My plan was to visit 3 different farmer’s markets: the newest in Oak Park, the largest under the W/X freeway in downtown Sacramento, and the “best” in Davis, California. Then I was going to write one post on all of them together. After going to the farmer’s market in Oak Park, I am so excited and pleased that I want to give this market its own post.
I have been shopping at my local farmer’s market for eons; none of them are special enough to recommend. Imagine a circle of stands in a shopping center parking lot, the only variation the heat of the pavement on a given Saturday. Still, I enjoy the experience of cycling to the market, circling once to scope out how I’ll spend my cash and then making my purchases. You can chat with the farmers and they become almost like neighbors. I have bought flowers from one grower for so many years that I have literally watched their lovely daughter grow from small fry to lithe teen.
Occasionally I visit other farmer’s markets. It is one of my favorite stops when I am visiting a new town. I have great memories of a Minneapolis farmer’s market, a fabulous country Vermont farmer’s market with amazing wool, and many “market days” in England. When I saw the ad for the Oak Park Farmer’s Market, it jogged a memory of my friend Alison saying she loves to go. I decided to include it in my survey.
Oak Park has a bad reputation among long time Sacramentans. However, it is now a neighborhood in transition. Drive down Broadway from Highway 99 or 80 to 35th Street. Park and grab a fabulous coffee at Old Soul coffeehouse and walk the two blocks to the market. You’ll see women shopping in work out clothes that cost more than half my wardrobe, neighborhood moms shopping and pushing strollers, and lots of other people. You may also pass a tough guy carrying a mean stick with his pit bull, while smoking a joint. Like I said, the neighborhood is transitioning, but I never felt unsafe.
The farmer’s market is part of the community strategy to give the neighborhood residents better access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The produce sold here looked much better than the produce sold at my suburban farmer’s market. It could easily sell for twice as much in San Francisco or Marin. And nonprofit groups were standing by to help you learn how to prepare it or preserve it.
I got the information I have been craving about the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen and an eyeful of beautiful chickens at a booth to promote home chicken keeping. There was food ready-to-eat, and food ready to take home. The massage station had great music playing and you would have to be a complete grump not to leave smiling.
It’s open 9-1 on Saturdays at 5th Ave. and 55th Street at McClatchy Park in Oak Park. Most vendors accept cash, food stamps and EBT.