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10 of the best farmers' markets in the U.S. (and many are year-round)
Farmers' markets are a great way to shop local
Farmers' markets are the heart of a city's culinary pulse, where chefs get inspiration for seasonal specials and where diners can connect with the tireless farmers growing their food. Support local agriculture and taste the best fresh produce and artisan foods at these 10 awesome farmers' markets across the country.
Photo courtesy of CUESA
Green City Market | Chicago, Illinois
Since 2008, Green City Market has been Chicago's largest and only year-round farmers' market with a mission of supporting local farmers and sustainable agricultural practices. From May through October, the market is outdoors in Lincoln Park every Wednesday and Saturday from 7 am-1 pm. You'll find many of Chicago's top chefs making the rounds for inspiration for their seasonal menus. Along with honey, maple syrup and a colorful array of produce, including heirloom varieties you won't find in grocery stores, try Gayle V's Best Ever Grilled Cheese and wash down your sandwich with Arize Kombucha.
Aspen Saturday Market was established in 1998 and occupies three square blocks of downtown Aspen on Saturdays from mid-June until mid-October. Around a dozen farmers from Aspen to Palisade and Paonia participate, along with wineries, bakeries, cheesemakers and Marble Distilling. Try the beet and horseradish flavored cheese from Jumpin Good Goat Dairy, farm-to-bar dark chocolate from Fiji at Bolea Chocolate, and dehydrated organic fruits and veggies at Aspen Crunch, a company created by high school students. There are a lot of offerings beyond food as well, including locally made arts and crafts, from glass and leather goods to hats.
Photo courtesy of C2 Photography
South of the James Market | Richmond, Virginia
Richmond's producer-only South of the James Market runs year-round on Saturdays in Forest Hill Park showcasing nearly a hundred vendors including farmers, food producers and artisans. Along with fruits, veggies, eggs and meat, there are breakfast sandwiches, quinoa bowls and baked goods to snack on. Cool off with heirloom apple cider or cold brew kombucha to drink, plus a scoop of honey lavender goat's milk ice cream.
Photo courtesy of Amber Gibson
Eastern Market | Detroit, Michigan
As one of the country's oldest and largest year-round farmers markets, Eastern Market boasts more than 200 market vendors spread out across five sheds every Saturday, even spilling over into outdoor areas in summer. Michigan cherries, juicy peaches, jewel-like blueberries and heaps of sweet corn greet you throughout the summer, and the prepared foods and snacks are excellent too. Try Dancy's Fancy Butter, stoneground bean-to-bar Ecuadorian chocolate from Mindo Chocolate and innovative bonbons from Bon Bon Bon. Visit Germack across the street for the best roasted nuts and nut butters in the city. In the summer, there's also a Sunday craft and artisan market and Thursday night market for food, drinks, music, art and shopping.
Photo courtesy of Bill Bowen
Ferry Plaza Farmers Market | San Francisco, California
The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on the San Francisco waterfront has been around since 1993 – a decade before the indoor marketplace shops opened. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, farmers and food crafters gather year-round (rain or shine) to share a bounty of Bay Area deliciousness. Saturdays get the biggest turnout, including free cooking demos by local chefs, and in peak summer season, there are more than 100 vendors.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Lynn Photography
Dane County Farmers' Market | Madison, Wisconsin
Dane County Farmers' Market is the largest producers-only market in the country, founded in 1972 and operating each summer around Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin. Expect ample world-class cheeses and cheese curds, with lots of opportunities for sampling. While the market has approximately 265 members, visitors will find 130-150 vendors on any given Saturday. Snack on hot and spicy cheese bread from Stella's Bakery and look for favorite vendors like Marsden's Pure Honey, Brunkow Cheese and Harmony Valley Farm.
Photo courtesy of Focal Flame Photography
Boulder County Farmers Market | Colorado
From professional farmers with hundreds of acres to backyard gardeners and hobbyists, all are welcome to sell directly to the public on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings to a soundtrack of live music at the Boulder County Farmers Market. Along with unique produce like seedless yellow watermelon, white eggplant, purple beans and golden beets, you'll find honey, farm-fresh eggs, roasted chilies, flowers, chocolate and prepared food and drink. Farmers from Western Slope orchards make the trip each week to share tree-ripened fruits and you can buy pork, charcuterie and produce from Eric Skokan of Black Cat, who is both a chef and farmer.
Photo courtesy of Boulder Convention & Visitors Bureau
Hope Street Farmers Market | Providence, Rhode Island
In Providence, Rhode Island, the Hope Street Farmers Market runs May through October on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings in Lippitt Memorial Park with 48 full-time and four guest vendors. There's organic produce, freshly-caught seafood, flowers, locally roasted coffee, small-batch cheese and pasture-raised meat. Try not to get caught on a dog leash as you sip a juice from Fully Rooted featuring cold-pressed produce from many of the surrounding vendors.
Photo courtesy of Marni MacLean Karro
Rogue Valley Growers Market | Oregon
For more than 30 years, the Rogue Valley Growers Market has been a small but mighty market in Southern Oregon, traveling between Medford's beautifully renovated Hawthorne Park (Thursdays, March–November) and Ashland (Tuesdays and Saturdays) with up to 80 stalls on the weekend. The outdoor market runs from March through November with a winter Thursday market from November through February. Market-goers will find a bounty of locally grown and handcrafted food, master gardeners, non-profit booths, buskers and Mikey the Balloon Man for entertainment. There's plenty of grassy area to lay down a blanket and enjoy a market picnic.
Of the more than 20 farmers markets in Philadelphia operated by The Food Trust, Headhouse Farmers Market is the largest outdoor market in the city, located under an early 1800s market shed with a headhouse known as The Shambles in Society Hill. A special guest rings the opening bell each Sunday morning and the party begins, with more than 40 fresh food, flower and artisan craft vendors, live music and a photo booth.
Amber Gibson spends 350 nights a year in hotels searching for the latest and greatest in the travel industry. Her writing and photographs have appeared in print, online, and on the radio for outlets including Forbes, National Geographic Traveler, Departures, Four Seasons Magazine, Conde Nast Traveller, NPR, Saveur, Departures, Rhapsody, Hemispheres, American Way, Private Air, and Serious Eats.
She graduated as valedictorian from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and received a fellowship to attend the 2017 Wine Writers Symposium at Meadowood Napa Valley. Champagne, dark chocolate and gelato are her biggest weaknesses.