Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Markets – An Edible Paradise

In 1976, four local farmers got together and started a small farmers market to sell their crops.  From those humble beginnings, the Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Markets have grown into a set of 4 award winning markets in the Monterey Bay area with over 90 vendors. The markets span the beautiful California coast from Santa Cruz to Carmel. Concentrating on food, food purveyors, and food goods from small California farms, the markets are compromised of the Aptos Market, the Carmel Market, the Monterey Peninsula Market (MPC) and the Del Monte Market . The Aptos and MPC markets are open year round, rain or shine, while the Carmel and Del Monte are open seasonally.  As certified markets, the vendors only sell goods they have grown, caught or made themselves. Generations of farmers having been attending the market since its inception.  Some of the vendors are the sons and daughters, or even grandchildren of prior vendors.  The market is so popular that it’s vendor waiting list has over 200 names! Goods range from almonds, corn and hummus to freshly caught fish and organic beef, flowers and a wide range of fruits. Unique tropical fruits such as satsumas, pineberries and chimeras are market specialties.

Pineberries

Pineberries are tecnically strawberries with a pineapple-like tropical flavor.

Each of the locations has its own appeal and vibe. Two of the markets are on college campuses including the year round Aptos Market at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz, which features a 3-tiered market with an ocean view from the top floor, and the MPC Market located at the Monterey Peninsula College. The Del Monte Market is located in front Whole Foods at the Del Monte Center. Whole Foods so appreciated the selection offered by the market’s vendors that they invited them to hold the market in front of the store, allowing people to offset purchases from one or the other. Finally, the Carmel Market is a relaxed atmosphere located in the beautiful sea shore town of Carmel famous for the Pebble Beach Golf Course, fine dining, and Danielle Steele novels.

Visit Carmel-by-the-Sea

A picturesque view of the coastline near Carmel-by-the-Sea. Ready to go?

One idea shared by all of the Monterey Bay Certified Farmer’s Markets is Farmer’s Market Big Bucks.  Two years ago the markets decided to take the trouble of having to find an ATM at the market and started to “print its own money.” Available in $20 increments, Farmer’s Market Big Bucks provide a unique option for visitors that run out of cash or want to purchase from a vendor that doesn’t accept credit or debit cards.  By visiting the information tent at the Aptos or MPC markets you can quickly and easily trade your card swipe for Bucks to use with vendors. Such a great idea to help both customers and vendors!  

The Monterey Bay Markets are located near and around many unique attractions and activities.  While you’re in the area check out the 100 year old Santa Cruz Boardwalk with its wooden roller coaster, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Carmel -by-the-Sea, or head out to sea for some whale watching! In addition to all the attractions in the immediate area, the market’s are only an hour from San Francisco, San Jose, and many other large California towns and cities. Being in proximity to many world renowned artists, restaurants and chefs, provides the market with great opportunities for special events such as Shopping with the Chefs, where local restaurateurs provide a demonstration and tasting using market products. The markets also present lectures from authors on a variety of topics, and themed food fairs.

Whether you live in the Monterey Bay area or will be in the area for a visit, make sure to check out one or all of these exciting markets. To help keep up with all the special events, market hours, available products, and seasonal offering make sure to sign up for the markets award winning newsletter, Edible Paradise. Even if a trip to California is not in your plans, the newsletter is full of market information, great recipes, and other fantastic information. Make sure to add it to your weekly reading list.

About the Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Markets: Aptos Market at Cabrillo College, 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos, CA. Open year-round, rain or shine, Saturdays 8am to Noon; MPC Market at Monterey Peninsula College, 930 Fremont St., Monterey, CA. Open year-round,rain or shine, Fridays 10am to 2pm; Carmel Market at the Barnyard Shopping Village, 3690 The Barnyard, Carmel, CA. Open May-September, rain or shine, 9am to 1pm; Del Monte Market, Del Monte Shopping Center, 1410 Del Monte Center, Monterey, CA. Open May-October, rain or shine, Sundays, 8am to Noon.

See you soon at the market!

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