12 of America's Best Local Farmers' Markets
These large local markets offer some of the best farm-fresh produce around the country, making them a mecca for residents and visitors alike who want a taste (literally and figuratively) of the local scene. Plus, try our recipe suggestions that feature each market's specialty ingredients.
Specialty and small farms (there's one that just grows berries!) are the highlights of the 30-year-old Capital City Farmers' Market. The market's 40-plus vendors carry Vermont staples such as maple syrup, cheese, and meat, as well as items Vermont is not (yet) known for, like wine and hot sauce. The market is open on Saturdays from May through October. Don't miss the strawberry shortcake fundraiser in the spring.
New York, NY
Manhattan might be the last place you associate with farms, but four days a week all year round, more than 140 farmers and vendors make their way to the Union Square Greenmarket to sell chefs, locals, and tourists apples (it's not called the Big Apple for nothing), leafy greens, rooftop honey, fresh goat cheese, and many more local delights.
Even during the long, cold, winters, Wisconsinites want to eat local. So, they go to the Dane County Farmers' Market on the Square, the largest producer-only market in the United States. On Saturdays and Wednesdays, locals can pick up what's fresh, from corn, eggplant, and meat to Wisconsin's famous cheeses.
Des Moines, IA
The place to see and be seen in Des Moines every Saturday from May through October is the Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market. A typical Saturday brings 200 farmers selling Iowa's famous corn, of course, in addition to everything from kohlrabi to goat meat.
At the Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market, it doesn't matter for whom you voted, only what you're planning to make for dinner. Every Sunday all year long, Washingtonians get local meat, bread, pasta, veggies, fruit, and more from the 30-plus farmers and vendors selling at the market. Make sure to try the area's famous crab cakes or locally made feta cheese.
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco restaurants have a passion for figs. At the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market, many of the city's chefs get those delicious fruits, as well as mushrooms, olives (and olive oils), Meyer lemons, and other fresh California produce. The nearly 90 vendors are at the market on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
The pride that Maine residents feel for their market probably stems from its deep roots. The government established the official Portland Farmers' Market in 1917. Modern shoppers can pick up fruits — esepcially Maine's famous blueberries — veggies, meat, and eggs from the 30-plus growers and producers selling their goodies on Saturdays from May through November.
The Portland Farmers' Market at PSU caters to Oregon's foodies at Portland State University's parking lot every Saturday from March through mid-December. A typical Saturday boasts nearly 200 growers and farmers selling local delights like fresh-caught crabs, raspberries, yak meat, a wide variety of mushrooms, local beers, and olive oil.
Saint Paul, MN
The 160-plus stalls at the St. Paul Downtown Farmers' Market are all local — very local. The farthest farm is 75 miles away from the city. Locavore shoppers come downtown on Saturdays from April through November and Sundays all year to pick up melons, pumpkins, poultry, and more.
The tourists might go to the famous Pike Place Market, but the locals (and the local farmers and chefs) are at the University District Farmers' Market. On Saturdays, more than 50 farmers sell delicacies like fiddlehead ferns, raw cow and sheep's milk cheeses, and Mangalitsa pork (a special breed of long-haired pig), as well as market staples like apples (featuring 30 different varieties), mushrooms, peppers, and free-range eggs.
Previously known as the Sunset Valley Farmers' Market, the currently named Barton Creek Farmers' Market has the same great produce. Every Saturday, Texans pick up seasonal and local goods like okra, avocados, peaches, peppers, black-eyed peas, and bison meat.
Santa Fe, NM
The Santa Fe Farmers' Market is ultra-local — farmers must be from one of the 15 counties in northern New Mexico (around Santa Fe), and farmers and producers must sell their produce directly. Additionally, processed foods must contain 80% locally grown ingredients. Two days a week (four in the summer), folks pick up their very local squash, berries, yak meat, heirloom tomatoes, and many varieties of peppers, among other goodies, from more than 100 vendors.