The La Jolla farmers’ market is a perfect example of a really cool thing that doesn’t get on the radar screen of most visitors. It’s held every Sunday from 9am – 1pm on the playground of La Jolla Elementary on “upper Girard.” That’s the part of our main drag that extends south of Pearl Street.
The market – officially it’s the “La Jolla Elementary Open Aire Market” – is popular with lots of locals who are there every week stocking up on fruit, veggies, and flowers. However, even if you are traveling and not cooking (hey, I live here and don’t cook) there are lots of other reasons to go.
Personally, I love the jewelry – especially the fact that if I see something I like, but it’s not exactly what I want, the artisan will often offer to take a custom order. Even the woman who sells the Deruta pottery wrote down the description of the planter I wanted and brought it back from Italy on her next trip. Other vendors sell colorful cotton tablecloths, Oriental rugs, handmade pottery, and a wide range of clever clothing.
The market is also a great place to find gourmet food items – to keep or to gift. I often buy the flavored olive oil, the handcrafted salsa, and the organic salad dressing. Having said that, in truth, my favorite market foods are the highly-addictive kettle corn and anything from Charlie’s Best Breads.
More than 75 vendors set up stalls every week. Another ten or so, set up mini-kitchens. I don’t know how they manage in such small spaces, but I’ve had some great Mexican dishes from this mobile food court, as well as crepes, gyros, kebabs, and barbecued chicken. The shaded picnic tables also make a good spot for people watching.
It’s a bit of a carnival really. Serious foodies march from stall to stall procuring ingredients; kids run wild in the play area; folks stand in line for a chair massage; and live music puts a smile on everyone’s face.
It can be crowded, and you may have to maneuver around baby strollers and step over a few dog leashes, but if you go, you’ll see why it’s my favorite slice of La Jolla life.