If you want to get a glimpse into the San Clemente community, all you need to do is stroll along Avenida Del Mar on a Sunday morning. From Calle Seville to Ola Vista, vendors of the San Clemente Farmers Market line the northern sidewalk to sell goods from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Sunday, rain or shine.
Take your time, linger at each table and you’ll hear familiar exchanges between vendors and customers. The farmers market has been around for more than 20 years, and San Clemente locals have been customers for just as long. Perhaps the locals are privy to a secret: there is something wholesome about the products at this market.
Take Old Town Baking Company, for example. Vendor Steve Crosseen, who also manages the market in Dana Point, talks about how fresh the bread, cookies and granola are that come from Old Town Baking Company in Rancho Cucamonga. He’s been representing the tables at these farmers markets for years and believes in the quality of the products he’s selling.
As you stroll further east on Del Mar, you will find vibrant produce coming from Valdivia Farms in Carlsbad. From bunches of purple and orange carrots to mounds of baby heirloom tomatoes of various colors, you will want to stock up on these fun, fresh items to use in your favorite recipes.
Once you reach the Berumen Farms table, you will have an opportunity to buy various vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. With farms in San Luis Obispo County and Orange County, the vendor assures its customers, “We grow what we sell.” One look at the bright red strawberries for sale and you will want to taste for yourself.
By the time you near the easternmost end of the market, you will come upon one of San Clemente’s most longstanding treasures: the booth representing Don’s Farm. Don Davis is a long-time farmer and vendor at the San Clemente Farmers Market. For many years, Davis has been bringing various types of produce from his farm in Wildomar.
He sells a range of fruits, vegetables and grains at different times, including blackberries, blueberries, oranges, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, carrots, squash and sweet corn. Davis says he grows and sells about five different types of squash including spaghetti squash. Depending on the time of year and how dry the climate is, he may not have much to sell in the way of fruits, vegetables or grains, but there is usually honey on the table.
If you like honey, you need to check out this booth. Davis sells multiple types of honey including clover honey, wildflower honey, orange blossom honey, alfalfa honey and buckwheat honey. As an extra special treat, he also has bee pollen on hand. Perhaps one of the lesser-known superfoods, bee pollen is thought to be quite nourishing for the human body in small doses.
Larena Lawrence, who helps run the booth, is full of knowledge about honey and bee pollen, and can also share stories about working with bees. She’s not quite as at ease with the bees as Davis is. She says Davis will calmly let the bees crawl around on his face. When asked about working with them, Davis communicated a necessary respect for the bees.
“It’s fascinating working with bees,” he says. “They work hard. They’re always working.”
Learning about and listening to Davis talk about his work, it’s easy to see why he would recognize and appreciate the hard work of a bee. He says he brings 200 dozen eggs to the San Clemente Farmers market each Sunday. Thursdays are egg day on the farm. He spends the day preparing the eggs to be delivered to various markets over the weekend.
His eggs are what he’s best known for. Some of the freshest eggs available, people have been purchasing and enjoying them from various farmers markets in Southern California for many years. Watching him interact with his local San Clemente customers was further evidence of how much his eggs, and his presence at the farmers market are appreciated.
Davis and Crosseen and other vendors at the San Clemente Farmers Market can attest to all the positive aspects of shopping locally for produce. The benefits of buying locally are becoming more and more well-known in general. Along with supporting local farmers, there are other reasons to shop at the Farmers Market.
The produce you purchase at the San Clemente Farmers Market is fresh and organic, which means it’s healthier to consume than some of the other produce on offer at different markets. There are more nutrients in the produce, which is evident by the bright color—for example, in the carrots and heirloom tomatoes from Valdivia Farms.
By shopping at the farmers market, you are also being kind to the environment. You are helping to conserve fuel by not purchasing produce that has been shipped from farther away. Also, as previously noted, shopping at your local farmers market allows you to experience the community in a fun way.
If you haven’t already made the San Clemente Farmers Market part of your Sunday routine, what are you waiting for?