Wandering through the colorful and brimming-with-produce Campbell, Calif., farmers market when you’re staying with friends, most likely dining out and boarding a flight the next day is simply torturous. I know I’m a bit dramatic when it comes to farmers markets, but it’s maddening to walk through the streets of any market outside of Chicago, knowing I’ll likely leave empty handed.
I did succumb and buy a half basket of plerries (a new cherry/plum combo fruit) after tasting one of these gems. Surely they’d travel well on the four-hour flight back to Chicago, if I didn’t eat them all first. The plump and lush apricots lured me, but I’d already consumed several upon my arrival earlier in the week. You simply can’t compare apricots and strawberries grown and eaten in California with those that are grown there, but shipped elsewhere.
One of the highlights of my short trip to the San Jose area was strolling through this charming Sunday market. Ranked the best farmers market in Silicon Valley by the Mercury News reader’s poll, it did not disappoint. Open year-round, it offers the best of organic and non-organic fruits and veggies, jams, juices, flowers and even craft items like handblown glass objects. Craving beef jerky or popcorn? Who doesn’t on Sunday mornings? You’ll find a variety of flavors as you roam through the market.
There’s something about a Sunday market. People seem to be more relaxed. The pace is slower than on Saturdays when it feels like people rush to finish up at the market so they can get on with their day. On Sundays parents with their kids, people with their dogs, couples and singles, stroll leisurely through the street nibbling samples along the way or sipping iced coffees.
Since I cook, my eyes always lead me to the plentiful displays of vegetables from rainbow Swiss chard to green beans, mushrooms, cauliflower and tomatoes. Wouldn’t they taste delicious roasted on the grill with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and sea salt?
A standout at the Campbell market is The Adorable French Bakery. Almost at the end of the busy main street I stumbled upon this absolutely authentic French bakery filled with croissants, breads, fruit tarts and French vegetable pizzas.
My friend, who was traveling with me and has enjoyed chocolate croissants in France, exclaimed, “This could be the best chocolate croissant I’ve ever eaten.”
The owner and her team were delightful, giving us tastes of everything. It was just unfortunate that we were about to leave the market and meet others for brunch at Stacks or we’d have pulled up a chair and dined on French delights.
The next time you’re in the south bay area, make a trip to Campbell on Sunday! And even if you’re not able to bring goodies back home, go hungry and enjoy the grazing experience. The market is open from 9am to 1pm every Sunday.
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Photos by Cynthia Kallile.