East County Magazine's Guide to Fresh, Local Foods

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By Miriam Raftery

Growing concerns over food safety, environmental issues, health and desire to support our local economy have given rise to a new trend: consumers seeking out locally-grown and produced foods.


Sales of locally grown foods increased 25% in 2007 from $4 billion to $5 billion – and could hit $7 billion by 2011, according to a HealthFocus TrendScan report.  According to Packaged Facts, 69% of consumers surveyed agreed that local food is better for their personal health than food that has traveled across the country.  Buzzwords such as “food miles” the “slow food movement” and “locavore” (New Oxford American Dictionary’s 2007 word of the year) have entered the lingo.              


Since 9/11 ten times more Americans have been killed by food poisoning than by terrorist attacks, The Nation magazine reported. Thousands of salmonella cases linked to foods, as well as imported Chinese products linked to deaths of thousands of pets, have raised consumer awareness over food safety. 


Global warming and rising fuel prices have also sparked consciences of shop-local consumers eager to reduce oil used in transporting goods.  Many people are also seeking local foods for freshness, flavor, and a desire for organic items without chemicals.  In addition, buying local foods supports area farmers, businesses, and communities. 



Fortunately, there are plenty of places right here in East County where you can find delicious fresh, locally-grown or produced foods.  Many health food stores, such as Henry’s, Sprouts, and Windmill Farms markets carry a wide variety of locally grown produce.  Look for the “San Diego County 365” label or ask the store’s produce manager where products are from if not labeled.

Or hit the road and visit one of the many roadside farm stands, u-pick farms and farmers’ marketplaces in the Eastern portion of San Diego County. 

You can also find farm-fresh outlets nationwide in the U.S. at www.localharvest.com.


We have a guide to community supported agriculture (CSA) programs that deliver farm-fresh foods directly to you:   http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/8530.


The San Diego Farm Bureau lists many roadside farm stands where you can buy just-picked, farm-fresh produce directly from growers.   Or discover more on your own by driving East County’s back country roads.  Some of our favorites include:

Alpine--Frosty Acres: 3905 Alpine Blvd., just east of the Alpine Blvd. Exit off I-8: sweet strawberries, peaches, watermelons and other seasonal fruits, peppers and other fresh vegetables, plus jars of locally-made honeys, salsas and salad dressings.


Escondido – Farm Stand West, Season opens April 23, Tuesday-Friday Noon to 5 p.m., Weekends 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Seasonal varieties of berries, melons, avocados, citrus, peppers, potatoes, persimmons, corn and more. Corner of Citracado & Miller avenues, east of the Felicita Ave exit off I-15, (760) 738-9014/


Escondido – Fentiman Farms:  Daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Persimmon, avocado, orange, tomato, ginger, garlic & more, 10808 Reidy Canyon Trail (760) 746-1420.


Escondido – Valley Produce:  Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Weekends 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Avocados, salad greens, melons, citrus, juices, dried fruits and more. 3485 E. Valley Pkwy between El Norte Pkwy & Lake Wohlford Rd, (760) 233-0000.


Escondido – Heritage Family Farms: Daily 9.am. to 7 p.m. Variety of produce, fruit, homemade salsa, 3445 E. Valley Pkwy between El Norte Pkwy & Lake Wohlford Rd, (760) 741-8471.

Lakeside--Hilliker's Egg Store: off Highway 67, 1/4-mile west of Riverford Road on El Nopal Road. Eggs! Brown or white, single or double-yolk, sizes medium to extra large, available in cartons, flats, boxes, pallets or by the truckload; fresh, unprocessed sage and eucalyptus honey from the 16 beehives at the Hilliker farm; in spring and summer, fresh vegetables from Hilliker's home-grown vegetable field are also available.

Pala/Valley Center – Pala Rey Ranch: Weekdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Weekends 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Melon, avocado, strawberry, citrus, squash, beans, tomatoes, nuts, Highway 76 at Couser Canyon Rd.


Ramona -- Eben-Haezer Poultry Ranch:, Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Farm fresh, hand-washed eggs, 1908 A Dye Road (760) 789-0961


Rancho Santa Fe--Lemon Twist: 8175 Del Dios Highway, just east of the Cielo and Crosby Estates housing developments): Oranges, tangerines, strawberries, broccoli, cucumbers, avocados, cherimoyas, certified organic lemons, grapefruit, tomatoes, zucchini and more. Seasonal produce such as Julian pears and apples, Lake Wohlford peaches, Ruby grapefruit from Borrego Springs, vegetables from the organic Tierra Miguel Farm in Pauma Valley and eggs from Fluegge Egg Ranch in Escondido are also offered, along with florals including azalea topiaries, orchids and bonsai.


Rancho Santa Fe--Vegetable Shop at the Chino family farm: 6123 Calzada del Bosque, off Via de la Valle, S6.  Multiple varieties of most produce: Tomatoes, squash, squash blossoms, beans, shell beans, dried beans, melons, cucumbers, sprouts, greens and lettuces, celery root, carrots, turnips, parsnips, salsafy, radishes, brussels sprouts, okra, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, peppers, herbs, strawberries, strawberry figs, Concord grapes.



Escondido – Johnson’s Family Farm: Oct-Dec, Weekends 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Fuyu persimmon & apple, 16542 Guejito Rd (760) 749-2554.


