Hey there everyone. So I promised to tell you about my recent travels and there is much to tell so I am definitely going to have to break it up into multiple blogs. The first stop on my trip was San Diego. I am very lucky to have great friends there so I was able to stay with Hans and Geno. Hans accompanied me on the first day of visiting markets.
Our first stop was Pacific Beach. This little, and I do mean little, market is in an amazing location right near the beach. Unfortunately, on the day we went, there was only four vendors there. We talked to a very nice lady selling almonds and she told us that sometimes they have a few more vendors but since the Little Italy Market is on the same day, it is hard to get vendors to join them. I understand what she was saying since, sometimes, it can be difficult to get vendors when there are multiple markets on the same day or if there is a bigger one or two day event at the same time. I ended up purchasing some of her cinnamon sugar coated almonds because they were delicious but we didn’t stay too much longer. I had been told that the Little Italy market was big but I didn’t realize how big until we got there.
Our next stop was the Little Italy section of San Diego. It took us a while to find a parking lot and, when I did, it took me some maneuvering to get my van in the tiny little parking space that we happened upon. Now I know that I’m spoiled living in Reno but paying $12 to park seemed a bit high. At least it was only a couple of blocks away from the market.
I was blown away when we finally walked up to, what I realized later was, the middle of the market. It stretched for four blocks and was packed full of vendors and tons of shoppers. I quickly found the market manager and explained that I was there to take pictures and notes for my blog. She even agreed to let me hand out flyers for my app just as long as I didn’t impede business in the booths. So off we went to explore this huge market.
When there are around 200 vendors, you get to see just about everything you can imagine. My original plan was to just browse, sample, and talk to vendors. Little did I know that I would leave with a couple of bags full of stuff. We also sampled a whole lot of tasty treats and I would highly recommend the croutons, ice cream, and the tea. There was also a huge variety of produce, meats, seafood, cheeses, crafts, and flowers. You can check out the market on their Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/LittleItalyMercato/ and on their website here: http://www.littleitalysd.com/events/mercato.
We spent well over two hours browsing, tasting, and talking to the nice people working the booths. I noticed that they have one of the same problems we do but with the huge amount of people that come through there every week, there is no way they can prevent it. They post “No Dog” signs all over the place but people just walk their dogs past them with no regard at all. You will notice this theme over the next few weeks since it really is a pet peeve of mine. Most County and City codes restrict animals at things like farmers’ markets and even if you post the code like I do and like most of these managers do as well, people just ignore it. I still just do not understand the need people have to bring their animals to events like this where there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people all together. Believe me when I tell you, your pet is not enjoying it. Most likely, they are just trying to figure out how to get the hell out of there.
Anyway, enough of my ranting. Talking to the vendors, they are all very happy to be at this market and I can’t blame them since there are a whole lot of people there shopping. The market runs year round, which they all pretty much do in So. Cal. I can see the appeal of having year round markets but I have to admit that having a shorter market season is pretty nice as well. The girl sampling ice cream, told us that she had moved to San Diego from Truckee, CA and that she was happy not to deal with the snow every winter. Of course, one of the best things about year round markets is that you can get farm fresh produce in the winter. While I love living in a place where we get real Winter, I do miss the incredible eats from the Summer markets.
So to wrap up this weeks’ blog, if you are in San Diego on a Saturday, I would highly recommend that you go the Little Italy Farmers’ Market but be prepared to spend a bit of cash. I defy you to get out of there without buying anything. You will spend at least an hour if you just browse but you can spend well over two hours there if you really shop and talk to the vendors. All of the vendors were really nice and were more than happy to talk to us and tell us about their products and most of the crafters and packaged food folks will ship as well so you can purchase from them and have everything sent right to your door. As I mentioned before, be prepared to pay to park and you will be walking a few blocks to get there. One last thing about this market. I talked before about how big this market is but you will also need to be careful when walking around. The cross streets that run through the market are open to traffic so you will need to be careful when crossing the streets since there are cars trying to get through as well and, sometimes, the drivers aren’t very patient with people crossing against the light.
Next week I will tell you about the Hillcrest Market which is also in San Diego but, in the meantime, enjoy the pics I took from Little Italy.