Farming and flea-ing at local markets

Religous figures adorn a table in one of the many aisles of Denio's Farmers Market. Tony Wallin ||

When it comes to getting your daily dose of veggies and fruit, do you go to the standard grocery store or the musty, crowded encampment of Wal-mart? What about one-of-a-kind arts, crafts, and knick-knacks made from local artists and antique collectors?

Why, I must ask then, would you go anywhere else in Sacramento when we have such a diverse, colorful and abundant number of farmers’ and flea markets where you can get servings of all kinds of healthy, cultural and affordable food, among many other things?

There are more than 10 farmer’s markets in Sacramento alone, not including the gigantic Denio’s Farmers Market and Swap Meet in Roseville. Being surrounded by farmland is a plus for us Sacramentans, for we have true green-thumbed beings just down the road that bring their products to us. So why not take advantage of this, especially since we’re poor, struggling college students?

If you live downtown, on Wednesdays you can mosey on over to Caesar Chavez Park (10th and J streets) for an early morning roundup of farm fresh products that will leave your pocket full and your stomach even fuller. Between May and October from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. around the fountain in the park, roughly 35-45 vendors are stationed with everything from strawberries to turnips, fresh baked pastries to a vendor with 20 different flavored almonds and peanuts.

If Wednesdays don’t fit your schedule, than every Sunday, all year round, you can visit the more popular and crowded farmers’ market under the freeway on 8th and W streets. Best to get here early since they are only open from 8 a.m. to noon.

Tony Wallin |

Don Vest, an older cowboy-looking fellow in Stetson and cowboy hat, has been running this friendly neighborhood get-together of locals for years and years. “We’re purely, strictly a certified grown fresh market!” he said.

You can’t beat certified grown fresh, especially when they beat the price of your average grocery store.
On Tuesdays you can choose from markets either Roosevelt Park on 9th and P, or walk down a bit farther to Fremont Park on 16th and P. Both run May through September.

And for those with regular 9-5 jobs, on Saturday you have four options, all in convenient locations around Sacramento. Three are open all year round from 8 a.m to noon: at the Sunrise light rail station on Folsom and Sunrise; Country Club Plaza off Butano Drive and El Camino Avenue, and in Elk Grove on Laguna and Big Horn boulevards in front of PetSmart. From June to September in Natomas off Truxel, a farmers’ market runs from 9 a.m. to noon at Inderkum High School.

Every weekend a local couple displays a collection of American memorbalia. Tony Wallin |

For you pickers, antique collectors, rummage finders, scavengers, and all-around searchers for diamonds in the rough, Roseville’s Denio’s Farmers Market and Swap Meet is the place for you. It is an infinite wonderland maze of all things interesting and artsy. It has been in existence since 1947 and has brought people from around not only all parts of California, but the United States as well. It is the largest swap meet in Northern California. It has everything you can imagine—furniture, clothing, jewelry, electronics, and guitars, antique everything, frames, accessories, an open library vendor and, of course, bargains on the tastiest produce. They have the freshest, crispiest apples I’ve ever had in my entire life.

Denios is open every weekend all year round with over 1,500 vendors. It is only $3 for parking right across the street, which may be the most expensive thing there, besides the $3.75 for beer.
Take a weekend for yourself and check out this gold mine. You may just walk out with a one-of-a-kind item—and healthy, inexpensive produce—that you didn’t know you were looking for.