Farmers’ Markets are more than just a place to pick up your weekly food fare of fruits and veggies — it’s educational, it’s fun and it’s free (if you don’t purchase anything).  You meet the most interesting people and you discover the most interesting things.  The local growers, retailers, chefs, and food artisans as well as the local artists and crafters are friendly and eager to share their knowledge with you.

As Farmers’ Markets go I believe those in San Diego County, California get the Gold Star.  There are 62+ Farmers’ Markets and you can go to a market somewhere every day of the week.   A listing for each of them can be found in “edible San Diego”, a quarterly publication which also includes interesting articles and recipes. This timely magazine can be found at:

With so many Farmers’ Markets to choose from it is difficult to pick a favorite.  Each has its own “flavor”.

The Oceanside market is unique in that it is two markets both held on Thursday.  “Oceanside Market and Faire” is held Thursday from 9 AM to 1 PM.  At that time two more streets are cordoned off to accommodate “Ocean Sunset” which starts at 5 PM in the summer and 4 PM during the winter.  Both are different so it’s fun to go in the morning and stay for the evening.  Bring a beach blanket and during the afternoon head two blocks down to the beach and grab some sun.  There is ample “all day” parking and it is free.

The morning market primarily features the local growers selling their produce and flowers and chefs preparing their specialties that attack your sense of smell and entice you to eat everything in sight.

The mushroom sampler is a favorite!
The mushroom sampler is a favorite!

78 year old George Petrou is a native of Greece who attributes 3 pickled garlic cloves a day to his good health and well-being  Of course he founded Petrou Foods the company that produces the pickled garlic as well as other products.  There’s a lot more to George Petrou though.  George trained as a fashion designer under Coco Channel and was a fashion designer in Athens.  He designed clothes for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Maria Callas and Brigitte Bardot.  His life changed in 1967 when the Greek government was overthrown and he was forced to flee Greece.  He ended up in La Jolla, California where he opened a boutique.  His wife was also a designer and she designed clothes for Jane Fonda and Lynda Carter.  His story is amazing and you can learn more about George Petrou the designer turned olive grower at

He is a delightful personality who takes time to visit.  We lived in the same area during the same time so it was great getting to know him.

George Petrou selling olive oil produced by his company.
George Petrou selling olive oil produced by his company.

These are sea urchins!  These sea urchins are ALIVE!

A living breathing sea urchin!
A living breathing sea urchin!

This is a sea urchin that has been cut in half and is presumably still alive….  the “uni” or orange roe in the center is a sweet delicacy eaten raw or incorporated into a sauce.  I have a rule:  I eat nothing that is still alive, but I’m sure for those brave souls who purchased this it was just…..

People having fun!
People having fun!

Oceanside Sunset offers live entertainment, even more international food faire and over 100 juried vendors.

Everybody or every bunny has fun at the Farmers Market and yes that's a bunny stroller.
Everybody and every bunny has fun at the Farmers Market and yes that’s a bunny stroller.

Gregg “Viz” Visintainer is one of the most creative artists I have ever encountered.  Self-taught his style is actually an outgrowth of “doodling” in class when he was 15.  His work is unbelievable.  A print has a main theme or message and when you look closely the background has messages, pictures and words all related to the main image.  I purchased greeting cards and the price was very reasonable at $5 a card.  He has a couple prints I hope to own soon.  Gregg has received a lot of recognition in Southern California and he opened his own gallery in Carlsbad in January of this year.  I cannot get a good image to post here so please check out his website:

Gregg "Viz" Visintranier
Gregg “Viz” Visintranier

A little music and then it’s time to go home.

Live Entertainment at the Oceanside Sunset
Live Entertainment at the Oceanside Sunset

© HeididmSchmidt and Little USA Trips July 1, 2012.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to HeididmSchmidt and Little USA Trips with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. Very interesting Heidi. Looking forward to reading more.

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