The two San Diego farmers markets toured April 14 remain open rain or shine. This is relevant given that Saturday patrons braved chilling winds of up to twenty miles per hour between intermittent drizzle and spots of sunshine. Business was as usual at both Little Italy and Pacific Beach.
This examiner’s April 13 article stated that the Saturday tour would include the Scripps Ranch farmers market. I did not make it. Blame the five city blocks of the Little Italy farmers market. Blame Bela Vida Brasileira, the Brazilian fusion band or the delicious hummus and pesto, gluten-free pastries, local honey, hot sandwiches, blood oranges, fresh-baked breads, juices, coffees…and, as Peg Donnelly, visiting from Albuquerque, said to her husband, Bill, “…flower vendors and food booths as far as I can see!” which may be an exaggeration, but the street felt abundant, strolling from block to block, sampling the various cuisines. Dogs are allowed, so prepare for the occasional skirmish.
Little Italy/Saturday 9-1:30pm, located on Date Street, “Originally started with one block four years. Now, it has expanded to five,” says Brijet Myers, spokeswomen for SD Weekly Markets, which manages two other fairs–Pacific Beach/Tuesday and North Park/Thursday–in addition to Little Italy. The company rents booths, balancing clothing, jewelry and art & crafts for up to $100 weekly with “closer to the ground” local farmers paying $35. Free street parking is problematic. Public parking is available at $12 for 0-10 hours.
Produce prices at Little Italy and Pacific Beach were generally 8-15 per cent higher than supermarkets organic. Flower prices were consistently 5-12 per cent less than supermarkets with cheese and coffee prices essentially competitive.
Pacific Beach /Saturday 8-noon, located at 4150 Mission Blvd was a disappointment after Little Italy. The market is dispersed between two parking lots of The Promenade shopping center and connected by a passageway underneath outdoor steps, leading to a second floor of retail stores. Free samples were limited to Hopkins AG almonds. There was no cooked food offerings from the market vendors. Snack shops and restaurants surround both parking lots. There were a total of twelve vendors–some with tarpaulins, most standing in front of their trucks, offering locally grown produce. There were also two flower booths and a bicycle repairman. Some free parking is available behind The Promenade and on the side streets. No dogs are allowed.