Buying your food locally.
Buying locally is the simple concept of buying food tht is produced, grown, or raised as close to your home as possible.
The advantages are incredible (and edible):
- Local farmers can offer produce varieties bred for taste and freshness rather than for shipping and long shelf life. (Taste and freshness? What a concept!)
- Family farms are part of the American tradition of self-sufficiency and should serve as the basis of all local communities. No brainer: When you buy food from a local farm, your money stays in, and helps support your local community.
- When you buy food locally you reduce energy consumption. Local food doesn't have to travel far. Food, on average, travels 1500-2500 miles from farm to table. Buying locally helps to lower energy consumption by reducing transportation and storage, both of which are very energy-intensive and contribute to the pollution of our air and water.
- Certified Farmers' Markets are instrumental in preserving the diversity of California agriculture by providing marketing outlets for the small acreage growers of heirloom, culinary, ethnic, and specialty crops not widely grown on a large scale or found at traditional food sources.
One of the best ways to buy locally (and support local farms) is to shop at your local Farmers Market (another way is through Communitiy Supported Agriculture).
Where ya gonna go?
Now that you're convinced of the advantages of buying your food locally, where do you go? Well, if you live in San Diego County, you're in luck. Currently there are 45 Farmers Markets available (for your healthy shopping enjoyment).
Also, San Diego Farmers Markets are certified by the County Agricultural Commissioner, ensuring that the produce is being sold by the grower, is grown in California and meets all California quality standards. These criteria ensure that you receive the freshest produce possible.
Sage Mountain Farm is proud to offer their local, fresh, and Certified Organic produce at the biggest and best Farmers Market in San Diego.
Hillcrest Farmers Market.
Consistently voted the best of San Diego’s many Farmers Markets, this popular community gathering was created in 1997 by the Hillcrest Business Association. It’s part of the California Federation of Certified Farmers Markets.
Located in the DMV parking lot (Lincoln Street between Cleveland and Normal), in the beautiful San Diego community of Hillcrest (Home to Whole Foods Market). Open every Sunday, 9am to 2pm (rain or shine!).
The following video was shot in full 1080p HD (High Definition). If you have a fast internet connection, you're in for a treat. Look closely and you will see our Sage Mountain Farm booth in the backgraound of the first live interview.
Tips for shopping at Hillcrest Farmers Market.
Following are some tips for shopping at the Hillcrest Farmers Market:
- Early birds get to park in the DMV parking lot adjacent to the Market (very convenient).
- Early birds get the best looking and tasting, fresh picked, produce in San Diego County (before everyone else).
- Later is when the deals kick in. Shop early for quality, shop close to quitting time for the best price. You can alternate depending on your funds and how late you want to sleep in.
- Bring a cooler and tote bags. Your cooler can stay in your vehicle while you're shopping. If you pack your cooler with ziplock freezer bags filled with ice, you produce will stay cool and dry while you're shopping, having lunch, and while you transport it. (Soon, you will be able to buy some very cool tote bags from our store.)
- There is an ATM close to the DMV, but you may want to bring cash with you (small bills are appreciated).
- We offer free samples of our produce, as do many other vendors. (Don't you wish all Markets did?)
- Our produce is delivered to the Market in a refrigerated truck (one reason you may want to visit our stand first).
- Should your favorite produce items get wilted by the heat or sun, you can refresh it at home. Soak it in cold water, rinse and give it a spin in your salad spinner. Even the limpest veggies will crisp up. Wrap it in paper towels, place in a storage bag, and refrigerate. Refreshing your produce has the added benefit of removing dirt at the same time.
- After scoring the finest produce on the planet, and packing it away safely in your cooler, why not stick aroun for lunch? Hillcrest Farmers Market offers the widest selection of food vendors around! Everything from raw, vegan goodness (Peace Pies), to some "slammin salmon" products (Omega me well), to the sambussas, and gyros, and tamales and the best green smoothie around (The Green Fix)! You can't pass up La Milpa Organica either, they usually have the best priced/quality items the market has to offer. Lacto vegans can pick up some excellent quality cheeeeese from Springhill Farm! If you're into arts and crafts, there's a lot to choose from (not to mention live music).
- After lunch, instead of a sugary dessert, you can choose to sample some fresh fruits.
- On a nice, hot day, when it seems like everyone in SD is at the Market, we recommend gearing up with a helmet and shoulder pads (with an LT jersey, of course) just to survive the journey through the Market (just kidding). The baby strollers and old folks may appear to be operated by a remote control with dying batteries. You may get the feeling that you're surrounded by a lot off annoying, mouth breathing zombies. Just brush them off. Or try an abstract (and soon to be obsolete) thing called politeness: Say, "excuse me" (or if they are Hispanic, you might try, "Con Permiso"). Believe it or not, people will tend to move out of your way.
Note from Don Cook: More than 6,000 farmers work to make agriculture a one and one-half billion dollar industry in San Diego County. Many of our county's growers operate small family farms, with 65% harvesting nine acres or less. They have developed a reputation for quality, high-value specialty crops.