Top 10 farmers' markets

Get the freshest fruits, veggies, and more from these markets across the West

  • Bright, fresh produce abounds at The Vegetable Shop at the Chino Family Farm. You might even have a celebrity chef spotting.

    The Vegetable Shop at the Chino Family Farm

    Dave Lauridsen

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6. CAPITAL CITY PUBLIC MARKET, Boise, ID

The scene: This open-air market is filled with families doing their weekly shopping from growers who come from all over the state to sell their stuff in the big city.

The find: See those folks walking around with mason-jar mugs? Follow them to the BuckSnort Root Beer booth, where on tap is Bellevue, Idaho-brewed tea that blends molasses, cane juice, wintergreen, and natural roots like licorice and a sassafras extract. Imagine, a soda that's actually good for you. Sat through Dec 17; seeyouatthemarket.com

7. SAN JOAQUIN CERTIFIED FARMERS' MARKET, Stockton, CA

The scene: Sprawled across a Central Valley mall parking lot is a world without $5 peaches and customers driving Porsches. Instead, it's like a refreshing trip overseas, jostling with old ladies who arrived early with pink plastic bags, Asian vendors selling produce unrecognizable to many Western shoppers, and chefs who've road-tripped for inspiration.

The find: Lotus root, Chinese bitter melon, a zillion types of eggplants, and Southeast Asian herbs you'll have to sniff for yourself to believe. Thu through Nov 17 and Sun year-round; sjcfarmersmarket.com

8. MISSOULA FARMERS' MARKET, Missoula, MT

The scene: A mix of ranchers and college kids, families and hippies, sipping coffee from the local Butterfly Herbs cart and enjoying an old-fashioned sense of community.

The find: Huckleberries in high summer--this is Montana, after all--framed by Southeast Asian Hmong and sold in unsealed zip-lock bags so these wild, intense, just-sweet-enough beauties can breathe. Sat through Oct 22; missoulafarmersmarket.com

9. JAMES RANCH MARKET, Near Durango, CO

The scene: James Ranch sets up shop at the farmers' markets in Durango and Telluride, but the family-run farm also has a cute, wood-shingled farmstand of its own. Drive 10 miles north from Durango to the 450 blissful, high-altitude acres of James Ranch, where herds of Jersey cows, grass-fed beef cattle, and happy egg-laying hens roam.

The find: The market is stocked with ranch-made products like artisanal cheese, whey-fed pork, petit prime rib, tri-tip, sirloin, you name it. Mon-Sat into fall; jamesranch.net

10. THE VEGETABLE SHOP AT THE CHINO FAMILY FARM, Rancho Santa Fe, CA

The scene: Besides the drop-dead gorgeous produce, you'll likely see celebrity chefs and food lovers who've been regulars for decades, like Alice Waters.

The find: Veggies unlike any you've seen or tasted. Red carrots, candy lime mint, tomatoes of every hue, and white corn that could change your life. Tue-Sun year-round; 6123 Calzada del Bosque; 858/756-3184.

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