A good outdoor market is the kind of places one can find the best produce in town and some odds and ends that aren’t sold anywhere else. If you haven’t experienced one of these, then it is highly recommended that you drop by one at some point and take it all in. Here is a guide to some of the best outdoor markets in the country, so find one near you and head on over.
Santa Monica Farmer’s Market, CA
Every Wednesday and Saturday year-round, this outdoor market can be found in famous Santa Monica, CA. Drop on by to pick up honey from Bill’s Bees, fruit from Avila and Sons Farm, mushrooms from Clearwater Farms and bison from Lindner Bison.
There are some great places nearby to visit and get some food, such as sushi spot Sugarfish and bistro-style Fig Restaurant. The markets also offer cooking classes for those who feel they need to brush up on their chef skills, as well as green-living workshops and gardening seminars for adults and kids alike.
Green City Market, Chicago, IL
Held in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, this market starts its outdoor activities on the 5th of May. Held on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the market focuses on local and sustainable food, with 55 diverse stalls filled with more than 20 varieties of plums, elk and tamales.
Well-known local chefs, Dale Levitski from Sprout and Rick Bayless from Topolobampo, will perform cooking demonstrations throughout the summer, so head on over to watch them perform their expertise. And on May 12th, you can head on over for the Green Street Market Barbecue, where you can sample barbecue from top restaurants and locally made beer.
Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University, OR
Portland itself has seven large outdoor markets, all of them notable in their own right, but the biggest and the best on to visit is the one held on the campus of Portland State University. Running from March until December, the Saturday market features more than 160 vendors selling local, in-season items like kale, radishes, carrots and scallions.
And keep your eye out for the new kids on the block that show up to the market to sell their wares- Temptress Truffles will sell locally harvested mushrooms and huckleberries along with truffle butter, oil and salt. The local chefs start coming out and showing off their skills at around 10 AM, and the kids can get their hands dirty with lessons from the students who attend The International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Portland.
Nashville Farmers Market, TN
Having started back in the 1800’s, this open air market boasts a good reputation, solidified by time and effort on part of the locals. It is hosted in three separate areas: the Farm Side with most of the food vendors, the Market House with restaurants and a café, and then the Flea Market that sells crafts like pottery and jewelry.
Head over to the food stalls to get your hands on some tubs of chèvre from Noble Springs Dairy and spicy kettle corn by Moose Head Kettle Corn. The market is held all year round, so check the seasonal calendar that they have to see what is coming up. Check out the Night Market on June 15, when the market stays open after hours starting at 6:30 p.m. Restaurants will provide special menus, and Market House merchants who normally show on Saturdays will open up.
Union Square Greenmarket, New York City, NY
This is one of New York’s most recognized open air markets, and it happens every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in Union Square Park. During the market’s peak season, expect to find 140 vendors from around the region selling everything from dried lavender sachets to emu and ostrich eggs.
Cooking demonstrations take place every week, and on Mondays, kids can stop by the Greenmarket Youth Education Station and get a tour of the local market, meeting farmers along the way. And on May 30th, Fishmonger Stephanie Villani and chef Robin Puskas will teach you how clean, fillet and cook sea trout.