Santa Cruz Farmers’ Market Tops National List

From Santa Cruz Sentinel

By Cheryl Reid-Simons

Locavores, rejoice. Santa Cruz has one of the top farmers markets in the nation, according to a report by Livability.com.

Farmers’ markets are popping up in more and more cities and suburbs across the nation, thanks in part to the trend toward sustainability and the popularity of cooking shows. As more people seek out locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables, local farmers’ markets are thriving.

The importance of being able to easily find sustainable, fresh food makes farmers’ markets a key element in whether a city is a good place to put down roots, according to the editors of Livability.com. So they compiled a top ten list of farmers markets across the United States.

With five locations, Felton, Live Oak, Scotts Valley, Westside and Downtown, Santa Cruz Community Farmers’ Market is the 9th best in the nation. Multiple locations allow fresh food to be available at varied times and be accessible by foot or bike for most residents.

The oldest location is the downtown market, established in 1989. Besides expanding to five locations, the market has gone far beyond fruits and vegies to include live music performances, cooking demonstrations and arts and crafts. Most recently, they’ve added “pop-up breakfast” events where you can enjoy a locally grown meal and mingle with the farmers who helped produce it.

The market has also initiated a Waste Smart program to compost much of the waste that had previously gone into landfills, making the markets a feel-good choice from beginning to end.

Intriguingly, Santa Cruz pops up more than once on the top-ten list. Tucson, Ariz., makes this list at number 10 with its Santa Cruz River Farmers’ Market. At that market, you’ll find foods grown in and around the Sonoran Desert town, rather than the California coast.

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