Did you know that San Luis Obispo County is home to one of the oldest and largest Farmers Markets in the USA?
It's true - every Thursday night since 1983 the City of San Luis Obispo has been hosting their Farmers Market in the charming downtown area. Higuera Street is blocked off, and dozens of farmers set up their farm stands. Booths are also set up by local restaurants, businesses, and other local organizations. Free street musicians add to the fun, as well as a giant cuddly "Downtown Brown" bear who there to offer free hugs to kids.
At our many Farmers Markets through out San Luis Obispo County, thousands of people come to taste the free samples, buy fresh food at great prices and enjoy the whole family fun atmosphere. Come out and shake the hand that feeds you!
So no matter where you stay in San Luis Obispo County, a fun Farmers Market is close!
San Luis Obispo County Farmers Market Schedule
Top 10 Reasons to Shop Farmers' Market
1. A Healthy Lifestyle
Farmers present large colorful displays of just-picked, vine-ripened, and best-tasting produce for thousands of health-minded shoppers every week.
2. Friendly Community
At farmers' markets, you always see people talking to one another. They enjoy visiting with others--farmers, friends, and new acquaintances--and having a good time. Markets bring community elements together including fishermen, farmers, bakers, and families.
With few exceptions, produce is brought to market the same day or within a day of picking. That's fresh! Fresh products are crisp, have good texture, and taste better.
Fruits like peaches, and produce like strawberries and tomatoes are picked when ripe, not before. Ripened on the tree or vine adds significantly to flavor.
Farmers bring many different varieties of just about every product. Several examples of the variety found the farmers' market are: Spitzenberg and Braeburn are among the 70 plus apple varieties, Tuscan and Russian are a couple of the different kinds of kale, and lemon and Thai are two of two of the basil types. Variety provides a great healthy way to enrich ones life.
You simply can not compare the volume, variety, quality, and freshness of flowers at the farmers' markets with what grocery stores offer. With the exception of greenhouse roses, the types of flowers at the market vary with the season. For example, in February-March there are fantastic tulips, and during the summer there are tuberose, sunflowers, zinnias, and many more.
7. Meet the Farmers
This is really an advantage. Since the person you buy the product from is the farmer, or his/her employee, you can ask anything about the product, for example, where it was grown, what variety it is, if the product was sprayed, and cooking suggestions.
8. Support Family-operated Small Farms
Each stall space is used by a different farm. By shopping at farmers' markets, you are supporting these family operated small farms.
9. Reduce the Carbon Footprint
Distance produce travels from farm to you via a grocery store is often greater than 1000 miles. Transport to and storage at the store often requires refrigeration, and these result in carbon dioxide emissions. At our farmers' markets average distance traveled is less than 50 miles and there is no refrigeration or storage. Buying at a farmers' market results in less carbon dioxide emissions.
10. California Grown
At the farmers' market you know that all produce sold at our farmers' markets is grown in California, not Mexico, not China, nor anywhere else in the world.
Little known fact - in the early 1980's, the city of SLO blocked off Higuera Street to prevent kids cruising in cars on Thursday evenings. Legend has it that with streets blocked off, there was an unsuccessful attempt to set up Volleyball games on the empty streets. Finally, a local resident came back from a trip to Italy with the idea of using the empty street for a Farmers Market like they had enjoyed there. The rest is history...