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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus
Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county

Farmers markets are a great source of local, fresh foods

June 2011
Organic produceTim Fitzmaurice enjoys the Downtown Santa Cruz Farmers Market.
Photo: Debbie Bulger. Produce photo: Vivienne Orgel.

Shopping at Certified Farmers Markets is a great way to buy fresh and organic fruits and vegetables and also supports small-scale family farmers. These farmers are leading the way to building a new food system which supports the environment. Many family farmers utilize sustainable practices such as planting hedge rows which provide areas of natural habitat, growing a diversity of crops which helps prevent plant disease, planting flowers to attract beneficial insects, and using compost and cover crops to enrich the soil. Such activities result in delicious produce and are big steps to conserving land.

A Certified Farmers Market means that the farmers sell only what they grow themselves. If a farm stall is "certified" it has a certificate (that you can see if you want) from the government listing what the farmer grows. Many farmers markets have requirements that vendors farm within a specified geographic distance.

Many farmers sell Certified Organic fruits and vegetables. Organic farmers grow food based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. "Certified organic" means an accredited agency has confirmed that the farmer meets stringent organic requirements. Shopping at local farmers markets can reduce your carbon footprint since you are purchasing food that is grown locally instead of being shipped halfway around the world.

The first farmers market in California was started by the Interfaith Hunger Coalition. In 1978, the California Certified Farmers Market Association created standards and a support system for farmers markets, helping farmers sell their crops directly to the public. This direct connection between farmers and customers gives the customer the ability to know the people who grow their food.

Local Farmers Markets
Carmel Certified Farmers Market
3618 The Barnyard, Carmel
Tuesdays: 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Del Monte Certified Farmers Market
Del Monte Shopping Center
1410 Del Monte Center, Monterey
Sundays: 8:00 a.m. to noon
Marina Certified Farmers Market
215 Reservation Road, Marina
Sundays: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Monterey Peninsula College Certified
Farmers Market

930 Fremont St., Monterey
Fridays: 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Natividad Farmers Market
Natividad Medical Center, Building 200,
Sundays: 11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Old Monterey Marketplace
Alvarado Street and W Franklin Street,
Tuesdays: 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Pacific Grove Certified Farmers Market
Grand Avenue and Central Avenue,
Pacific Grove
Mondays: 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Salinas "Alisal" Certified Farmers Market
E. Alisal and Pearl Streets in Salinas
Thursdays: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Salinas Saturday Certified Farmers Market
Main Street and Central Avenue, Salinas
Saturdays: 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
  Aptos Farmers Market
Cabrillo College, 6500 Soquel Dr., Aptos
Saturdays: 8:00 a.m. - noon
Aptos Seascape Village
Sundays: 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Downtown Santa Cruz Farmers Market
Lincoln and Cedar Streets, Santa Cruz
Wednesdays: 1:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Felton Farmers Market
St. John's Church, Hwy 9, Felton
Tuesdays: 2:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Live Oak Farmers Market
15th and Portola, Santa Cruz
Sunday, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Scotts Valley Farmers Market
360 Kings Village Drive
Saturdays: 2:30 - 6:30 p.m.
UCSC Farm and Garden Market Cart
Bay and High Streets, Santa Cruz;
Tuesday and Friday, noon - 6:00 p.m.
Watsonville Farmers Market
Peck and Main Streets, Watsonville
Fridays: 3:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Westside Farmers Market
Western Drive and Mission Street, Santa Cruz
Saturdays: 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

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