Location: Main St., Downtown Huntington Beach | Hours: Tuesdays 5-9 pm, year round
If you’re looking for a fun activity after work or just a place to hang out and socialize, this is it! The Huntington Beach Farmers’ Market brings a little bit of everything. With the majority of vendors selling either prepared food or miscellaneous items, you’ll be sure to find casual clothing and delicate jewelry, soaps, candles, scented salt rocks, surfboard and iPhone racks made of bamboo, and much more.
This is not a farmers’ market to come to if you are only looking to buy produce. However, it’s great if you wanted to pick up a few staple items to cook with for the rest of the week. You can also pick up some juicy dried fruit to snack on at work or to toss into your purse for on-the-go days. All the dried fruits are unsulfured, unsweetened, and top notch in quality.
I was so excited to see honey sticks at this farmers’ market. As a kid, I obsessed over these. Seeing all the colorful sticks brought me right back to the good old times of cracking the straws open with my two front teeth and sucking out the sticky sweetness that oozed out! Move over Skittles, you can now “taste the rainbow” with honey sticks instead. Not only are these fun to eat, but you won’t need to feel guilty ever again. Some of the health benefits of honey include: acts as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, boosts athletic performance (by maintaining glycogen levels), relieves throat irritation/cough, is a probiotic, and helps regulate blood sugar. Although honey is made of simple sugars, the combination of glucose and fructose is why the body processes it slightly differently than cane sugar or artificial sweeteners. A little bit of honey can go a long way; but of course, everything in moderation as too much of one thing is never a good thing.
I loved going around the market and seeing what all the prepared food vendors had to offer. From made-to-order mini sugared donuts, cupcakes, cookies, and sweet breads to nut butters, granola, and beef jerky, there are tons of choices for everyone.
It just so happens that Surf City Night is on the same day and in the same area as the farmers’ market. Activities include an inflatable slide, bungee jumping, horse and farm animal petting area, and more. I even saw one vendor who brought an adorable golden labrador retriever to advertise their dog training services. Speaking of dogs, there’s also a vendor that sells free range, grass fed buffalo femurs as dog chews. And they are massive, to say the least.
After making my rounds to all the vendors, I headed over to the food tents where I found empanadas, tamales, lobster rolls, tacos, etc. Upon thoughtful deliberation, I settled for a pupusa with salsa, saurkraut, and sour creme. There was nothing better than savoring a thick and toasted corn tortilla stuffed with beans, cheese, and veggies for only $4!!
Sola Foods located in Irvine, CA
Sola Foods has truly nailed and created some of the most unique salsas, jams, and pestos I have every tasted. I love a good multi-purpose product which is why I think Sola Foods caught my attention from the start. All the jams/salsas can be used as a glaze, marinade, or topping for meat, fish, or vegetables, as jam for toast, or as an addition to desserts. Really, whatever you can dream up, you can most likely elevate by adding their jams/salsas to your recipe. My favorites were the Cheeky Jalapeno Kiwi and Hush Hush Peach jams. Both were sweet and spicy, but very distinct from one another. The Jalapeno Kiwi was a sweet surprise with a nice mild spice, while the Peach flavor had a sharp kick that lingered from the habanero. These jams are the JAM! Give it a try, and hopefully your tastebuds will be salsa dancing like mine have afterwards.
Dolce Monachelli located in Fullerton, CA
The only bundt cakes I’ve ever tried were from Nothing Bundt Cakes, which in my opinion, were way too rich and sweet. Thus, I’ve been hesitant to try another bundt cake. However, the mini bundt cakes from Dolce Monachelli are on another level. Sweet and cakey, yet not too dense and rich. I can probably eat a few of these in one sitting so I had to be sure not to buy too many. I tried the original Italian Butter Rum and Luscious Lemon cakes. The Italian Butter Rum was light with a nice contrast of nuttiness from the pecans. The Luscious Lemon reminded me of floating in the waters of Greece. It was bright, sweet, and all so refreshing. They offer select gluten-free and sugar-free cakes too!
Recipe Roundup-_Dark chocolate + Strawberry Parfait: serves 1
From the market: Special Edition Granola from Matterhorn Gourmet
Granola has always been one of my favorite snack foods because you can literally take it anywhere with you. As a runner, it keeps me full and provides me energy when my glycogen stores are depleted after a hard workout. Eat it out of the bag, sprinkle onto yogurt, or top onto nut butter toast for an extra crunch. The recipe I have below is one of my staple breakfasts and post workout snacks because its quick and simple, yet delivers a good balance of complex carbs, healthy fats, and protein. Give it a try, and get creative by adding or substituting the ingredients I listed for your own favorite ones!
1 cup Special Edition granola from Matterhorn Gourmet
1 cup 0% Fage greek yogurt
handful of strawberries, halved
1 tbsp dark chocolate chips
Other toppings suggestions: any berries/stone fruit, hemp seeds, goji berries, coconut flakes, honey
Add 1/2 cup of yogurt and top with 1/2 cup of granola. Layer a few sliced strawberries on top. Repeat with remaining yogurt, granola, and strawberries. Add dark chocolate chips. Mix it up and enjoy!
Visit the market: https://www.surfcityusa.com/where-to-eat/farmers-markets/