There is a song most of you are probably familiar with called “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell with a line, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone,” that has resonated for me on more than one occasion but even more so recently with the Leucadia Farmers Market being closed due to the lockdown.
I will wax poetic on all that I’ve missed shortly after I share the fabulous news that the Leucadia Farmers Market is back in business in a limited capacity, with plans to expand over the next 30-60 days.
Ron LaChance, who runs the market, told me it will offer produce, meat and fish through May 10, then add packaged foods and cooked foods after that. It would be best to check the market’s Facebook page for updates as changing conditions could affect the schedule.
Also, until further notice, be prepared to wear a face covering and possibly stand in a short line to get into the market to keep in compliance with distancing standards. Visit leucadiafarmersmarket.com for all the safety precautions put in place to allow the market to reopen.
They are doing it right and all I can tell you is that it is a joy to be walking on the playground of Paul Ecke Central Elementary School once again on a Sunday morning.
Another fun development is the addition of “Drive Through Pick Up Tuesdays” at the Leucadia Farmers Market. Search “Drive Through Veggies” on Facebook to get more information on that program as Ron has locations all over San Diego.
So back to my song reference of not knowing what you have till it’s gone … because that hit me very hard during the weeks the market was closed.
I found myself instinctively loading up my bike and actually getting halfway there on a Sunday morning before realizing there were no cars parked along Hermes Street and, well, making the most of it with bike ride along the coast.
Besides providing me all kinds of great content for Lick the Plate stories over the years, there was something just so good about a Sunday stroll through the market, even if my shopping list was short.
Going way back, some of my fondest memories were making a Sunday morning experience of it with my son Quinn, a New York Times Sunday paper, and Cuban sandwiches from Annel & Drew’s Kitchen.
Then the proud dad moments I had a few years later seeing Quinn get up way early to prep and work a long day in that same booth.
It has also been a treat to write about startup vendors at the market who took their offerings to a higher level and wider audience and are killing it now.
Prager Brothers Artisan Breads comes to mind. Some other favorites have been Basiltops Pesto — now American Pesto; the wood-fired pizza from a former fireman at Bottaro Pizza; the super green drink from the Morning Star Ranch folks; and boatloads of fabulous organic produce from a plethora of vendors.
Besides the food, clothing, great live music and healing elixirs of the moment, the Leucadia Farmers Market provides a sense of community and top-notch people watching.
In 13 years, I don’t think I’ve walked the market once without running into an acquaintance of some sort.
From former track athletes I coached to neighbors, co-workers, folks I see out surfing, it runs the gamut. It’s a great feeling to have a place that brings people together over food, music, and a fabulous location and it was that combination that I missed the most. Going back there with my son Quinn when he visits now brings back a flood of great memories.
I can’t write about my farmers market memories without mentioning the main man, the guy who brought it together 13 years ago — market manager Ron LaChance. Ron has connected me with a lot of vendors with great stories who I’ve been able to share with Coast News readers through Lick the Plate.
He also has Michigan connections, so depending on the season, our conversations range from University of Michigan football to the Detroit Lions and Tigers.
With that, please enjoy the farmers market again but be patient if there is a line and respect the rules they have in place to make this amazing local experience we all share possible.
All the details at leucadiafarmersmarket.com.