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Arizona’s Farmers Market Spotlights The State’s Produce Industry

When it comes to fresh market vegetable production, Arizona ranks as one of the most prolific states in America, harvesting around 95 million produce cartons annually. Considering its wealth of home-grown fruits and vegetables, it’s unsurprising to discover that the Grand Canyon State also has a thriving farmers market community, boasting more than 100 in operation. Here are four great spots to visit in the state. 

Photo Courtesy Tess Balingit 

Roadrunner Park Farmers Market

The Roadrunner Park Farmers Market is one of several dozen farmers markets in Arizona’s Maricopa County. However, there are several reasons why it distinguishes itself from others in the Greater Phoenix area. It certainly helps that Roadrunner has been recognized as the oldest existing farmers market in the state. People have come to rely on it as a Saturday staple. 

The market is open year-round: 7 a.m. – 10 a.m. June–September and 8 a.m. – noon October–May. Folks can also rely on a wide variety of agricultural vendors stocked with fresh vegetables and fruits, natural meats, and local honey. They will also find food booths serving tasty treats and artisans with hand-crafted items. 

Its location — 3502 E. Cactus Road in Roadrunner Park — in northeastern Phoenix certainly provides a big plus. The park contains a children’s playground, a swimming pool, a soccer field, and a fishing pond with geese and ducks.

This location provides visitors, particularly families, with added fun attractions to balance out the shopping activities.

Photo Courtesy RoadRunner Park Farmers’ Market

Carefree Farmers Market

About a half-hour drive north of Roadrunner Park is the idyllically named town of Carefree, where a farmers market happens on Fridays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. October–May and 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. June–September. “Farm, Food, and Fun” is a watchword of this market. 

Local farms present a plentiful selection of organically grown or pesticide-free produce, along with sustainably caught tuna and salmon and range-fed beef. You can also find locally sourced honey, artisanal baked goods, and specialty food items, like salsas, jams, and pickles. The market has been praised for its peaceful, laid-back vibe — how can it not have a chilled environment when it’s situated at the corner of Easy Street and Ho Hum Road?

Photo Courtesy Carefree Farmers Market

Downtown Chandler Farmers Market 

The Downtown Chandler Farmers Market was only established in 2018 but has already become a fixture in the city’s lifeblood. It takes place in Dr. A.J. Chandler Park West — 3 S. Arizona Ave. — every Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. October–May and 7 a.m. – 10 a.m. June–September. The market hosts approximately 50–60 weekly vendors, from regional farmers to locally-based gourmet food and crafts vendors. 

Additionally, the park is conveniently located to numerous downtown restaurants and contains various play opportunities for youngsters. The market also presents a Kids Day on the first Saturday of the month, typically including a Chandler Public Library storytime and special play activities conducted by the city’s Parks & Recreation department.

Photo Courtesy Downtown Chandler Community Partnership

Ocotillo Farmers Market

Downtown Chandler’s farmers market has proven so successful that a Sunday operation was set up in October 2022 in the Ocotillo neighborhood of Chandler, southwest of the city’s downtown area. Despite its youth, this market — located in downtown Ocotillo on Queen Creek Road and S. Dobson Road — already averages around 35–40 vendors weekly. 

In April 2024, the market also hosted its first Kids Day, where youngsters learned about sustainable farming, including ways to take care of the soil.

They also received seeds to plant in their backyards. Sustainability is a focus of the Ocotillo Farmers Market, whether it is encouraging regional farmers to grow and sell their responsibly produced foods or being environmentally conscious by being a place where people can purchase locally cultivated, organic goods. 

Photo Courtesy Tess Balingit 

Arizona farmers markets also demonstrate their community involvement through its Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs (FMNP). This initiative offers eligible families and seniors a booklet of coupons they can use at farmers markets. It allows low-income individuals the chance to obtain fresh, locally raised produce while supporting area farmers and gardeners.

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