Food halls seem to taking over the world and our social media feeds. But long before these made-for-Instagram spaces entered our collective consciousness, another foodie haven existed: the farmers market.
We have some truly awesome farmers markets here in Long Beach (Bixby Park and Long Beach Marina are my personal favorites), but there is always a need for more. Not only do they offer a place to purchase farm-fresh produce and artisanal goods (made by humans—what a concept!), but they foster community: According to a study by the Project for Public Spaces, people who shop at farmers markets have 15-20 social interactions per visit, while grocery store visits usually only lead to one or two interactions.
So I’m happy to welcome Houghton Park Farmers Market to Long Beach. The market made its debut in North Long Beach (6301 Myrtle Ave.) Feb. 26, operated by Harbor Area Farmers Markets (which also operates farmers markets in Bixby Knolls on Thursdays, downtown on Fridays and the Long Beach Marina Sundays). To celebrate its arrival, I put together a small list of things you can (and should) eat on a visit. Note that some of these vendors appear at other local markets; check the Harbor Area Farmers Market website to find out.
Me Gusta Tamales
Touting a secret family recipe handed down through generations, Me Gusta Tamales are not a bad way to spend a few bucks. Not only are they delicious—with a great masa-to-filling ratio—they’re also large, arriving hot straight from the steamer.
Hulapop Rainbow Kettle Corn
Hulapop is a farmers market staple that typically sells about five varieties of popcorn from a bright orange and red booth. Rainbow caught my eye—for obvious reasons. Bright blue, purple, and pink, the different colors actually do taste different. Reminiscent of Cap’n Crunch Berries or Fruity Pebbles, they’re definitely worth a try. Do it for the ‘gram.
Om Nom Nuts
At least visit this booth for the free smells. While roasted peanuts are the main attraction, Om Nom Nuts also hawks a wide variety of crunchy goodies, from trail mix to one of my favorite nutty snacks: Japanese peanuts (or cracker nuts), peanuts coated in a wheat flour dough and then fried.
Is recommending granola at a farmers market too on-the-nose? Oh well, I’m doing it anyway. Yayutza’s offers a bunch of options featuring fruit, nuts, honey, chocolate and more—all made out of a home kitchen in Long Beach. And if you’re feeling a little more indulgent, go for an oatmeal cookie or three.