Another Coast, Another Farmer’s Market

Farmer’s Market Arbor

I’m on the west coast now and I thought I would tempt you with some new farmer’s market photos! The Vineyard Farmer’s Market in Fresno, CA, gathers each Wednesday and Saturday under the cover of this beautiful greenery-draped arbor. My aunt and I woke up early and made it down to the market by around 8:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Farmer’s Market Carrots

Although I have yet to cook with them myself, I’m always drawn to these bunches of colorful carrots.

Fresno Farmer’s Market

Lots of beautiful grapes, peaches, and nectarines to be found here!

Chocolate Mint

I first discovered chocolate mint at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City. It amazingly smells exactly like chocolate mint candy. I haven’t cooked with it yet but I’m doing some research on different ways to use this stuff and plan on writing about it soon!

Aunt Kathy at Farmer’s Market

My aunt Kathy grabbed some green beans while I questioned these girls about some of the stranger-looking vegetables they had on display. I now know what bitter melon looks like (the prickly cucumber-like things in between the two types of purple eggplant) but I don’t really have any desire to taste it! Aren’t those eggplant beautiful?

Farmer’s Market Okra

Mmmmm…fresh okra! According to the nice woman who was selling these, the dark-colored ones are a different variety but taste the same as the green. Those little plastic bags sitting on top of the peppers are filled with pieces of cactus.

Update: Not so sure about okra? Check out the post over at Tastes Like Home and maybe you’ll change your mind!

Farmer’s Market Currants

In case you’ve never seen them fresh, these are what currants look like before they are dried and baked inside your favorite scones!

If you still haven’t checked out your own local farmer’s market yet, what are you waiting for? Remember, there are at least 10 reasons to buy local food!

  1. Lia Huber

    What a great tour of farmers markets! I loved reading about the Union Square FM . . . that was the one that got me hooked when I lived there and I still make a point of visiting whenever I return.

    If you’re planning to visit wine country, plan a visit to the Healdsburg Farmers Market on Saturday morning. It’s quite the bucolic, small-town scene. A few are even just backyard gardeners. In fact, I need to head to the Tuesday night market on the Plaza tonight to pay an IOU to my fish guy! 😉

    Enjoy the rest of your travels and thanks for sharing!

    Lia Huber

    10:28 pm  Aug 14th, 2007
  2. Emon

    Hola! So how does the East coast farmer’s market culture differ from the West coast one in your opinion? Does the question make sense?

    10:31 pm  Aug 14th, 2007
  3. Nicole

    Lia: Farmer’s markets are so much fun! My favorite thing about Sicily is all the outdoor produce market and it’s nice to know that they are really gaining in popularity here in the states. I’d love to visit the wine country but I don’t think it’s in the cards for this trip. I am planning on checking out at least one local winery here though 🙂

    Emon: What surprised me most about visiting the Union Square Greenmarket is that there was no difference in the ‘market culture.’ It seems that people who care about growing/selling/buying/eating good, wholesome food are universally friendly and down-to-earth people 🙂

    10:45 pm  Aug 14th, 2007
  4. Ruby Berry

    Beautiful pictures Nicole, the sky looks so blue through the arbor.

    I have never seen chocolate mint before, I’m going to have to smell that.

    And you took pictures of nopales! (spanish for cactus)
    My mother cooks quit a bit with nopales, she makes salsa with it that is quite fresh and yummy. She also scrambles eggs with it and puts in in warm corn tortillas for breakfast. She also makes meat dishes with it. I’ll have her share some of those recipes if you like 🙂

    10:46 pm  Aug 14th, 2007
  5. Nicole

    Ruby: I’ve eaten nopales here several times but never cooked with it. I know my Dad uses it sometimes. Anyway, I’d love to try making salsa with it…actually there are several salsa recipes that I would love to learn from your mom! I’m thinking about buying some chocolate mint tomorrow and doing something with it. I’ll let you know.

    10:49 pm  Aug 14th, 2007
  6. Cynthia

    You are wicked to be tempting us this way. But we love it 🙂

    12:31 am  Aug 15th, 2007
  7. Nicole

    Cynthia: Just noticed your great post and article about okra at Tastes Like Home. I updated my post with a link to yours (under the okra photo!). Thanks for stopping by!

