Explore Newport Beach Farmer’s Markets
If you know where your food comes from and what’s in it, it’s easier to make healthful choices. That’s one compelling reason to shop at your local farmers’ market, where you can talk with the very folks who grow your fruits and vegetables, and learn about their process. Doing so not only helps you nourish your body, but it also nourishes the health of the community—as well as the environment, since trucking your vegetables from Ventura leaves far less of a carbon footprint than shipping them from Peru. Here in Southern California, where ample sunlight provides ideal farming conditions, we’re lucky to not only have a shorter journey from the farms to our dinner tables, but many towns—including Newport Beach—host weekly markets where we can buy ripe, freshly picked produce that packs more nutrients than anything that’s spent a week on the road before it reaches your plate. So go on, shop local. We guarantee you’ll never bite into an apple, tomato or avocado from that grocery bin again.
That’s the philosophy of investment banker-turned-tomato farmer “Farmer Mark,” who spent six years growing the juicy ripe fruit in Ventura County and selling his surplus to local farmers’ markets. Believing there was a need for a better-run market, he decided to create his own—a venture that sprouted five more locations across Southern California. Working hard to cultivate the best conditions for farmers, as well as to better the health of the community through the Newport Beach farmer’s market, among others, Farmer Mark has been planting the seeds for health through education, spreading awareness and offering high-quality locally grown products for nearly a decade. “Quality, consistency and integrity are what set us apart,” he says. “We handpick our vendors with those things in mind, and we try to get the community involved as much as possible.” The Newport Beach market, open Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Newport Beach Pier. Patrons can expect to find ripe, nutrient-dense produce (about 30 to 40 percent is organic, and others are in the process of becoming certified), artisan honey, hormone-free meats, freshly baked breads, plants and flowers, and much more—all from Southern California growers, bakers and craft-makers. Amid the lively atmosphere of “hundreds of visitors,” you’ll also enjoy live music, hot foods prepared on-site, handmade crafts, kids activities and community booths. All the markets are “California Certified,” ensuring that farmers are actually growing the very crops that they’re selling to the community, and that everything is grown in the state. “Talk to each of our farmers and ask about their process,” Farmer Mark suggests. Get to know who’s growing the food you put on your plate, and turn this fun weekend ritual into a learning experience. For more information, visit farmermark.com, and follow the farmers on Instagram @gofarmermark.
9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sundays
Newport Beach Pier
Originally part of the defunct Lido Village and McFadden’s Wharf farmers’ markets, the Newport Beach Open-Air Market moved its weekends-only artisan set-up around a bit before securing a brick-and-mortar near Pacific Coast Highway, where it was able to set up shop seven days a week. The “gallery and goods” collective created by local Kathy Shaw four years ago features food, art and other products from about 20 local artisans, offering everything from herb-infused olive oil to hand-dripped candles to hand-crafted jewelry, clothing, stationary and home goods. Patrons can peruse the stores and check out at one main post, rather than making purchases at each place. And that means vendors aren’t required to be on site at all times. Instead, they can spend the majority of their time doing what they do best—creating—while their fellow vendors help promote their goods and manage their sales. Each vendor spends two days a month at the market, covering for the others. “It’s the best of both worlds,” says Kathy. “Each vendor can have their own store, but without the stress—it makes business doable.” Plus, so little overhead means better prices for the consumer. And an intimate, everyday market also means a closer connection between vendors and the community. In addition to the array of high-quality goods, patrons can also take part in lively events like wine tastings with live music, as well as succulent, painting and other craft workshops. Adds Kathy, “There’s a lot of great stuff—and fun—going on here.”
Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit Newport Beach Open Air Markets on Facebook.