The Farmer’s Market at “The Great Park” In Irvine Is Worth Getting Up and Out To Experience!
Don’t ask me why we had not yet made it out here to experience the Great Park on Sunday mornings. Perhaps it has been the stacks of Sunday papers I am determined to wade through, and yes, a cup of steaming java juice is a sight I cannot resist. But this Sunday, we were determined to make it, and so glad we did.
Arrival is quite simple, and parking is a breeze. We were greeted by the huge Orange Balloon levitating up and down in the sky. The wait to catch a ride was two hours by the time we sauntered over there, so “note to self” get there early and ride the balloon first if that is on your list—-especially if you have children in tow.
As we entered the Farmer’s Market we were struck by two things…. first, this Farmer’s Market has a welcoming “down home country” vibe that we thoroughly enjoyed. There are hay bales strewn here and there, the produce is exceptional, a wide variety of various products and wares, and in the center of this quad, a musician was playing well-known tunes. The second thing we noticed, is that they are dog friendly. The pathway is asphalt, so it would be best to arrive very early to opening if you are bringing a dog. (The Health Department does request that all dogs be kept at least 3 feet away from any food products, but that seemed easily accomplished.)
The Farmer’s Market-
The Farmer’s Market is worth the stop and especially if you take the time to talk to some of the vendors. They work very hard, packing their trucks to arrive here for an early set up, work all day long selling their products, then pack up what is left, and driving all the way home again when the day is done. I want to support these hard working folks. They are WORKING for the money they earn. I was quite impressed.
The Market is arranged in a horseshoe shape. As you wind your way up the main walkway from the parking lot (a secondary lot is to the right), you enter what I call “Main Street”. This has vendors to the right and left and the trees lining this pathway, make for a very pleasant stroll. The vendors are creative with their various signs and canopies that line the route. Some examples of the vendors include: all types of vegetables & fruits—with a big emphasis on organic, flowers, popcorn, jams, artisan breads, specialty teas, salsas, humus, hot sauce, eggs, cheese, seafood, roasted peanuts, herb and tomato plants for the garden, cookies, fudge and the list goes on.
“This Farmer’s Market is the same time, same place, and different every week!”
Jeff Rowe ~ Market Manager OC Farm Bureau
Food Truck & Foodie Fare-
At the far end, the path curves to the right, and all along this walkway are Food Trucks galore. This path includes: crepes, gyros and Mediterranean food, shrimp tempura, burgers, chimney cakes, ice cream, pizza, tacos, fruit cups, cappuccino and lattes, crab & shrimp stuffed avocados, tamales, and shaved ice lemonade. Families were sharing tastes, sitting down to eat lunch in the center quad area near the music. Everyone seemed to really be enjoying the day.
Other Wares & Products-
And rounding the corner of the horseshoe shaped venue, were a host of other products and wares.
I have been looking for a Pampered Chef contact for a long time and here was a complete store right in front of me! There was also: Tupperware, bicycles, beautiful hand-crafted fabric bags and wine totes by Cathy Beckham (beckhambags.com), homemade doggy dinners and treats, clothing, hiking sticks, leather goods, pictures, belts, purses, and the list goes on.
Car Show & Car Club Meet Ups-
Each week there are a host of car owners that show up to showcase their beloved cars—from muscle cars, to antique, to vintage. From time to time car clubs arrive in mass. The owners are often found shining their prized possessions right there in the warm sun. If interested in having your Car Club come to the Sunday event, please contact Michael Mendonca via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org . He will be glad to find you some space.
On the 1st Sunday of each month Brady Heart organizes a fantastic array of 125-150 vendors selling various antique wares. I am heading back there for this June event to check it out!!! I will report back….
Other Happenings at The Great Park-
I had no idea there were so many things going on at The Great Park. Please visit their web site for all the up-to-date event information. Most of it is free! There is the Balloon ride, which I spoke of earlier, there is the Carousel, the Palm Court Arts Complex, Historic Hangar 244 (built in 1944) for events, on the North Lawn there is croquet and bocce ball (on grass) and they even provide the equipment and rules, Farm + Food Lab (a 2-acre interactive garden), the Kids Rock and play area, concerts and movies are held on the lawn in the summer months, walking and biking paths, a walk-able timeline of events over the years, and a Visitor Center. A Community Garden is coming soon!
Just The Facts:
Sunday Farmer’s Market:
– Opened in Fall of 2010
-Hours are: 10:00am- 3:00pm
(However, open at 9:00am on the 1st Sunday of the Month)
-Parking is Free
-Location: South of SandCanyon, and entry is on Marine Way.
Just North of the 5 Freeway- great signage.
–60-90 vendors each week
-1st Sunday of the month- Antique Market opens at 9:00 with 125-150 vendors
-2nd & 4th Sunday- Book Author Vendors
-3rd Sunday of the month- Green Vendors
The Balloon Ride:
– It’s Free!
-Signing In- Can sign in 30 min. prior to day flights, and 60 min. prior
for the evening flights.
-Flight Hours are: Thu/Fri. 10:00 am-3:00 pm and 7:00-10:00 pm
Sat/Sun 9:00 am-3:00 pm and 7:00-10:00 pm
-Web Site: www.ocgp.org
-Social Media: Facebook and Twitter
Events At The Great Park:
-Visit The Web Site for current events at www.ocgp.org