By Dan Hodges
The sweltering Arizona summers keep many of us inside and cause some outdoor venues to shut down until fall. That includes several Phoenix-area farmers markets. But you don’t have to go without homegrown fruits and veggies just because the thermometer is climbing. Check out these six essential farmers markets that stay open year-round!
Roadrunner Park Farmers Market
You won’t find Wile E. Coyote here, but you will find Arizona’s oldest farmers market. Established in 1990 and named one of the nation’s best by Cooking Light magazine, Roadrunner Park has a huge selection of produce. You’ll also find fresh chicken and grass-fed lamb. There are specialty foods to pick from, including cupcakes, jams and jellies, wild salmon, tamales and tortilla soup. The kids will love the large children’s playground, swimming pool, and fishing pond. Dogs are also welcome here. Summer hours at this year-round market in Northeast Phoenix are Saturdays from 7-11 a.m.
Gilbert Farmers Market hosts up to 60 vendors in the summer, with a huge variety of locally grown produce. It’s located in downtown Gilbert, west of the water tower. You’ll find organic produce, meats, cheese, bread, and more. The best part is meeting the farmers and chatting with them about where the food comes from and how it’s grown. Bring the family for arts and crafts, food trucks, and live entertainment. Gilbert Farmers Market’s summer hours are Saturdays from 7-11 a.m.
Open Air Markets at Phoenix Public Market
This community gathering place on North Central Avenue has been open since 2005. The Open Air Markets, which is right next to the Phoenix Public Market, turns a downtown parking lot into an outdoor shopping experience. Pick up kale, pea shoots, squash, and cucumbers, along with spicy salsa and desert wildflower honey. Open Air Markets offers farmers and local businesses a chance to bring their products to the people of Phoenix. No storefront or contract required. Open every Saturday 8 a.m.-noon, rain or shine!
Ahwatukee Farmers Market
Located in the Southeast Valley, the Ahwatukee Farmers Market offers locally grown produce. But you’ll also find cheese, bread, grass-fed beef, frozen green chilis, organic eggs, dog treats, and crafts. There’s also an assortment of plants, herbs, and flowers. Be sure to keep your eye out for some blooms native to Phoenix. They’re low maintenance and easy to transplant and grow. While some farmers markets are cash-only, you can use your credit card here. This market is located at the Ahwatukee Swim and Tennis Center in Phoenix, 4700 E. Warner Rd., and is open 8-11 a.m. Saturdays from June through September.
Uptown Farmers Market
This market is open Saturday mornings year-round and moves indoors during the hottest months of June to September. You’ll find more than 100 vendors on Saturdays with ample parking, food trucks, live music and food demonstrations on healthy cooking. Get your fruits and vegetables chopped or sliced on-site for a small donation to a nonprofit culinary arts program. Once things cool down, this market adds Wednesday mornings to its schedule. Uptown Farmers Market is dedicated to inspiring and educating home cooks, using Arizona produce, handmade foods and handcrafted goods. Vendors give extra food to the homeless.
Mesa Farmers Market and Flea
Downtown Mesa’s Pioneer Park is home to this market, Saturdays from 7-11 a.m. during the summer. What’s different about Mesa Farmers Market and Flea is the local makers providing the “flea” aspect. The market is aimed at providing fresh, healthy options for downtown residents and helping small Arizona businesses prosper. After shopping, enjoy the recently renovated Pioneer Park, with its splash pad, playground, basketball courts, and large lawn.
Olive Dawson is an environmentalist, a traveler, and a landscape writer for Wikilawn Phoenix. She is always searching for new ways to reduce waste and grow food organically. She is most proud of her homemade beauty products.