Farmers Market Update: Irvine

by | Mar 1, 2009

Avocados and Clementines

avocados and clementines

You may have guessed from the title that I am in Southern California, not San Francisco this weekend. Yesterday I found myself at the Irvine Farmers Market (near UC Irvine), and it was really awesome. You Orange County readers out there should definitely check this place out if you haven’t yet.

For me, the strangest thing about this excursion was the seasons down here are so different than they are where I live. I haven’t seen berries, summer squash or eggplants in San Francisco for months. But the sweet aroma of ripe strawberries filled the air here in Irvine. I guess it makes sense, since in this neighborhood summer lasts 11 months of the year (Did I mention it was 87 degrees?). Honestly, the warm air and change of scenery was welcome.

baby Indian eggplant
Despite these oddities, the normal winter fare was abundant as well. Citrus is thriving, as you might expect in Orange County. There were also plenty of the standard winter greens and squash. Multiple vendors sold specialty eggs, meats and cheeses. And there was no lack of exotic Asian ingredients, which I appreciate.

daikon and Taiwan celery
There were only two things that annoyed me about this market. First, the hours are not nearly long enough, 8am-12pm. I think it would be better for shopper and vendor alike if they stayed open until 2pm. Also, parking was a real pain. Combat both of these problems by going early.

Since I am on vacation I do not have a list of purchases from this trip, but I do have plenty of pictures.

Have you ever been to the Irvine Farmers Market? Any tips or suggestions?

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18 Responses to “Farmers Market Update: Irvine”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Seems like avocados are always in season. They are always available at the grocery story (TJs and Whole Foods) and seems like farmers markets always have them. You east-coasters always have avocados to?

  2. Christian says:

    Ooo thanks for the heads up 🙂 Have fun at your vacation.

  3. Zachary says:

    Seems like not everything is quite as horrific as you usually paint it (when it comes to food at least) down in SoCal. I’m glad that you’ve found a place you like down there. I’m curious. What are the best farmers’ markets down south? I know you went to the other one in Santa Monica or something.

  4. Greg says:

    Great update, thanks Darya! It is funny how people’s food supply can be so different across the country; suprising how different CA alone can be. I don’t think many places could ever compete with california’s food supply…..

  5. Darya Pino says:

    @AnonAvocados are actually a little hard to get in SF during the winter. Sometimes you can find them but they are expensive and not always good quality.—–@ChristianThanks!—–@ZacharyLOL, very funny. You are right it is not so bad here. It just takes a little more hunting that in does up in SF. It’s worth it though.To answer your question, as far as I know Santa Monica and Irvine are the best markets in the Southland. There is also supposed to be a good one on Hollywood and Vine, but I haven’t been there yet.Any one else care to chime in on this?—–@GregSeriously. I keep getting messages from people who won’t have markets open again for months. Booo.

  6. Car Blog says:

    Nice pics there. Which camera do you use. BTW what exactly is Irvine. Not heard of it much.

  7. Matt Shook says:

    @Zachary, DaryaActually, I think things are pretty bad down south…finding a good Farmers Market can be damn tough in SoCal. The Irvine one is probably the best you can find.The few that I know of are:1. The LAB in Costa Mesa used to have a smallish Farmer’s Market, but I think it’s wasn’t as hip as they thought it would be a dropped it. It was an average to below average experience in my opinion…2. The Grain Project Farmer’s Market in Santa Ana is temporarily closed…unfortunately. It was a very well run operation, and very important to the local community.3. Apparently the Mall of Orange or The Village at Mall of Orange or some crap has a Farmer’s Market on Thursdays…never seen it or been to it so I can’t vouch.The problem with Farmers Markets in the OC, well actually, with just Southern California in general is that you usually have to drive 15-25 minutes in your car to get to one of them. For me that is a real buzz kill.I think the Farmers Market at UCI is a great deal for the students who live on campus and in the nearby apartment complexes…hopefully they’re taking advantage of that resource.@Car BlogIrvine is quite possibly the squarest city in all of america…both in terms of residential/commercial planning and attitude. 😉

  8. Jude says:

    Still a few months until the farmers markets open in Chicago. Can’t wait 🙂

  9. Scott says:

    @carblogIrvine is a rare vine species found only in the deciduous rain forests of south america. It is considered a delicacy in most un-developed countries, and must be pan-fried for 3 hours to remove the alkaline chemicals that give it bitter taste. Once thats done however, the vine’s taste is an excellent salty-sweet crunch that will keep you coming back for more.

  10. Matt Shook says:

    @DaryaTotally unrelated to this post, but on your twitter.SW Airlines?! Are you crazy…Jet Blue is the way to go…totally inexpensive and top rate service. The last time I flew with them there was an hour delay…the next morning I received an email with an apology for the inconvenience and a $25 credit. Flying in and out of Long Beach is a breeze too…

  11. Darya Pino says:

    @Car BlogThanks! I experiment with a few different cameras–all Canon point and shoot varieties.Irvine is a suburban city in Orange County. As Matt says, it’s pretty lame but does house a rather large university, UC Irvine.—–@JudeHang in there!!—–@MattHa ha, I’m roping you into Twitter bit by bit. I love it!!I am not the biggest fan of Jet Blue, but mainly because I do not think Long Beach is a breeze–way too far from my usual destination in the Inland Empire. I usually fly into Ontario and Jet Blue doesn’t service there. I don’t think any airline is immune from roughing up luggage either.BTW, I cooked dinner for your bro last night 🙂

  12. Katie says:

    OMG check out this cool leafy-green website I just found- it rocks!!!!!

  13. NB says:

    Speaking of exotic Asian ingredients, I just cooked up some Chinese broccoli tonight, and was pretty successful; things tasted great, but the stalks were a little fibrous; anyone know how to make it less fibrous (other than cut the thick stalks off)?Also, the flowering Chinese broccoli looked beautiful, and the flowers didn’t cause any problems while I was pan-cooking them; in fact many stayed intact, which made for great aesthetics on my plate!

  14. Matt Shook says:

    @DaryaYeah, I’m starting to check twitter feeds more frequently…funny thing, I also made puttanesca tonight.No…freaking…way! You made my bro dinner last night? I gotta ask him about that. He probably hasn’t had a healthy home-cooked meal since I lived with him! =P

  15. Anonymous says:

    Next time you’re in Irvine, stop by Costa Mesa and have lunch at Avanti Cafe (on 17th St near Mothers) and check out Growers Ranch on Newport Dr (fruit/vegetable supply place – amazing produce, amazing prices!)

  16. Matt Shook says:

    @AnonymousI can confirm that Avanti cafe is excellent…very good options there. I would also recommend Mother’s Market…the Irvine and Laguna Woods location both have VERY good cafes in them. Don’t expect to find any flesh on their menus, but their soups are awesome…I used to plan my week around their faux-chicken and rice soup on Thursdays. 😉

  17. Darya Pino says:

    @Anon @MattGreat news! I always starve when I’m down there!!

  18. hi Darya

    I like fruits very much, specialy avocados and clementines. We can take avocados in our country a long the year. But clementines we import from other country so the price a little expensive…

    By the way your blog is very informative…thanks

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