Chico’s farmers market is a great way to see the local culture and economy. At the farmers market, visitors can try deliciously prepared food, get groceries for the week, and see different ways people creatively express art through crafts, clothes, and similar items. Items from vendors include locally grown flowers, plants and herbs, and a wide array of colorful fruits and vegetables.
There are two distinct farmers markets in Chico, both located downtown. Starting in the spring and ending in the fall, towards mid-September is when the Thursday night farmers market takes place. If you miss out on that, there is still a year-round market held on Saturday mornings until early afternoon located towards the edge of downtown a couple blocks away from Lower Bidwell. (Don’t worry, most vendors from Thursday also make an appearance on Saturday).
On Thursday nights, the farmers market takes up three blocks in downtown Chico. One striking difference is more food trucks come out to the Thursday-night market. The lively tourist atmosphere makes it a fun place to walk around and enjoy live music in the plaza. There is a large grass area, making it a perfect picnic spot. People can grab a meal from the food trucks and sit and enjoy some live music. There is also a kid zone.
Saturday morning’s farmers market condenses the tourist attraction atmosphere into an outdoor market. Most vendors, especially those who sell locally grown goods, rely on Saturday’s market as part of their income. The customers are also slightly different. While Saturday still attracts some college students and visitors, many are regular customers purchasing their weekly groceries and supporting the local economy.
Here are a few vendors that make Chico’s farmers market stand out:
Like their name, they are known for their honey. They have been in the business for about 30 years. Bordin Bees carry honey in different sizes and flavored honey sticks are a fun item to put in a goodie bag or to sample.
“Almond butter is our biggest seller, it’s harvest fresh right now,” shares Marie Bordin, owner of Bordin Bees. October is almond season, so it’s prime time to try their freshly made products, including their honey.
Bordin Bees not only sells their locally grown seasoned almonds, but other creative items as well. Bourdin explains they carry a wide variety of almonds, “Toffee, apple wood, raspberry, and lemon (almonds), and many get them as Christmas gifts.” Currently, there are up to 25 creative flavors for seasoned almonds and they offers samples so people know which ones they are getting.
This mobile establishment has their cute cart on the edge of Saturday morning market and by the plaza on Thursday night market. They have been at the farmers markets for nearly ten years. Sweet Cottage is distinguished by its cute layout on the cart and in product packaging, and for unique products, all locally grown.
“We started out with two pies, an apple and a berry pie, a month later, we made teas, then two years later we made jams,” said Alvin Rowe, co-founder and owner. Now, they have assorted iced teas and juice, pies, jams, quiches. Their most popular? Purple haze blueberry lemonade, of course!
In recent years, they have even opened a store downtown. Stop by for more products, including huge ice cream sandwiches from homemade ice cream, and comfortable seating made out of bathtubs. You will have to see it, to really be amazed by it. No matter how they expand, they do not cease to create delicious products with locally grown produce.
Chico Rico’s Tamales
Available at both farmers markets, (and their business location), people will got out of their way to get these tamales for a little less than three dollars each. These tamales are a nice little meat to carry around while strolling through the farmers market. The Chico community refers to them as “the tamales at farmers market.” Being known for their flavorful tamales, instead of the business name, is a distinguishable compliment.
A purchase comes with your choices of salsa, including a spicy avocado flavored one. Currently, the options are pork, chicken, beef, veggie, sweet pineapple and recently introduced their sweet corn flavor.
Whether you’re a local or a daytripping visitor, when you’re in town, be sure to hit the market!
For updates on Thursday night’s market, [Like] them on Facebook.
For updates on Saturday, [Like] them on Facebook.