Farmer’s markets are one of the greatest of Northern California institutions. Ever-present, they bring quality fresh, local produce right to the consumer, and it tastes so good! Though not always cheaper than grocery stores, it is almost always tastier.
The King of Farmer’s Markets in the South Bay has got to be the Campbell Farmer’s Market. Every Sunday, Downtown Campbell gives it’s main street over to tents, produce, and vendors from 9am to 1pm(ish). And never have you seen its equal.
Four long blocks of goodness, the Campbell Farmer’s Market is so big it has to be broken up into sections. On the west side, you’ll find prepared food vendors. The east side sports artsy goods, and in between you’ll find mountains of produce. I could never begin to tell you which produce vendors are the best, cheapest, or best value; there are too many. But I can tell you about a few gems.
My favorite stop is always the Milk Guy. His business is not actually so named, but he will always be the Milk Guy to me. One might think that milk is not a product to get excited about. One has clearly never met the Milk Guy.
He sells raw milk, straight from the cow, no preservatives, no pasteurization, just pure milk. It is beyond compare. Richer than milk, more refreshing than cream, you can drink this milk in place of a meal and feel completely satisfied. It’s deliciousness is beyond compare. Get the true raw milk–that is, the whole milk–and I swear you will be amazed and astounded unless perchance you have had milk straight from the cow.
There is an abundance of scrumptious prepared food as well. Should you be willing to brave the lines, the Oaxacan Kitchen is amazing AND reasonably priced. Everything is hand-made in front of you, including the tortillas, and this is one of those rare instances in Northern California where the Mexican food lives up to–or perhaps even eclipses–its southern counterparts. I always stop by the Indian food booth for a $1 samosa, and Daniel rarely visits the market without buying a Flying Falafel sandwich (even rarer are the times I don’t steal at least one of his falafels).
Yummy $1 Samosas
Some of the booths straddle the line between prepared food and…not, and they are generally worth a visit if nothing else for the free samples. The Hummus Guy (and that is actually what he calls himself) is awesome. All of his hummus is delicious as are the flavored pita chips. The bolani people are really good too, giving you the perfect combination of sauces and flavored bolanis though alas we cannot afford them.
And indeed that is the most difficult thing for me about the farmer’s market: not dropping all of the cash in my wallet on their wares. We pretty much do it every time we go, so we’ve had to keep our visits to a minimum. Everything tastes so good, it’s hard not to buy the whole market. And frankly, most of its offerings are a bit pricey anyway.
But totally worth it. The quality is impossible to find in a grocery store.
Making up for the price is the ease of finding samples at the farmer’s market. Almost all of the vendors have samples of their wares, and I usually fill up on samples before deciding what to buy. And it absolutely works in their favor because we have bought way, way more than we ever would have without a taste first.
If you haven’t been to the Campbell Farmer’s Market, you are seriously missing out. Go now! Eat and be happy.