Underrated (American) Farmers' Markets?

Today I was thinking about farmers’ markets I’ve been to over the years. Measuring “best” by some combination of quality and variety of produce, the best so far has been the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City in the summer.

That got me wondering: what are some underrated farmers’ markets in the USA? One line of reasoning says that they need to be near big (or at least wealthy) areas to serve a market with enough demand for quality and variety, but if there are any smaller places punching above their weight, I’m curious.

So only rich sophisticated big city folks enjoy vegetables and fruit harvested by the rural rubes for their pleasure?


I think it’s more about population density than sophistication or wealth. There are farm markets in upstate NY, but they don’t seem to pull from a wide enough area to get a really good selection, likely because it’s too much work for not enough return.


No. Where did I say that?


I really liked a rural Farmers’ market I visited in Vermont. I bought some cheese, stored it on ice in an ice bucket at my motel that night. Drove off the next morning, and remembered my $11 piece of cheese was still in the ice bucket, 100 miles later.

The 2 nicest farmers’ markets I have visited in the USA in the past 5 years, keeping in mind I haven’t set foot outside Canada in 4 years:
The Hanalei Farmers’ Market. 5 years ago this month!

Perennial farmers’ market I’ve visited over 3 dozen times: Union Square Greenmarket in NYC. It’s not overrated and it’s not underrated. It’s just right. Awesome selection of plums, peaches, nectarines and potatoes when they’re in season. New Yorkers are so lucky.


Troy, NY and Baltimore, MD. Neither city, especially Troy, is what I’d consider a sophisticated big city, but both have excellent weekly farmer’s markets.


Despite (or perhaps because) we live in the utter boonz, we have not one, not two, but THREE weekly farmers markets, all of which are a pleasure to visit. One is year round, but moves inside over the winter months. We can get pastured lamb, pork, chickens, beef, quail, and wonderful summer produce
like super-fresh corn, tomatoes, peaches, peppers, etc.

There’s also a couple of different fishermen who spend many months of the year in Alaska, and return with sockeye salmon, black rockfish, and Pacific cod among others.


So many really good markets in the DC area - one of my favorites is Dupont Circle. Lots of vendors, a wide range of veggies, meats, seafood, bread, flowers, etc. I used to work for a company based near Omaha and I’d stay over Friday night so I could hit the Old Market FM. Two of my favorite vendors were a guy who grew dozens of varieties of garlic and a husband/wife team who sold enchiladas. A frozen pack of those in my luggage were usually Saturday night dinner when I got home.

And the Wednesday market in Santa Monica…although I don’t think it is really underrated by anyone


Perhaps I misunderstood your post.
But I have found very lush FMs in rural “poor “ locales such as I reside in in Oregon.


I don’t know about underrated, but the downtown farmers’ market in Stockton - which I have only recently learned has ‘rebranded’ itself to the Golden Villa Farmers Market - has gotten accolades from Sunset Magazine more than once as one of the best farmers’ markets in the west. Post pandemic it’s not what it used to be, but it’s still quite vibrant.


The farmers markets here in and around Berkeley mostly offer artisanal produce and meats. One of them (Kensington) has more prepared foods than ingredients.

Over in San Francisco, the Ferry Building market also seems to have mostly upscale products. But across town, the Alemany market is more like, say, Haymarket in Boston, with a wide range of products. I think you can haggle there, unlike the others around the Bay.


My experience living in large cities, briefly staying in smaller ones, and passing through even smaller ones has been that produce gets worse as population goes down; my experience comparing the relatively expensive produce I get at big city farmers’ markets with cheaper options suggests that good and interesting produce is a luxury item in my area. So, I’m trying to build out my (apparently very incomplete!) understanding of where good produce can be had in this country. Maybe I’m just overly fixated on things that have internet presences, or I don’t know how to find the good stuff in small towns for other reasons.

I’m curious about any specific Oregon farmers’ markets you might want to highlight?

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in a city with population ~45,000 . . .
we have two large scale ‘things’ touted as “farmers’ markets” - each operates only one day per week.

the one ‘downtown’ has more lunch/snack booths that anything you want to buy and take home to cook.

the slightly outside of town one has more stuff you may want to buy and take home to cook.
however, encountering a young female dressed in Amish garb, standing out back with gold chains, tattoos, smoking while chatting on her cell phone . . . could cause one to consider what exactly is going on here.

then, , , , there’s multiple ‘farm stands’ we frequent. some are more inclined to import ‘early’ stuff from southern locales, some offer only stuff off their own vines.

so the whole circumstance of “what is a farmers’ market?” must take into account the situation.
what passes in a “big city” is seriously different than what passes in a rural/semi-rural environment.

lived in southern NJ for a couple years. took the Commodore Barry bridge to PA daily.
saw farm trucks piled high with boxes labeled “Vine Ripened Tomatoes” headed for the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market. thru the hand holes, one could plainly see tomatoes as green as it gets…
total flipping lies . . .


We have some nice local ones; but the roided up version would be driving through Amish country and stopping at homes for goodies. This past weekend , it was hard to believe all the people driving through there, because their greenhouse deals are so sweet. They also have bulk everything, chickens, beef, chicks, ducklings, etc. Our local gas stations have a map of all the places to hit. Great way to spend a day.


Maybe that Amish girl you saw was on Rumspringer?
(Forgive the spelling.)


possible, but impression is . . . not really.

it’s like the Kutztown Fair - they require vendors to do Colonial era dress . . . and they ain’t all . . .

Des Moines, IA, downtown has the largest and most varied farmers’ market I’ve ever been to – and I lived in Washington, DC. This one covers full city blocks. It’s amazing.



I had a college friend whose mother sold jewelry at the Kutztown fair. When I swung by in 2013, she certainly wasn’t in Amish getup, and neither were most of the crafts vendors–only the ones who were truly Amish.

I grew up in the plain community. for me, it’s not difficult to distinguish ‘dressed as’ vs. ‘actual’


The area I’m thinking of varies a lot from the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay area, to Dixon at the other end of Solano county. I tend to think of the East Bay farmers markets like one in Vallejo as “underated”, while further inland places like Dixon excel at “farm stands” like Pedrick Produce

The East Bay is not considered wealthy, at least by California standards.

Also, I find it interesting but ymmv.