Buying oranges from the back of a grower’s pickup is not something you would expect to do in the shade of a Downtown high-rise.
That is, until now.
Horton Square, where there is ice skating in the winter, is hosting a certified farmer’s market at midday Thursdays during the warmer months.
Local growers turn out to sell seasonal fruits and veggies , strawberries, tomatoes, avocados, blood oranges and baby vegetables, as well as fresh-cut flowers, plants, dried fruits and juices. The selection includes organic produce.
It all happens Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 225 Broadway, adjacent to Horton Plaza.
Joyce Summer, a resident of the Meridian high-rise, got advance word that the market was coming from her volunteer work with the Centre City Development Corp., and was so enthusiastic she helped plaster Downtown with posters announcing it.
She was not disappointed when it finally opened March 1.
She reported seeing Downtown neighbors and folks from Horton Plaza at the outdoor market. “People were thrilled they were there,” she said.
The tomatoes she brought home for dinner were “wonderful,” she added.
The market is a reminder that agriculture still plays an important role in the San Diego County economy, not to mention its environment, said Mary Hillebrecht, the market’s coordinator. Seventeen to 20 area growers will participate each week, Hillebrecht said.
Opening day was “a little light on the strawberries,” she said, noting produce appears at the market the same day as it is harvested (or at most within 24 hours). Hillebrecht said the weather was not as conducive to harvest as it could have been.
Katherine Matousek, who handles marketing for the adjacent high-rise, describes the event as a “purist market,” without items like baked goods and salsas (there are plenty of places to get those Downtown, anyway). Since it’s a certified market, it’s the growers themselves who are there to sell , frequently out of their trucks.
Many customers walk to the market, Matousek reported, adding she wants to make pedicab service available to pedestrians who really want to stock up.
Organizers hope to keep the market open every Thursday through Oct. 11.
Hillebrecht and crew set up a market on different days in Pacific Beach and Coronado.
The farmer’s market runs from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays at the Promenade shopping center, on Mission Boulevard between Reed Avenue and Pacific Beach Drive, and from 2:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays at the Ferry Landing and Marketplace at First Street and B Avenue in Coronado.