It begins in early June–my obsessive tracking of the quality of sweet corn.
At that point in the season, it’s early–far too early–for the kernels to burst with juicy, sunny, sweetness, but every week I buy half a dozen ears, roast them in the oven, and offer my estimate of how many more weeks we have to wait for the corn to hit its peak. That high point lasts two weeks at most, but I enjoy every minute of it.
I’m fortunate to live in New York City, which has year-round farmers’ markets, but I asked around the office and among TravelMuse followers on twitter and Facebook: What are YOUR favorite farmers’ markets?
Here are some of their answers:
1. Pearl Farmers’ Market, San Antonio, Texas
The Pearl Farmers’ Market is located along the banks of the San Antonio River and features the goods of producers whose farms are within 150 miles. Typical Texas fruits and veggies–like the variety of peppers shown here–aren’t the only items on offer; there’s also grass-fed bison, heritage pork, and charcuterie.
2. Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, Santa Monica, California
This farmers’ market, considered one of the largest and most diverse growers-only farmers’ markets in the U.S., was a top pick among staffers and TravelMuse twitter followers. Its website reports an average of 9,000 shoppers at its weekly Wednesday market.
Image: Sharon Mollerus
3. Cold Spring Farmers’ Market, Cold Spring, New York
This farmers’ market in the Hudson River Valley is open year-round, but it’s best in the summer, when it’s held on the grounds of Boscobel, a historic house-turned-museum with this view of the Hudson River. Bonus? You can picnic on the Boscobel grounds after you do your shopping.
4. Mountain View Farmers’ Market, Mountain View, California
Mountain View is one of the five biggest farmers’ markets in California and a regular winner of “favorite farmers’ markets” contests. The variety of vendors and the market’s proximity to the Salinas Valley (aka: “America’s Salad Bowl”) make this market a top pick.
5. Nicollet Mall Market, Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Nicollet Mall Market is convenient for people who live and work in downtown Minneapolis, and it’s an ideal place to pick up lunch during the summer. It’s also close to public transportation. And the eggplant! Isn’t it gorgeous?
Image: Cultivate Landscapes
6. Ballard Sunday Farmers’ Market, Seattle, Washington
As its name suggests, the Ballard Sunday Farmers’ Market is open on Sunday only. Year-round, through sun, snow, wind, and rain, Ballard says it’s “more reliable than the post office.” Other reasons to visit? Hard cider, honey-smoked albacore, and other Pacific Northwest-inspired treats.
Image: Brian Glanz
7. Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington
Yes, another market in Seattle, but how could we leave Pike Place off our list? It’s probably one of the most-visited markets in the United States. Plus, it’s not strictly a farmers’ market; open “19-1/2 hours a day, 362 days a year,” Pike Place is known for its fish and seafood, too.
8. Aptos Farmers’ Market, Monterey Bay, California
Any farmers’ market worth its salt should have live entertainment, and Aptos does. In addition to what looks like some absolutely delicious corn, Aptos serves up live bluegrass and accordion music, and it offers a variety of classes, including pickling and canning.