Stay Fresh Locally: Silicon Valley Farmers Markets

By Ann Ho

California is the best place for fresh fruits and vegetables. People have access to them all year round, unlike other states that experience extreme seasons. With California’s Central Valley only a short drive away from Silicon Valley, lots of variety and choices such as organic and non-GMO food are abundantly available.

Recently, I spoke with a friend about health and fitness. The conversation centered on healthy eating. Having grown up in the Golden State, I never realized how privileged we are to have regular access to fruits and vegetables as compared to those living elsewhere. Being able to shop for the freshest produce is important to Californians. A great place to start is by buying from our local farmers markets.

There are different types of fresh-food markets. Traditional establishments such as the historic Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington, known for their showy fish-tossing tradition,  continuously operate in one, fixed location. Another type is the open-air, DeMartini Orchard off of San Antonio Road in Los Altos that opens every day. Finally, there are event-style farmers markets that pop up weekly or bi-weekly. They are easy to spot as columns of canopies standing along streets in popular areas of towns. Silicon Valley hosts many of these types throughout the year. A big reason why these are so popular is shoppers’ desire to shop locally for food grown locally. Indeed, for offerings at a farmers market, the level of freshness is measured in just hours from field to market rather than the days accumulated between mass-production farms and supermarket shelves.

Because the Silicon Valley hosts so many farmers markets, you most certainly can find one nearby. Since they are open only once or twice a week, it is great to plan ahead of time if you choose to visit one. Here are some in the South Bay and southern peninsula:

  • Thursdays, 4pm-8pm, 2nd Street, Los Altos
  • Saturdays, 9am-1pm, Downtown Sunnyvale
  • Sundays, 9am-1pm, California Avenue, Palo Alto
  • Sundays, 9am-1pm, Downtown Mountain View
  • Sundays, 9am-1pm, Downtown Menlo Park

I recently headed over to my favorite farmer’s market in downtown Sunnyvale one Saturday morning. This particular one has lots of variety and stands. One of the vendors that I spoke to was Stevie Hall of Halls Organic Farms based in Salinas, California. He sells fresh strawberries, lettuce, and carrots, all of which are organic. Stevie likes to talk with shoppers who ask about the week’s crops and offers samples to allow his produce to speak for themselves.

He mentioned that people like that his products are super fresh and appreciate that it’s all locally grown. Specifically, everything I saw at the stands was all harvested the day before! “Ultimately, people like to know where their food comes from,” Stevie told me, “Know your farmer, know your food.” His customers follow Stevie on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, @hallsorganicfarms, to keep up to date on what’s new at the farm.

What I like about farmers markets is the strong sense of community they foster amid bustling Silicon Valley. Farmers markets allow growers and buyers to connect in ways that don’t happen any other way. Happy eating!