8 Must-Visit Farmer's Markets Around the U.S.

By Linnea Covington  |  July 29, 2013

Summer is the peak season to stuff yourself with fresh, local produce, and what better place to stock up on nature’s candy than by hitting up an outdoor market? No longer must you hunt down a roadside stand to purchase a bushel of peaches or a bag of just-harvested potatoes: with the growing trend of organizing farmers and local artisans into one place, most cities now have a green market on weekends and some even during the week. Check out eight of our picks for must-visit farmer's markets around the country.

  • Santa Monica Farmers Market in California 

    For over 30 years, Angelenos have flocked to this market to pick up locally sourced vegetables, fruit, meat and dairy products straight from the source. This bustling Wednesday market is widely recognized as one of largest and most diverse in the entire country, and on average 9,000 shoppers troll through every week. With over 100 vendors, it’s not hard to see why. Get bright, ripe tomatoes from Scott Shacklett, aka the Tomato Man, who has been growing this fruit since 1997. Or, head to Zuckerman’s Farm’s stand for potatoes and crisp asparagus. Gail Zannon of Santa Barbara Pistachios has been selling pistachios since 1991, and you can get the best chanterelle mushrooms from Louis Mello of Mello Mushrooms. Obviously the spot is a go-to for local chefs and mixologists.


  • Logan Square Farmer’s Market in Chicago

    Launched in 2005, you can find this booming market open every Sunday from 10 AM-3 PM, from mid-May to the end of October. Located on Logan Boulevard from Milwaukee Avenue to Whipple Street, here you can find anything from gluten-free baked goods to local honey and handmade goat's milk soap. Pick up some heirloom crops and seeds from father-daughter-run Breslin Farms, sustainably grown fruit from Red Bird Preserves, pork chops butchered by Jake’s Country Meats and cheese from Otter Creek Organic Farm. Or grab a sausage from Spencer’s Jolly Posh food, kick up your feet, and enjoy the weather and whatever live band happens to be playing that day.

  • Credit: Linnea Covington

    St. Paul’s Farmers Market in Minnesota

    Founded in 1852, this has got to be one of the oldest farmer's markets in the U.S. Fast-forward 150-plus-years later, here you'll find stands selling everything from cheese and maple syrup to buffalo meat and bath products - you name it, and they probably have it as long as it’s in season. The market is operated by the St. Paul Grower’s Association, and they only allow locally grown produce to be sold here, without any middle man, so you can truly get to know the men and women who sow, harvest, raise and butcher the food on your table. The only catch is figuring out where it will be, since it changes locations frequently.

  • Ithaca Farmers Market in New York

    The first time this farmers market set up shop on the waterfront, it was 1973 and locals were hungry for local fruits and vegetables. It became so popular so fast, the market expanded and moved five times before settling at the edge of Dewitt Park in downtown Ithaca. Now there are four branches of the market, and over 5,000 visitors come daily to pick through the 125 vendors to find things like wool products from Angel Tree Farm, handcrafted wooden boxes and utensils from Carriage House Woodcrafters, and beautiful bags from Clothwork Tapestry Bags. Of course, food is the biggest draw, and you can get anything from fresh produce from resident farms, to prepared eats including homemade ice cream, baked goods, sandwiches and, oddly enough, Indian street snacks. They even sell local wine from nearby wineries in the Finger Lakes.

  • Credit: Pike Place

    Pike Place Market in Seattle 

    When one thinks of the ultimate farmer's market, this sprawling institution in Seattle usually tops the list. This famous bazaar debuted over a century ago and is located on a 9-ac. space in the aptly named Market Historic District overlooking Elliott Bay. Not only does this organization showcase fresh, seasonal and local produce, not to mention their famous fish section, but they also make room for handicrafts, cafes and specialty foods like deli meat, spices, cheese and teas. But one thing that makes this market truly great is that it’s not just about providing good food and artisanal products to shoppers, but it’s also a community that’s now supported by the Pike Place Market Foundation, and they help hundreds of low-income seniors with housing and offer childcare and medical assistance. 

  • Credit: Linnea Covington

    Urban Harvest in Houston

    Ever had a Texas peach or Texas honey or seen Texas-grown orchids? All this and more can be found at this 19-year-old farmer's market in Houston where they strive to promote healthy communities, advocate nutrition, and educate children and adults on where their food comes from and how they can eat better. One way the folks here do this is by presenting classes about foods and supporting not just the markets, but also community gardens, which they now have over 100 of in the city. Of course, the year-round Saturday and Sunday market helps too, and residents flock here to pick up snappy long beans from Millican Farms, steaks from Georgia’s Grassfed Beef, herbs from Pine Valley Produce and much, much more. Plus, they offer plenty of prepared foods to go, including vegan baked goods, Indian fare, pickles and nibbles from the food trucks parked nearby.

  • Haymarket in Boston

    Head to this historical market on Blackstone Street for great produce, and also note that the fruits and vegetables they hawk there don’t get marked up. After all, with over 80 years of providing Bostonians with affordable goods year-round, why would they change practices now? You can visit Haymarket on Fridays and Saturdays, dawn till dusk, and pick up sunny peaches, deep green kale, neon carrots and whatever looks fresh and good, and revel in the added bonus of not spending a lot on good produce. 

  • Union Square Greenmarket in New York City

    Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday you can head to Union Square and partake in Amish pretzels, fresh goat cheese, spicy apple cider and apple cider donuts, and plenty of vegetables and fruit trucked in from farms upstate. During the summer there are over 100 vendors scattered around the park eager to talk about their farms, their animals and how they produce the best foodstuffs possible. You can also find local wine, rooftop honey and a whole stand dedicated to lavender, whether you want it for cooking, to perfume your clothes or in soap form.