs whip up a yummy Taste of the Market Breakfast each week, showcasing products purchased on-site.
Charleston Farmers' Market — Photo courtesy of City of Charleston
7. Charleston Farmers Market
Charleston, South Carolina
As you would expect of a culinary destination as celebrated as Charleston, this city has a terrific farmers market. Charleston Farmers Market fills central Marion Square with loads of Lowcountry products, beginning on the first Saturday of April. Shrimp from offshore waters, solar sea salt, homemade pickles, and pasture-raised pork are just a taste of the local ingredients sold here. The market runs until the end of November, with holiday markets on December weekends.
8. Eastern Market
D.C.'s oldest, continually operating food market has held sway in the heart of the Capitol Hill neighborhood for more than 136 years. Now restored after being destroyed by a fire in 2007, the historic South Hall of Eastern Market hosts merchants selling a cornucopia of foods from around the globe. On Tuesdays and each weekend, local farmers and artists join the fun, setting up stalls of fresh produce alongside handmade jewelry, pottery, and even African masks.
Portland Farmers' Market — Photo courtesy of Travel Portland
9. Portland Farmers Market
What began as a local market with 13 vendors in a small parking lot in Northwest Portland in 1992 has morphed into an enormous venture welcoming more than 200 vendors at seven different sites throughout Portland. As it has since 1996, the flagship Saturday market now takes place in the South Park Blocks of the Portland State University campus, showcasing the bounty of local farms along with cooking demonstrations and kids’ cooking classes.
Santa Fe Farmers' Market — Photo courtesy of Seth Roffman
10. Santa Fe Farmers Market
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Established in the 1960s by a handful of local farmers, this market now hosts more than 150 producers and vendors as the state’s largest farmers’ market. The popular bazaar is held on Saturday mornings year-round in its permanent location in the Santa Fe Railyard. From spinach to smudge sticks, a variety of local produce, meats, and artisan craft items are sold by the folks who produce them.