What’s Fresh at the College of San Mateo Farmers Market?

“Spring is here and that means asparagus, peas, greens, and lots more at the farmers’ market. See you there!” Michael Peterson, Market Manager  There’s no better time of year to hit your local farmers’ market! College of San Mateo Farmers Market is an easy bike ride (approx 3 miles) from Bay Meadows, offered every Saturday from 9am – 1pm. We recently caught up with Michael Peterson, Senior Market Manager/Music Coordinator for the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association – College of San Mateo Farmers’ Market. Go ‘behind the scenes’ with Michael to get the scoop on seasonal trends, tips and recommendations:

What makes College of San Mateo Farmers’ Market stand apart?

The College of San Mateo (CSM) Farmers’ Market is a one-stop shop for everything. Any variety of produce and any other grocery staple you may need will most likely be here. From milk, to fresh baked bread, to hot sauce and fresh caught fish! You can even pick up some natural, organic dog treats for your furry friend. Not to mention, there is so much parking! Which we know is sometimes hard to come by at farmers’ markets.

What are 3 of your favorite go-to farm booths/vendors each spring and why?

Some go-to farm booths each spring are definitely the hyper-local farmers, which I guess might be cheating since that’s over 10. Each spring, I recommend checking out the stone fruit vendors that come to the market. They all have delicious peaches, apricots, plums, and pluots that taste slightly different from the next. Cherries come back in May, which I am most excited about! We have at least 3 separate cherry producers that attend the market and their cherries are unarguably some of the greatest tasting on the Peninsula.

image credit: College of San Mateo PCFMA

image credit: College of San Mateo PCFMA

Do you see any familiar faces/regulars attending the market each week?

I have been managing the market for 3 years now and I have met many regulars that have been shopping the market since it opened back in 1996. The customers I have interacted with at the market have all said, “Going to the farmers’ market is part of my Saturday routine.” They continue to come to the market each week for different reasons, some come to do their weekly grocery shopping, others come to meet up with their friends in the community, or sometimes people just come to check out the market. What’s great about the College of San Mateo Farmers’ Market – there is always something new to see! I also have to give a shout out to the grocery stores, hotels, and restaurants that have made the CSM market a staple for buying fresh produce directly from the farmer.

3 trends in farm fresh you are seeing in 2016?

I am noticing that more and more farmers in California are working their way to becoming more sustainable. Three trends I have seen recently are more organic, more drought conscious, and less food waste.

What’s new at the market this Spring/Summer

This spring we are excited to see many new faces being added to our expanding third row. We have been building an all organic row for two years now and many of the farms continue to do very well. Be sure to check out the stone fruit vendors, organic vegetables, and the newest non-agricultural booths, such as gluten-free pastries and kale chips.

Describe San Mateo in 3 words: Vibrant, Community, Variety

If I were a farmer, I’d grow: Avocados!

5 things in my College of San Mateo Farmers’ Market bag: fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh fish, microgreens, artisanal bread, and a bottle of wine.

Best part of my job: Interacting with customers and farmers, by far!

Next time you visit the market, try the ginger ale from Triple J Farm. He uses his fresh ginger, grown in San Mateo County!

Follow CSM Farmers Market on Facebook for seasonal updates.

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