As I write this, it is currently 30 degrees outside. It seems like so long ago that I was enjoying the 80 degree weather in San Diego but it’s only been two weeks.
On my second day of touring markets, my first stop was the Hillcrest Market. This is a really big, weekly market with roughly 175 vendors. I had to park a couple of blocks away but it was free and I found a spot pretty quickly. They have a good sized crew running this market and with 175 vendors and thousands of weekly customers, it’s easy to see why they need a good crew. I was able to find one of the market managers right away and after explaining why I was there, he agreed to let me talk to the vendors and take pictures. The only thing I couldn’t do was hand out the flyers for my app, Vendor Ferret (a free download for Apple and Androids by the way), but I understood and agreed.
The first thing I did was just walk this market. Not only was there fantastic produce but there were numerous vendors cooking different types of food. The smells as you move through this market take you to different regions of the world and most of them had my mouth watering. I could have spent all day there just eating but I managed to restrain myself. Ok, I did break down and eat a pumpkin desert from the attractive Transylvanian women and it was awesome. One of the more interesting guys I talked to was Matt Huneycutt with MicroFarmsInc.com. Matt is a military vet that has created a company which produces hydroponic farming using old shipping containers. He is working to get this company off the ground and has great plans for the future. You should check out his site and, if you’re in the San Diego area, go say HI at one of the markets he goes to.
I think the vendor that surprised me the most at this market was the marijuana delivery company. Now, I am a pretty liberal guy and I really have no issue with weed being legal but I was just a little shocked to see this kind of vendor at the market. I mean, a grow house would seem a little more appropriate for a farmers’ market since it’s an actual crop but a delivery company seemed just a little out of place to me. The lady working the booth was really nice though and we talked for a bit about what they do. She said that the market was working out as a great place to promote her business.
Just like the Little Italy Market, there is just so much to see that you should just try to visit them at least once. They have a great website with a lot of information. http://hillcrestfarmersmarket.com/
The next stop that day is just over twenty miles away from San Diego. Solano Beach is a quaint little beach town with a great little downtown area. Their weekly market is located in a parking lot right in the heart of downtown. On my way to Solano Beach, the weather turned and it was a little chilly and rainy when I got there but it just added to the ambiance and I didn’t mind it at all. When I arrived at this market, it took me a little while to find the manager but when I did, he ended up being a really nice guy who told me that the market had been operating there for twenty years. The first booth I went to was the Farm To Cup booth run by Melinda. Melinda was awesome and very fun and she gave me some watermelon juice that was freakin fantastic. If you manage to get to Solano, make sure you say HI to her. After spending a bit of time there drinking my watermelon juice, I strolled along in the drizzle to see what else was there. I have to say that this was one of my favorite markets. I ended up spending quite a bit more than I had planned but I got quite a few gifts for friends and family that I can’t talk about here because I don’t want them to know what they are getting for Christmas. I also got some amazing tamales that Hans and Geno enjoyed later and tried some awesome cold brewed coffee from Red Hat Coffee. I didn’t try it because I was already full from lunch but Red Oven Pizza brings out a pizza oven and makes them on site. I wholeheartedly recommend this market for those of you who are either in the San Diego area or are planning on visiting. You can find this market online and they have a nice list of links to their vendors here:
Next week, I move a bit north and talk about the Inland Empire and Huntington Beach.