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Many of us have gone to a farmer’s market, or been unable to get to one during its prescribed day and hours of operation, and wished there was a farmer’s market in a set location that was open seven days a week. So did Vince Brown and Jerry Moore, business partners who are taking that desire a step further to build the facility they so covet.

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Vince Brown (left) and Jerry Moore stand at the gates to their soon-to-open market on the north end of Liberty Station.

That dream is about to be realized when SOL Markets opens in Liberty Station in early February. Picture it—a marketplace consisting exclusively of fresh locally sourced meats, seafood, produce, canned goods and beverages—open every day of the week featuring set prices and inventory. More than just a foodie’s dream come true, it’s a welcomed outlet for those whose consumables will grace SOL’s shelves.

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In addition to simply giving them a place to market their wares, SOL will provide opportunities to introduce consumers to these farmers, ranchers, cheese makers, brewers and the like by featuring write-ups on each of them right next to their products. They’ll also regularly have those artisans over to explain their operations and their products in a special space set up for meet-and-greets that go far-beyond terse pre-canned convos with dispassionate toothpick-speared sample pushers at Trader Joe’s or Costco.

The event space is but one of the amenities that make SOL special. As reported last week, former Ritual Tavern chef Brandon Brooks has signed on to run the market’s built-in bistro. Slated to open in April, the dining area will be laid out much like a pub with a bar running the length of the room and standing room only tables lining the far wall. Numerous rotating small bites will be available along with draft and bottled beers and an assortment of other beverages.

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A tap system will soon be installed in SOL's bistro from which to dispense local craft beer goodness to thirsty shoppers.

Brooks will also be in charge of helping Brown and Moore select the producers SOL sources items from. His familiarity with the edibles coming in will be put to use and disseminated to customers via an exhibition kitchen where he’ll show groups of a dozen or so how to build dishes consisting solely of ingredients plucked from the market’s shelves, bins and cases.

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It takes some imagining, but this will be one of San Diego's most intimate exhibition kitchens.

The market itself will be somewhat small, filling out the fire truck bay of the former NTC fire station they’re taking over, but the use of outdoor areas at both of main entrances will allow for stocking and sale of as many products as possible. As it turns out, a huge space isn’t necessary in the grand scheme Brown and Moore have established. If business is booming, rather than add on to their current site, they’ll locate a spot for a second market and expand in that manner. The Liberty Station location is envisioned as the first link in a chain that will someday not only stretch throughout the county, but beyond.

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The fire truck bay of this former NTC fire station will serve as the primary market component of the facility.

Their intention is for SOL Markets to change the world and the way people perceive, think about and purchase food one neighborhood at a time. Finally, words like seasonal, organic and local (the meaning behind the SOL acronym) will be more than just marketing jargon. It’s about time! SOL Markets is located at 2855 Perry Road.

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Comments

Joaquin_de_la_Mesa Jan. 9, 2012 @ 11:24 a.m.

How does local beer fit into this mould? Yes, it's brewed in SD County. But the hops, malt, and such are not grown here. Some beer ingredients come all the way from Europe, right?

So drinking local beer is just like eating chicken raised in Arkansas but cooked here, or just like eating strawberries grown in Chile.

Or am I missing something?

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VJB March 6, 2012 @ 1:27 a.m.

This is a very thoughtful post and I appreciate it. When the bar/bistro is open in a couple of weeks (the market is open now), come on by and I'll buy your first beer and we can discuss. Ultimately, we decided that you could stretch the argument pretty far and say that the gas that transports our produce from the local farms is from the Middle East, the plastic that holds our dairy from (who knows?), or could make a distinction about what is native to this area.

We decided that the best thing to do is not be so rigid and simply support the local purveyors of food and drink. We know more about what they are doing with their beer, than that which is brewed thousands of miles away. By doing this, we think it will help keep money in the community, support the local food movement, pair nicely with the food, give lots of info to our patrons and basically move the ball forward the best we can. We didn't want the "perfect" definition to interfere with doing "better." Our goal: provide you with the best items as close to home as we possibly can (and we think that is more than anyone else is trying to do). Thanks again and Cheers!

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M. E. Jan. 11, 2012 @ 4:12 p.m.

We're clear that "SOL" is a common acronym for something, right?

I guess not...

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VJB March 6, 2012 @ 1:16 a.m.

We debated (for a long time) about whether "sol" (pronounced "soul") would be associated with the old S.O.L. acronym/initialization. Ultimately, we loved the other associations (Spanish for sun, latin, the "soul," etc.) and it ultimately stuck. It seems to rarely come up now that we're open and we just embrace it and laugh. :) Come by and see us!

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