Davis Farmers Market: America's Favorite

Davis Farmers Market: America’s Favorite

The Davis Farmers Market is a premier destination year-round. Consistently named in the top 10 farmers markets in the U.S., it earned the title of America’s Favorite Farmers Market in 2009 from American Farmland Trust.

Since 1976, the Davis Farmers Market has been a leader in the farm-to-table movement, creating a sustainable, community event that brings people together. It supports local producers, educates patrons about nutrition, and teaches the value of buying locally and directly from growers and artisans. It’s one of the only markets with a dedicated permanent structure that provides shelter from rain and sun.

The market, at 301 C St., is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, and Wednesday afternoons (see times below). Every market has abundant seasonal produce and other food, live music and a true sense of community.

Be on the lookout for these special events:

Picnic in the Park, Wednesdays, April through October: One of the rewards of daylight saving time is the annual return of Picnic in the Park, when the Davis Farmers Market extends its Wednesday hours, transforming into a festival of food, music and fun. The market is open 4:30 to sunset through September, and until 7 p.m. in October.

At Picnic in the Park, visitors can shop the farmers market, buy dinner at the food faire, enjoy beer and wine poured by Soroptimist International of Davis volunteers, and entertain their youngsters. Children’s entertainment includes the bicycle-powered carousel, two playgrounds, bounce houses, face painting, a petting farm by All About a Farm, and balloon creations by Dilly Dally the Clown. Davis Enterprise readers have repeatedly voted the market as the best place in Yolo County to take an out-of-towner, and the best community event.

Pumpkin Patch, last Saturday of October: The event, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., has all of the usual Saturday market vendors, with fruit, veggies, nuts, bread, breakfast, lunch and coffee. But this one has lots of extras that celebrate the fall harvest. Soroptimists hand out free pumpkins, and offer face painting, pumpkin painting and games for kiddos. Many children come in costume, and enjoy the petting farm and live music.

The Central Park Gardens, along Third Street, hosts an open house and plant sale, starting at 9 a.m. Water-wise natives, perennials, herbs, grasses, vegetables, succulents and bulbs are for sale. UC Master Gardeners are there to answer questions. See the new California Native Plant Garden, which showcases drought-tolerant, versatile and diverse plants that provide vital pollen and nectar resources for insects and birds.

Winter Market, Wednesdays, November through March: Our regular produce and other sellers are there, under the structure, from 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. Pick up some hot food for dinner, too.

Pre-Thanksgiving Market, Wednesday before Thanksgiving: The market extends its hours for its annual Pre-Thanksgiving Market. It opens from noon to 6 p.m., offering “everything but the turkey.” There’s a bounty of seasonal produce, table décor, meats, cheeses, olive oil, honey and wine. Fresh-baked items include pumpkin and apple pies, breads, stuffing mix and cupcakes.

Gift Basket Central, Saturdays in December: The Davis Farmers Market turns into Gift Basket Central for the first four Saturdays in December, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., offering free baskets and wrapping of market items. Local bands and carolers perform at every Saturday market, adding to the festive theme.

Shoppers may assemble custom gift baskets, provided and wrapped for free at the market’s Gift Basket Central station, near the large oak tree. The service is available to anyone who purchases three or more Davis Farmers Market items. The station also has suggested gift groupings for chefs, bakers, party hosts, chocolate lovers, and youths, or with themes like breakfast or relaxation.

Besides the abundant produce, market sellers offer preserved jams and sauces, lemon curd, honey, balsamic vinegars, olive oils, dried herbs, nuts and nut butters. There are sweets like dried fruit or chocolate-covered almonds, pistachio brittle, toffee and local wines. Other items include handmade soaps and lotions, candles, wreaths, hats and scarves.

During the holidays, the C Street sidewalk is dubbed Crafters’ Lane, with local artists selling custom purses, scarves, hats, sun spinners, aprons, pottery, candles, soap, lotion, wreaths, flowers, art, photography and more. Local artist Heidi Bekebrede offers a Paint-A-Pot activity, where patrons of any age can decorate a pottery item, such as a cup, bowl or ornament, to be fired later in her kiln.

There’s also “The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook, Revised Edition,” which features seasonal recipes from market produce. The author, one of the market’s founders, Ann. M. Evans, is available for book-signings on select Saturdays. Cards featuring Evans’ art are complimentary with each book purchased.

At the Market Shed, there are shopping baskets, market-logo aprons, hats, totes, mugs, water bottles and T-shirts. Shoppers have access to an ATM, and the Market Shed accepts credit and debit cards.

Downtown and beyond: Davis is known for its farmers markets. The Saturday market runs year-round from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Its Wednesday Picnic in the Park is open 4:30 p.m. to sunset, April through October. The Winter Market is from 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, November through March. Partner markets are the UC Davis Farmers Market, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays on the Quad, fall and spring quarters; and the Sutter Davis Hospital Farmers Market, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays, May through October, at the hospital entrance. New in 2019 is the market at the Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays. For more information, visit www.davisfarmersmarket.org or the Davis Farmers Market Facebook page.

BE AN INSIDER