Farmer’s Markets - Local, Fresh Produce Bargains
By Robert Haugh

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Farmer’s Markets - Local, Fresh Produce Bargains

Looking for local, fresh produce and flowers can often be challenging.

Luckily, for Santa Clarans, there are a number of local farmer’s markets where fresh, local and organic produce and flowers can be found regularly - and inexpensively.

Invigorating downtown with an array of fresh and colorful vegetables, fruit, flowers and luscious local cuisine, the Santa Clara Downtown Farmer’s Market occurs every Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Franklin Mall, on Jackson Street, between Homestead and Benton.

Shopping at farmer’s markets provides many advantages over shopping for produce in local grocery stores and big-box stores, including: high quality - with freshly picked, vine-ripened produce being unbeatable in quality; the cost - direct sales by farmers to the consumer eliminates the cost of the middleman; plus you are supporting local farmers and the local economy by purchasing locally grown produce.

Seasonal produce currently available includes strawberries, oranges, apples, almonds, honey, green and red cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, kale, potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, celery, broccoli, brussel sprouts, a myriad of flowers, plus an array of prepared foods including kettle corn and ethnic fare including falafel, tamales, crepes and more.

In addition to fresh produce and flowers, the markets feature local musicians, and other handmade items such as jewelry.

The Downtown Farmer’s Market is sponsored by the Downtown Merchant’s Association and presented by Urban Village Farmer’s Market Association.

“Certified Farmers’ Markets are instrumental in preserving the diversity of California agriculture by providing marketing outlets for the small acreage growers of heirloom, culinary, ethnic, organic, no pesticide, and other specialty crops not widely grown on a large scale or found at traditional food sources,” states Ron Pardini, Executive Director, Urban Village Farmers’ Market Association, which produces the Downtown Farmer’s Market.

Additional local farmer’s markets include Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara’s year-round Farmer’s Market, Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Homestead Courtyard at 701 Lawrence Expressway located between the 710 and 700 Lawrence Expressway buildings; Santana Row Farmer’s Market every Sunday, year-round, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. near the corner of Winchester and Stevens Creek; and Vallco at Cupertino Square Fridays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

According to Santa Clara County, Certified Farmers’ Markets "are approved sites where farmers sell produce directly to consumers. These markets and the participating growers are approved by the agricultural commissioner’s office. In order to sell at a Certified Farmers’ Market, a grower must obtain a Certified Producer’s Certificate from their home county’s agricultural commissioner’s office."