Fresh produce is the star attraction at any farmers’ market. But the Davis Farmers’
Market offers so much more. It offers a sense of community, of togetherness. It
allows customers to nourish not only their bodies, but their sense of wellbeing.
Randii MacNear, executive director of the Davis Farmers’ Market, says attending
the market isn’t just an errand to be checked off a to-do list — it’s an experience.
“A lot of people tell me they come and they get healed by coming to the market,”
MacNear added. “The food nourishes you but also the community and the
friendliness and the safety and the beautiful setups they also nourish you.”
Now in its 47 th year, the Davis Farmers’ Market is unique in that it’s open year-
round and it doesn’t slow down during the winter season. It’s held every Saturday,
rain or shine. A permanent shade structure protects shoppers and vendors from the
elements, whether rain in the winter or heat in the summer.
“We really have a great advantage and it makes it so customers can come year
round and feel no matter what the weather is they can come and shop at the
market,” MacNear says.
One of the best things about shopping at a farmers’ market is the great variety of
foods available. Growers offer unique products that you won’t find in the
supermarket. Everything sold at the market is seasonal and grown locally, so you
go home with the freshest produce available.
Many customers make a day of visiting the market. They take their time browsing
the stalls and chatting with the vendors to learn more about what they grow. Many
pick up a pastry or a coffee to enjoy while they shop, or pick up food to go to enjoy
in the park. May through September, the market is open on Wednesday evenings
with live music.
“Farmers’ markets nourish communities, they nourish sellers and customers and
families,” MacNear says. “People feel whole when they come here.”
With 90 vendors each week, the Davis Farmers’ Market is one of the largest in the
state. It was also one of the first, and today is one of 840 certified organic markets
in California. Not only can you get fresh fruit and vegetables, but also nuts, cheese,
wine, honey, meat, eggs and other foods. There are also local artisans selling their
handmade gift items.
The Davis Farmers’ Market Cookbook
Not sure what to do with those persimmons or bok choy? The Davis Farmers’
Market Cookbook can help! Originally released in 2012, the book — which has
since been updated — was co-authored by former Davis mayor and food activist
Ann Evans and James Beard Award-winning author Georgeanne Brennan. It
features more than 80 recipes using ingredients you can pick up at the market.
What’s unique is that it’s divided by season, so you always know what’s fresh.
“It takes you through every single season and what’s available at the market and
how to cook it, so you can eat healthfully all year round,” MacNear says.
The Davis Farmers’ Market Cookbook can be purchased at the market.
MacNear has been heading the Davis Farmers’ Market Alliance for nearly four
decades. Since that time, it has expanded to include six markets in both Yolo and
Sacramento counties. It also operates the Davis Farm-to-School Program, which
promotes seasonal, locally grown ingredients, farm-based education, and school
gardens within Davis-area public schools.
“Children are able to eat produce from the market in their school meals,” MacNear
adds. “All of Yolo County works to nourish our children through local produce and
Davis is a big partner in that.”
MacNear said attending the farmers’ market is one of the best things you can to do
nourish yourself, your community, and your world.
“This world is such a challenge right now and everybody is feeling like they can’t
do anything. Well, there is one thing you can do. You can start shopping at a
Davis Farmers’ Market Hours
Central Park: Saturdays from 8 a.m.–1 p.m., year-round, rain or shine.
Wednesdays from 4–8 p.m. for Picnic in the Park, mid-May through
mid-September, and Wednesdays from 3–6 p.m. mid-September through mid-May.
U.C. Davis Student Community Center: Wednesdays from 10 a.m.– 1:30
p.m., during fall and spring quarters.
Sutter Davis Hospital: Thursdays from 10 a.m.–1 p.m. May through
Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento: Thursdays from 2:30–5:30 p.m.