By Lauren Herber, Staff Writer
Farmers’ markets are a trend that has been growing in popularity around the country. Within the past couple of years, curiosity about what goes into the foods that we consume (and the often terrifying answers) has grown, leading to an increased awareness about the chemicals and hormones that we’ve been unknowingly putting into our bodies for years. Farmers’ markets are a great way to get fresh, delicious produce and products that are chemical- and pesticide-free. Phoenix is no exception to this phenomenon, and the city hosts several farmer’s markets every weekend that are chock full of colorful produce, artisan breads and cheeses, and even specialty mustards, honeys, and jams. Thunderbird student Sylvia Imbrock (MBA ’15, US) loves farmers’ markets because the food there simply tastes better than what you can find in stores. “Buying fruits and vegetables from Wal-Mart is a bad idea,” says Sylvia. “Buying your produce at farmers’ markets is a WONDERFUL idea,” especially if you’re searching for that perfect fall pumpkin—“I love buying pumpkins at markets because I love the irregular shapes and colors you can find from small growers,” says Sylvia. In addition to unique pumpkins, Sylvia also recommends looking for produce that comes in textures, colors, and tastes you’d never find at the grocery store, like zebra tomatoes, rainbow chard, or purple carrots. One thing to keep in mind about farmers’ markets is that you’re paying for quality over quantity. “Sticker shock is my greatest challenge as a student,” says Sylvia. “But you can get deals if you bargain near the end of the market.” Here’s a list of six farmers’ markets all located in downtown Phoenix or Scottsdale that are great options for Thunderbird students.
Located in downtown Phoenix near ASU’s downtown campus, this farmer’s market is open on Thursday evenings from 5-9 PM and Saturday mornings from 8 AM-1 PM. This market is a program of Community Food Connections, a nonprofit that supports small farmers and businesses with a focus on sustainable food systems and healthy products for the local community. There are tons of fresh veggies, cupcakes, breads, chocolates, BBQ sauces, jewelry, clothing, pickles, coffee, tortillas, hummus, and even paella every Saturday at this market. Last week, I bought a locally made 9-grain loaf of bread from the Phoenix Public Market that was full of oats and grains with just a hint of honey sweetness—I highly recommend it! There are lots of yummy samples from the vendors, but don’t fill up to quickly—the Phoenix Public Market café, located just steps from the market, offers several delicious brunch options. If that doesn’t tempt your appetite, you can eat on the go from food trucks such as Pizza People, Hey Joe, and Torched Goodness.
This farmer’s market, located in downtown Phoenix on Central Ave, is located in an old car dealership. The building boasts a vintage feel, with beautiful exposed brick walls and rustic beams. Unlike the other markets, DeSoto is open every day of the week. On Sundays from 10 AM-3 PM they host an indoor farmer’s market, and the rest of the week they feature several different eateries that use only locally grown ingredients. These vendors offer unique types of cuisine, including specialty burgers, craft beer and cocktails, gourmet tea and toast, homestyle Southern dishes with a modern twist, Latin American and Asian fusion, oysters, and cold-pressed juices and salads.
This market is also located in downtown Phoenix at Central and Bethany Home. The market, which is open on Saturday mornings from 9 AM-1 PM and Wednesday mornings from 8 AM-1 PM, is Sylvia’s favorite farmer’s market in Phoenix. “There are lots of other activities and vendors aside from food, and it’s great people watching, too,” she says. At the Uptown Farmer’s market, you can get all your produce sliced or chopped on site, making weeknight cooking much quicker. It’s also the only market in Arizona that features fresh fish on ice, so keep it in mind when you’re craving seafood. An added bonus to this market is that they donate all their extra food to the homeless.
If you want to eat fresh produce locally grown on a sustainable farm, Singh Farms is the farmer’s market for you. Open on Saturdays from 9 AM-2 PM in Scottsdale, this farmer’s market is the perfect place to get fresh produce as well as specialty homemade butters, dips, honeys, oils, and jams, like apple butter or chili oil. They also Wilcox apple cider, a perfect addition to these chilly fall evenings. Save your appetite when you go, because for just $5 you can purchase a special lunch every week that’s made right there on the farm.
The market at Vincent’s is another market located in downtown Phoenix on east Camelback Road. Open on Saturday mornings from 9 AM-1 PM, this market is marked by a European flare. They’re known for their gluten free baked goods, specialty mustards, and paella. All their produce is fresh and comes from Duncan’s Trading Co. They’re also famous for their freshly made sandwiches, crepes, pizzas, and mimosas. Vincent’s farmer’s market is also a great place to buy imported cheeses and gifts from the south of France such as honey, olive oil, tablecloths, jewelry, artisan chocolates, and French soaps.
This farmers’ market is located right in the heart of beautiful Old Town Scottsdale. Open on Saturday mornings from 8 AM-1 PM, the market boasts fresh produce from Blue Sky Farms, Maya Farm, and McClendon Select. Something to look for at this market is the exotic fruits and veggies and the sweets from Essence. You can also find freshly baked breads from Arizona Bread Company. Keep your eyes open for the seasonal specialties as well. Right now is a good time to get fall foods such as apples, cider, and pumpkin-related products. While the prices are a bit higher at this farmers’ market, the quality is unbeatable. Make sure to bring you pets with you: this market is very dog friendly, and your pooch will likely be spoiled by both vendors and other market-goers.