Dana Point Farmers’ Market

Location: La Plaza Park | Hours: Saturday 9am-1pm, year round

After hitting the snooze on my alarm a couple of times, I finally woke up at 6:20 am to get ready for my longest run yet in my marathon training. Running 14 miles through the hilly trails of Aliso Wood Canyon to the Top of the World definitely called for a trip to the farmers’ market to replenish my energy stores.

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The cheerful atmosphere and colorful produce at the Dana Point farmers’ market sure helped counterbalance the fog and gloominess this morning. Not sure if it was because of the weather, but it was nice to walk around this mid-sized farmers’ market without much of a crowd. The setup at this market is like a course where you can snake around and hit up each vendor in one ovular path. There is a bit of everything here–produce (obviously), bread, hummus and sunflower seed dips, vegan Parmesan cheese croutons, nuts, paleo cookies, kettle corn, vegan performance protein powder, single origins coffee, and medicinal teas. As for prepared food/drinks, there’s samosas, tamales, cold-brew coffee, and a juice stand. Some non-food vendors you can find include clothing, jewelry, candles, wind chimes and even mattress/bedding sheets!

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Market highlights:

Mom’s Specialty Foods located in Orange, CA

I’m a hummus lover and Mom’s nailed it with simple, unprocessed ingredients and smooth consistency. I guess it was a good thing I came hungry after a long run because I was handed samples so rapidly that I was downing pita and hummus like it was my job. After a certain point, I actually couldn’t keep up and had to tell the guy to slow down so I could enjoy each hummus one by one. I also loved how Mom’s offers fresh halva (popular Middle Eastern dessert made of sesame seeds and honey) too.

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There are so many hummus’ to choose from, but I ultimately went with my favorite three: Garlic & Chives, Fresh Mutabal (aka Baba ghanoush), and drumroll please…Kale & Almond hummus! I know what you’re thinking. A hummus with kale and almonds? That’s unheard of. True, but doesn’t mean it can’t/shouldn’t exist. And let me tell you, the idea is nothing short of brilliant. Fresh and nutty, yet still true to the authentic taste of good old hummus. To be honest, you really can’t tell there’s kale in it.

Sunny Cal Farms located in Reedley, CA

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Just landed in exotic summer fruit (and dried fruit) heaven! I feel like a little kid in a candy store trying each variety of pluot as my face lights up in surprise by how something so natural can have so many unique, flavorful profiles. Even the names of these pluots–grenade, dapple dandy, King Midas, etc– are amazing. My favorite, however, is the rosy champagne grapes, which are pinkish, green and taste like a lighter version of rosè wine (without the alcohol aftertaste, of course). If you’re in the OC area, I highly recommend a stop to the Sunny Cal Farms stand. The fresh, pure sweetness of the fruit here will leave you smiling from ear to ear.

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Overall, I am thoroughly impressed. I’m so glad I was in the area to make a visit to this farmers’ market that has been on my list for a while now. Even though it’s a bit of a far drive from where I live, I see myself coming back again in the near future. One last note, since most of the produce is organic, it’s a bit more expensive than some other markets. However, you definitely get what you pay for, which is the highest quality, seasonal produce!

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Visit the market: http://danapointchamber.com/farmers-market/

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