Greater Palm Springs is famous for golf, shopping, hiking and hundreds of dining opportunities, but most visitors are surprised—and delighted—to learn that Greater Palm Springs is an important farming region of Southern California. No wonder! The destination has a 300-day growing season, with annual agriculture contributing more than $600 million to the economy from table grapes, citrus, fruits, peppers, avocados, mangos, carrots, assorted greens and greenhouses all scattered across this bountiful oasis. Several farms grow organic crops and about 95% of U.S. dates are grown right here.
The six Certified Farmers Markets in Greater Palm Springs, most open fall through spring, operate throughout these cities – Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage and Joshua Tree. Many of the local farmers and vendors attend each one of these markets. Farmers from beyond Greater Palm Springs also bring their homemade cheeses, flowers, olive and avocado oils, honey, flowers, organic coffee and home-baked breads and pastries. Cooking demonstrations and live music enhance the experience. Savvy local chefs prefer to wander these open-air certified farmers markets that offer “just picked” produce and hand-made products.
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Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. | 2300 E Baristo Rd., Palm Springs
This market offers fresh vegetables and fruit, herbs, lavender, cheese, bread, honey, nuts, cage-free eggs, olives and olive oil, cut flowers, orchids and plants. The markets don’t allow dogs in the aisles, but if you have a canine in your family be sure to check out Ben Davis’ Natural Monarch Raw Pet Food for dogs. Ben is a professional dog nutritionist, behaviorist and groomer, and he has a booth at all three markets.
Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. | 72559 Highway 111, Palm Desert
Open October through April
Here, you’re likely to find farm-infused popsicles “made with love,” superb organic salsas and sauces, farm smoothies, fresh squeezed orange juice, guacamole, fine olive oil, avocado oils and lotions and fresh sauerkraut. Pick up some unique, organic cheeses and freshly made bread for a special picnic. If you’re looking for easy-to-pack gifts to take home, consider plant and herb starts from Herbivore Farm. Plant them in small pots when you get home, and, in a few months, you’ll find yourself with special gifts from Greater Palm Springs for your friends and family.
Sundays from 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. | 78100 Main Street, La Quinta
Open October through May
As you might expect, Old Town La Quinta has an “Old West” appeal. The market is loaded with fresh produce, Deeb Farms' fresh squeezed Valencia orange juice, cheese, organic nuts, fuyu persimmons, fresh breads from L’Artisan Bakery, organic apples from Ha’s Apple Farm in Tehachapi and beer from La Quinta Brewing Co. Save room for Sylvia Garza’s fresh homemade tamales from her Qué Mami Organics line, but get there early: these tamales often sell out.
Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. | 44175 Washington St., Indian Wells
In the heart of Indian Wells, you can find fresh, organic and delicious options for fruit and vegetables–plan ahead and get everything you'll need for that dinner you may be hosting or simple staples for your upcoming week! They also have local vendors offering their homemade recipes, from baked goods to salads and breakfast plates. You can find local honey, homemade bread and little gifts to pick up to take a piece of Greater Palm Springs home with you, like a handmade mug or unique jewelry.
Fridays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. | 71800 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
If you are looking to end the week and go into the weekend on a fresh note, head over to Rancho Mirage's Certified Farmers Market. Find endless options of fresh fruit, vegetables, pressed juices, all-organic eggs and so much more. Enjoy homemade baked goods that you can't find anywhere else. Shop and feel good doing so knowing that you are supporting local farmers and vendors.
Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. | 61695 29 Palms Highway, Joshua Tree, CA 92252
Year-round, as weather permits
If you are planning a trip to Joshua Tree National Park, this farmers market occurs Saturday morning is the perfect place for you to stop. Not only do you get to find fresh fruits and vegetables, beautiful flowers, delectable cheese and meats, but you also get to mingle and experience the atmosphere of Joshua Tree. It is located in Downtown Joshua Tree in the parking lot of unique shops, as well. Bring your dog, grab a cup of coffee or tea and walk through this market to find amazing finds, food and people.
Photos courtesy of Certified Farmers Market; www.certifiedfarmersmarket.org.