The Del Mar Farmers’ Market Grows Deep Roots and Flourishes
Every Saturday afternoon, rain or shine, a parade of local families, hand-holding couples, discerning foodies, California-dreaming tourists and more bike, scooter, walk, jog and carpool to one of the most popular attractions in town: the open-air Del Mar Farmers Market. Reusable bags and bike baskets quickly fill with fresh, certified organic, locally grown fruit and vegetables, eggs, fresh-cut flowers and plants. Add fine meats and seafood, international cuisine, globally sourced gifts and regularly scheduled entertainment to the mix—all set against a stunning ocean backdrop—and you pretty much have the quintessential So Cal afternoon.
But above and beyond its naturally healthy allure, the market offers even more. Since its founding in 1986 by a small group of visionary Del Mar residents, the market has raised more than $200,000 to give back to the local community. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, vendors keep only enough of their sales proceeds to cover their costs and provide a small stipend to help with the market’s overhead. Any remaining profits are then used to help support local causes.
“When the market first started 25 years ago, the idea of farm-to-table was a fairly new concept,” explains board member Nicole Holliday. “The Del Mar Farmers Market was one of the first to debut in Southern California, with the goal of inspiring healthy living and supporting local farmers. The founders then realized they wanted to do even more and turned the market into a nonprofit, launching a legacy of giving back that we are proud to continue today.”
This year alone, the market will give $10,000 back to the community. These donations will be used to purchase a new waste bin for the city, help fund the new lifeguard station, grow the efforts of the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, support the Del Mar Library, and help the efforts of Del Mar Community Connections. There is also the Del Mar Farmers Market scholarship fund, named in honor of Mary Maciel, one of the original longtime vendors, to help college students who work at the farmers’ market further their education.
“This is a place you can come get berries picked that morning, and talk to the farmers who picked them,” says Holliday. “It’s a way for people to eat fresh food, support local farmers, chitchat with neighbors, and support something that’s giving back to the Del Mar community.”
While the Del Mar Farmers Market continues to take place every Saturday from 1-4 pm, it recently debuted a new location at Upper Shores Park (225 9th Street) between Camino Del Mar and Stratford Court. A 25th anniversary celebration is currently being planned for September, with details to be announced soon. DelMarFarmersMarket.org