Julian -- Apple Starr Orchards: Sept-Oct.  Organic apple & pear , 1020 Julian Orchards Dr, (949) 494-8738


Julian – Julian Mining Company: Weekends 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Weekdays By Appointment. Raspberry July-Oct, corn Sept-Oct, pumpkin Oct-Nov, 4444 Orchard Ln & Highway 78, (951) 313-0166


Julian – Peaceful Orchard, Weekdays By Appointment. Apples, 3803 Wynola Rd (760) 443-3930 www.peacefulorchard.com.


Julian – MJ Ranch & Orchard, September, Weekends 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Apple & pear, 1070 Farmers Rd, (760) 765-2423 www.julianapples.com.


Julian – Raven Hill Orchard, Aug-Oct, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daily. Organic apple, 1284 Julian Orchards Dr, (760) 765-2431.


Lakeside – Victoria’s Garden, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Pumpkin, watermelon, strawberry, corn, orchard fruit, 13120 Willow Rd, (619) 390-9571 www.victoriasgardens.us/index.php.


Pauma Valley – Bar 2 Ranch, Oct-Nov, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Daily. Fuyu persimmon, 14797 Highway 76, (760) 742-3614.


Spencer Valley/Julian -- Calico Ranch, Sept-Oct, Friday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 130-plus varieties of apples & pears, 4200 Highway 78, (858) 586-0392 www.spencervalley.com.

Valley Center – Bates Nut Farm. Year-round, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daily. Crops rotate throughout the year including an October pumpkin festival. Also have dried fruits, nuts, candies and more, 15954 Woods Valley Road (760) 749-3333




Buy directly from local farmers at outdoor bazaars featuring a wealth of fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and other locally-made goods.  Find a complete listing of farmers’ markets countywide at:


Below are farmers’ markets located east of I-15 in San Diego County.



Alpine -- Tuesday 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Bethel Church, 1929 Arnold Way



Borrego Springs – Friday 7 a.m. to Noon (Nov. through May)

Christmas Circle Community Park at Christmas Circle and Palm Canyon Dr


City Heights - Saturday 9 a.m. to Noon

Wightman Street between Fairmont Avenue and 43rd Street



College Area - Thursdays 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. during the school year

Campanille on the campus of San Diego State University

Market includes a wide variety of international foods as well as fresh products and crafts



El Cajon -- Thursdays 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Prescott Promenade on Main Street (1 block east of Magnolia) in downtown El Cajon.

Pick up a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and more! Visit the Market’s website at www.ElCajonFarmersMarket.org to learn more.


Escondido – Tuesday 2:30 to 7:00 p.m. (May-Sept.); 2:30 to 6 p.m. (Oct. - April)

Grand Ave between Juniper and Kalmia St


seasonal fruits and vegetables, flowers, herbs, nuts, eggs and honey. Other vendors offer gourmet chocolates, salsas, European breads, tamales, coffees


Escondido (north) - Monday 1-5 p.m. winter, 3-7 p.m. summer

Welk Certified Farmer's Marketplace

Lawrence Welk Resort

8860 Lawrence Welk Drive

Escondido, California 92026


Jamul - Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

14019 Highway 94 and Campo Rd.


Julian - Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

4470 Highway 78 (between the Bead Shop and Wynola Farms Marketplace)

La Mesa downtown village  – Friday  3 to 7 p.m.

La Mesa Blvd. between Spring St. and Alison Ave. in La Mesa's downtown village


La Mesa - Grossmont Center - Wednesday 2 to 6 p.m.

5500 Grossmont Center Blvd. in the parking lot between CVS and Target.


Lakeside Farmer's Market – Thursday 2 to 6 p.m.

Lindo Lake Park, 9841 Vine St., Lakeside


Otay Ranch - Tuesday 4 to 8 p.m. summer, 4 to 7 p.m. winter

2015 Birch Rd. and Eastlake Blvd., Chula Vista


Poway – Saturday 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Old Poway Park at Midland Road and Temple


Ramona - Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Collier County Park, 626 E Street.


Ramona --

San Diego Organic Farms

955 Hanson Lane

619 994 7705


Rancho Bernardo – Friday 9 a.m. to Noon

Bernardo Winery parking lot at 13330 Paseo del Verano Norte


Rancho Bernardo/Webb Park - Tuesday 3 to 7 p.m.

16816 Bernardo Center Dr.


Rancho San Diego - Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cuyamaca College Campus, 900 Rancho San Diego Parkway


Santee - Wednesday 3 to 7 p.m. summer, 3 to 6 p.m. winter

10455 Mission Gorge Rd.


Scripps Ranch – Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Ellen Browning Scripps Elementary School

10380 Spring Canyon Rd

Website: www.scrippsranchfarmersmarket.com


Spring Valley -  Tuesdays 3:00 to 7:00 p.m.

3845 Spring Drive, Spring Valley

Open year-round



Tierrasanta – Thursday 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

De Portola Middle School

11010 Clairemont Mesa Blvd and Santo Rd


Valley Center Farmer's Market – Thursdays 3-7 pm 

Valley Center Community Center, 28246 Lilac Rd.


Viejas Farmer's Market – Tuesdays 3:30-7:30 p.m, June-August. Exact dates tba.

Viejas Outlet Center, 5005 Willow Road, Alpine

Website: www.shopviejas.com


If you know of a source for fresh, local foods not listed here, please contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

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