    1:03 am  Aug 15th, 2007
  8. elisa

    I have never seen carots with different colors! have they used colorant? or they grow naturally like that?Amazing

    1:18 am  Aug 15th, 2007
  9. Joe

    I swear, you find the most interestingly-colored foods around. I would expect those to be watered with food coloring to get that way.

    Looks like fun.


    4:33 am  Aug 15th, 2007
  10. Nicole

    Elisa: I bet they have some great farmer’s markets up there in Washington. Maybe if I come to visit sometime we can go out and look for one!

    Joe: I’m attracted to shiny objects and brightly colored vegetables. I just can’t help it 😉

    5:00 am  Aug 15th, 2007
  11. Katiez

    Such fun and interesting things at your marktets! The local ones I go to have pretty standard fare. The French “paysan” are not adventuresome eaters – they may eat weird stuff but it’s the same weird stuff they’ve been eating for hundreds of years!
    One would think with the Vietnamese influence we would see more Asian things… but not here!

    7:30 am  Aug 15th, 2007
  12. Curt

    I know there are some farmers markets around, but I usually go right to the farmers, as I drive by the stands every day. One of the pleasures of living in the country… Soon, I’ll have some of the best blackberries I’ve ever had, right from the yard where they’re grown!

    2:30 pm  Aug 15th, 2007
  13. Carolyn Nolan

    Welcome home, Nicole. I love your website and especially the photos. I see so much of your mom’s creativity in you.

    Did you go to the Fig Fest? I stood right next to Alice Waters at the Farmers Market, but didn’t talk with her. Cool!


    2:51 pm  Aug 15th, 2007
  14. Terry B

    It’s ironic that here in the middle of the country, surrounded by farmland, Chicago’s farmers markets are pathetic compared to the coasts. Of course, the focus of farming in America’s heartland is industrial production of tons and tons of food to feed the nation. My older daughter has a friend who moved here from Omaha. When anyone asks her what’s in Omaha, she answers, “Your dinner, [insert bad word here].”

    4:26 pm  Aug 15th, 2007
  15. Lia Huber

    I have to add to Elisa’s comment about colored carrots above . . . aren’t they cool? They’re actually just special strains of carrots that have slightly different pigment to make them purple or yellow or such. Purple carrots (and potatoes!) have been some of my daughter’s favorites this summer (she’s 9 months now, we adopted her from Guatemala and brought her home 2 months ago), which has been fun.

    Nicole, thanks for stopping by . . . I’ll hope to run into you at the Healdsburg Farmers Market on one of your next trips!

    5:00 pm  Aug 15th, 2007
  16. Amy

    Hi cousin, those are great photos. you need to check out the clovis farmer’s market too, its great! close to my house! 🙂 has my cousin Andie contacted you yet?

    5:29 pm  Aug 15th, 2007
  17. Nicole

    Katiez: I love seeing new and unusual things out at the markets and asking questions about them but the truth is that I tend to buy pretty normal things 🙂

    Curt: That’s great!

    Carolyn: Unfortunately I missed out on Fig Fest because I headed to the bay area for the weekend. They were just setting up the giant fig when we arrived!

    Terry B: Hahaha! I love that question/answer about Omaha! Hopefully you’ll start seeing more and better local markets as people (hopefully) start becoming more interested in where their food is coming from.

    Lia: Thanks for answering Elisa’s questions because I really don’t know much about colored carrots and I was about to do some internet research on it 🙂

    Amy: When is the Clovis market? Is it open any weeknight? Maybe you and Corinne and I should go and then cook something 🙂 I’ll e-mail Andie right now!

    5:47 pm  Aug 15th, 2007
  18. David Santos

    Congratulations for your work, that is very good, and have a good month of vacation

    10:20 pm  Aug 15th, 2007
  19. Nirmala

    I love farmer’s markets. It sounds like you had the same crazy travel schedule I did except in reverse. I flew from the W. Coast to the E. Coast two times in two weeks at the end of July!

    11:27 pm  Aug 15th, 2007
  20. Nicole

    David: Thanks!

    Nirmala: Wow, two trips across the country in two weeks! At least I only made it halfway across the country before heading back to the east coast 😉

    4:02 am  Aug 16th, 2007
  21. Steven

    You forgot a couple of things about this farm market – the coffee is better than the Seattle brand – roasted in the largest roaster in the central valley, and you forgot to mention the bee man – his organic honey is like no other, and the soap he makes is AMAZING – I understand Fresno is like home to you so I hope you had a nice trip – there is the Tower District Farm Market for you to try next time.

