Mike Madriaga 9:30 a.m., Nov. 23
The Leucadia/Encinitas Farmers’ Market and Art Fair
It was too gorgeous of a day not to go! This was my third visit to the Leucadia Farmers’ Market. I was spoiled because my first two visits were with a friend who lives nearby, so we walked. As I approached the market from Vulcan, I quickly realized that trying to park anywhere close was an exercise in futility. The parking lot at Paul Ecke Elementary School, where the market is held, is microscopic. Cars spilled out onto surrounding roads or anywhere a spot could be found. With my low tolerance for chaos, I headed to a park behind the school and easily found a spot near there. It was a trek, but at least we weren’t risking our lives walking on the narrow side streets and it was through a park!
The market is held inside on what appears to be a school courtyard. The vendors set up in a U-shaped formation and today, some musicians were performing for people sitting on the grass. The lunch tables were filled with people eating and children playing. A face painter was also in residence. My farmers’ market modus operandi is to walk through the market once and then go back through and buy. My daughter and I started through the prepared food vendors. The smells were inviting and most of the stalls had lines. There was really quite a large variety of food to be had. The spectrum ran from vegan soups and sandwiches to fries smothered in sauce and locally made sausages.
If you haven’t been to a farmers’ market for a while, you’re in for a surprise. They aren’t just for food anymore! The Leucadia market in particular has a variety of craft vendors, as well as some very unique offerings: specialty firewood, handcrafted lotions, and natural flea treatments for your pets. We finally make it around the curve of the U-turn after sampling delectable treats, finding a new coconut chai to take home, and passing a stall selling coffee. The produce vendors have become outnumbered by the other offerings, but there is enough seasonal variety to not feel cheated. I was disappointed to not find apples or tomatoes, but if I want them local and organic I know I have to be patient. Instead we picked up oodles of blood oranges and a mass of blueberries.
It is truly amazing to imagine that a shopper could literally buy all of their staples at this market, except milk and beans. Those too may be seasonal offerings. Beef, chicken, lobster tails, eggs, cheeses, breads, sauces, and grains were available in addition to all of the produce. The variety is excellent and mostly from San Diego County. Be aware that not everything is local. If that is a concern for you, read your labels or signs! The Leucadia/Encinitas Farmers’ Market is on Sundays from 10am-2pm.
Paul Ecke Elementary-185 Union St (cross street Vulcan) Encinitas, California 92024
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