Pacific Beach Farmers Market brings together a world of products and people every Tuesday
In a world of farmers markets offering produce, flowers, food trucks and crafts, it can be hard to compete and offer anything new.
But with more than 70 vendors hawking an array of fresh food items, flowers, unique flavors and fun twists, the PB Farmers Market has another decided advantage — it’s just a few steps away from both an ocean view and a beach.
On a recent Tuesday, Art Zadorozhyn, program manager for the PB Farmers Market, could be found at the event’s promotional booth.
Having been on the job since January 2022, Zadorozhyn — who goes by “Z” — is at ease in his outdoor office. He simultaneously answered questions from multiple people, sold reusable shopping bags with the market logo and gave instructions to his staff.
“The natural lifestyle of PB fits right in with the idea of a farmers market, as it’s the most direct access to the farm,” Zadorozhyn said.
And with food being the main draw for the farmers markets, Zadorozhyn said he has gone back to the basics, benefiting both the customers and the growers.
He explained that although little produce is actually grown in Pacific Beach due to lack of land, his vendors are all from surrounding areas and are known for their excellent products.
PB shoppers seem to be especially appreciative of the high quality goods available.
“Shoppers here are loyal and supportive,” said producer Carmelo Martinez from Heritage Family Farm. Known for its variety of citrus and avocados, the farm has been a fixture at the market for the past seven years.
Martinez said easy access to their set up and lack of congestion and traffic make PB “one of the more enjoyable markets.”
Want to visit?
Pacific Beach Farmers Market
When: 2-7 p.m. every Tuesday
Where: 901 Hornblend Street, Pacific Beach
Good to know: Multiple forms of payment accepted, including EBT. Convert EBT benefits into “Market Bucks” to use at any grocery vendor and receive an additional $10 each time to use on fresh fruits and vegetables.
Patricia West from New Hampshire agreed with the enjoyable sentiment. She said her family was in town on vacation. They had just finished a bike ride as the market opened. She couldn’t resist the tempting displays and happily purchased a bag of fresh tangerines from the Heritage Family Farm stand for her family.
Although Shannon Hoofman of Pacific Beach has shopped the market a handful of times, her recent visit was special. She was with her sister, Michelle Hoofman, and their mother, who was visiting from Santa Clarita.
Shannon Hoofman said she preferred PB over other farmers markets because “it’s closest to my house.”
The trio had just finished lunch. They said they took advantage of the sun and view of the beach while they ate.
While lunch at the market wasn’t new to the Hoofman family, it was something new for Emine Salit and Ali Sagtas, both from Turkey.
With the name on their booth proclaiming Grilled Cheese King, it would be easy to expect the typical American bread and cheese sandwich on the menu.
But Salit and Sagtas were offering grilled cheese with a difference. Their sandwiches can be ordered with items such as goat cheese, walnuts, chicken and hot dogs.
It was the first time the pair had ever had a booth at the PB Farmers Market.
“We just moved here from New Jersey,” Salit said. “And we were very familiar with the farmers markets in Turkey, as Ali was a Turkish chef. So we thought we would become our own bosses.”
As a customer walked away with a four cheese blend on sourdough, Salit said the ocean and the people gave Pacific Beach a great atmosphere and they were excited for their future at the market.
Under the Angel Hills Farm banner, Jana Cason of Boulevard offered produce with a more earthly vibe. Specializing in mushrooms — specifically the lion’s mane variety — Cason said she and her partner Matt Louder have been regulars at PB for the past three years.
Cason said their varieties of mushrooms can help with everything from memory loss to high blood pressure, digestive disorders and insomnia.
“We find that people in beach communities are more open to holistic and natural foods and medications,” Cason said. “And the lion’s mane tastes like crab or lobster, so it’s also a great option for vegans and vegetarians.”
Whether it’s something new or a familiar item with new flavors, the PB Farmers Market strives to select vendors offering unique foods.
Hopkins Almonds, for example, has been a presence at local farmers markets for 18 years. But the demand for the popular nuts has found new uses over the years.
Mark Jackson said customers in PB often purchase the almonds to make their own almond milk.
“They appreciate that the product is all natural, and is the freshest almonds you can get,” Jackson said.
Hopkins is a fourth-generation family farm headquartered in San Diego. The nuts are available raw or roasted with flavors such as Chipotle spice, Mexican chocolate and lime and sea salt. A family of customers waited patiently while they tried multiple kinds, prompting one member to proclaim she “wanted some of everything.”
Although food is the obvious attraction at the market, it’s not the only one. Many shoppers attend specifically searching for unique gifts, or pieces for their home or clothes closet.
Nicole Miller, owner of Art by Nicole Miller, offers pieces that fit perfectly with the PB vibe — custom painted surf boards.
“I’ve always been inspired by the ocean, and it’s so inspiring to be here,” said Miller, standing outside her booth. Although she’s only been living in Pacific Beach for a year and has been attending the market for three months, she said it’s been a great way to meet buyers, vendors and locals.
“PB has a big surf culture, so the surfboard art has received a pretty positive reaction,” she said. “I like to think I’m doing my small part for the earth by using old surfboards, and I even use recycled paint.”
Along with recycling, shopping at the PB Farmers Market is a great way to celebrate Earth Day, said one vendor. Another chimed in that with all the fresh cut flowers and plants for sale, the market is a big hit on Mother’s Day as well.
Whether buyers are shopping for food, looking for a quick meal, or searching for unique art or gifts, they are sure to find something unexpected and fun.
“Thousands of people come through the market on a weekly basis,” said Zadorozhyn. “The market provides a wholesome event everyone can enjoy. Whether its families or Date Night, there is something for everyone.”
Started in 2011, the PB Farmers Market can be found at 901 Hornblend Street every Tuesday from 2 to 7 p.m. The Market is operated by Discover Pacific Beach, the community’s business improvement district. For a list of vendors and other information, visit pacificbeachmarket.com.
New vendors are being sought; apply online. The market also accepts EBT.