    1:48 pm  Aug 16th, 2007
  22. Nicole

    Steven: You’re right, I should have mentioned Fabiano’s Coffee Roasters and Bee Bob’s honey. I’ve tasted both and they are great! Also, I thought it was great that there is a guy who will do on-site knife sharpening!

    I actually didn’t know about the Tower District market, I’ll have to check it out since the place I’m staying right now is actually right near there.

    5:41 pm  Aug 16th, 2007
  23. claudia young

    i’ve never seen carrots like that. how absolutely beautiful. also i am jealous that you have blogger friends close by. i wanna meet you at the market and cook something with somebodyyyyy… i’m operating in a vacuum here in nashville land.

    6:46 pm  Aug 16th, 2007
  24. monica

    Love the photos! Have you been to the Farmer’s Market at Bentleys? I heard it’s supposed to be really nice.

    4:17 pm  Aug 17th, 2007
  25. Nicole

    Claudia: I’m sure there’s a way to find some fellow foodies around there!

    Monica: I haven’t been to that one, I’ll have to check it out! Thanks for the link 🙂

    11:59 pm  Aug 17th, 2007
  26. Khloe

    hi nice post, i enjoyed it

    4:01 am  Aug 19th, 2007
  27. Joan Obra

    Thanks for mentioning my story in your blog!

    Just wanted to chime in on the chocolate mint. I steeped it in a creme Anglaise, then turned that lovely mixture into ice cream. Try it, and please do let us know what you think.

    (And just so you know, I accidentally curdled the creme Anglaise, but after turning around in the ice-cream maker, it had the perfect texture. I still don’t know if this was just a fluke.)

    10:49 pm  Aug 21st, 2007
  28. Curt

    You have some great shots there for the Carnival of Food Photography! 🙂 (hint, hint)

    6:53 pm  Aug 22nd, 2007
  29. rick

    Our Farmers Market’s this year are on Friday’s. It starts on Friday April 18th and runs until November 14. Always goes from 6-9pm.It is held on our Courtyard under the cool canopy of umbrellas! Meet Local Farmers, Artists, T-Shirt Vendors, Sculptors & Photographers. All of which are selling straight to you the consumer. Bentley’s doesn’t charge a fee or percentage like normal Farmer Markets do. We offer this as a place where local vendors can meet and sell there wears to your the consumer.

    Also, we will have again this year our Thursday night Classic Car shows from 6-9pm. Starting April 17th.

    Another thing that Bentley’s does like no other store in Fresno is Wine tasting! We have around 40 people attend each tasting with our online membership at 185. Check out pictures of past tastings at

    8:58 am  Feb 26th, 2008
  30. Katie

    How funny! I Just bought a bunch of those cute carrots this weekend. I couldn’t resist them! Great post, The Vineyard is awesome.

    1:29 am  May 26th, 2009
  31. Rick

    Bentley’s Farmers Market & Live Music on Friday Nights is such an amazing way to spend an evening. Take a stroll throughout The Grand Courtyard. Meander by each of the fountains, stopping to toss a wishing coin in the water. This 10,000 sf Courtyard is truly Fresno’s best kept secret! Enjoy local produce vendors as you hear the sounds and vocals of some of Fresno’s best singers. The kids will enjoy free face painting while mom and dad find a relaxing corner table at the adjoining Bistro courtyard. Nothing like enjoying a good bottle of wine under the stars on a Friday night!

    Other vendors besides Farmers…Local Clothing Designers, Local Sculptors, Local Painters, Local Photographers and Costume Jewelry Designers

    Bentley’s Farmers Market & Live Music is every Friday from 6pm until 8pm. This event runs until Friday November 6th 2009.

    Bentley’s Fresh Market
    Farmers Market
    9439 N Fort Washington Road (across from Woodward Park)

    9:41 pm  Jun 7th, 2009
  32. Christina

    I’m from Fresno and I’ve been going to that farmer’s market ever since I was a little girl. You captured the market beautifully and I even recognize the currant vendor’s handwriting. You’ve made the market seem like such a special place in your pictures. I am currently a student at UCLA and looking at these pictures makes me want to visit home!

    11:31 pm  Oct 19th, 2009
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