San Diego Farmers Markets: “We work for food!”

Dear FMC virtual market-goer,

Greetings from the San Diego Markets! We’re taking over FMC’s Instagram for the duration of two weeks to share with you a look into our three weekly farmers’ markets: Pacific Beach Tuesday Farmers’ Market, North Park Thursday Market, and the Little Italy Mercato, plus our educational InTents Conference (February 26-27, 2018) for market farmers and food makers. As a new “visitor” at our market, there are a few things you ought to know to fully appreciate the market that surrounds you.

Our markets are loved by our community, and for good reason! Frustrated by a lack of grocery shopping options in her otherwise walkable downtown San Diego neighborhood, San Diego Markets founder Catt Fields White partnered with the Little Italy Association in 2008 to launch the Little Italy Mercato. Almost ten years later this 5-block long, nearly 200-vendor farmers’ market is still a Saturday gathering place for locals and a popular “must see” attraction for tourists, hosting some 20,000 visitors weekly, year-round, rain or shine. We added the Pacific Beach Tuesday Market to bring fresh produce to one of San Diego’s most popular beach communities, and moved the North Park Thursday Market to the “heart of the neighborhood” to become a weekly ritual for families and foodies in this hip, young community.

Our favorite way to promote our markets is by participating in neighborhood foodie events like chili cook-offs and fermentation festivals, and holiday parades and free concerts, that allow us to interact face-to-face with our community. You may have seen our print advertisements in Edible San Diego and Dining Out Magazine or The Reader, and we never turn down an opportunity to talk up our markets on the local news. We stay active on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where we have a combined following of more than 50 thousand fans! We have fun with our weekly email marketing campaigns, offering seasonal recipes, highlighting new vendors, and promoting local events to turn lookie-lou’s into hardcore loyal shoppers.

Our three markets proudly accept SNAP/EBT and offer matching dollar-for-dollar funds up to ten dollars to be used for whole fruits and vegetables, nuts and dried fruits. Some customers gain an additional $30 in buying power weekly by patronizing all three of our markets. Our virtual ATM lets shoppers use debit or credit cards to purchase “market money” accepted by all of our vendors. Local elementary schools promote dine-outs where a portion of the money spent by neighbors who shop and dine at the market are donated back to build the schools’ art and music programs and popular chefs shop and demonstrate recipes using market ingredients. All of these programs and more are coordinated at each market’s fully-staffed Welcome Booth, allowing us to build relationships with our customers and connect with our community.

We believe that by cultivating farm focused markets we go above and beyond California’s already rigorous requirements and regulations for certified farmers’ markets. Farms come first and priority is given to artisan grocery and prepared food vendors that source local ingredients direct from producers. Our commitment to making local farm and food businesses financially sustainable and keeping money in the community is recognized and valued by our vendors and our customers.

At San Diego Markets we joke that we “will work for food” but in reality, it’s so much more than that. For us, it’s all about the people. We love helping entrepreneurs turn their passion into profit at the farmers’ markets. Local farmers thriving warm our hearts. And more than anything, we love seeing customers leave the market with a brimming bag of veggies and smiles on their faces.  

We are so excited to takeover FMC’s Instagram account to inspire farmers’ market farmers, vendors, managers and customers to get the most out of their market experience. We hope what we share transports you to our market and makes you feel truly welcome!

Spreading our Local,

Catherine, FMC Guest Instagrammer from San Diego Markets