Customer Guide to the Vista Farmers Market

The Vista Farmers Market is open from 8:00 am until 12:00 noon EVERY Saturday and is located at the Vista County Courthouse, 345 South Melrose Drive, City of Vista, California, USA. It features over 50 farmers selling what they grow; local, certified, and organic growers with in-season produce. In addition, there are more than 30 foodmakers with fresh bread and other baked goods, sauces and salsas and dips, pickles,  as well as hot food vendors serving breakfast and lunch. Ten artisans sell pottery, clothing, hats, jewelry, soap, gifts, and more (sold by the MAKER). The market has over 600 free parking spaces. Here are some tips for getting the most from your time at the market:

The Vista Farmers Market has eliminated 80% of the plastic packaging in the market.   Please bring your own containers and bags when shopping (we do have a free bag exchange, and string bags for sale at the information booth.)  There are no free plastic bags — which were previously given out in the hundreds each week — and most other plastic packaging has either been replaced, or in some cases you will find the same item available in either plastic or glass (or other non-plastic package).  It is your choice >>> CHOOSE GLASS — recyclable (unlike most plastic), and reusable (not healthy with plastic).

Remember that only service animals are allowed at every farmers market in the state (by state regulations, enforced by the county).  No pets — sorry!

  • For the most part, there are no lines to stand in. Just step up to the table politely and ask your question, present your item for purchase, or try a sample.
  • The market is least crowded (and produce a bit fresher) EARLIER in the day. Arrive around 8 or 9 am and there will be shorter lines and more to choose from.
  • If you want to know where, how, or when the produce was grown or the item made, ask the maker or farmer. The farmers at the market represent the full range of farms – organic, soon to be organic, no spray, etc.
  • If you are buying a larger quantity you can ask for a discount — some may provide it, some will not.
  • Most farmers and vendors take cash. It is direct, simple, and doesn’t require any electricity, paperwork, or delay.  Many take credit cards.  There are also two ATMs nearby – one a block north at the Credit Union (near Islands restaurant) and one a block south (on the same side of Melrose as the market) at the bank.
  • Ask questions! Many farmers and shoppers have useful information on how to cook or prepare an items, when something comes into (or goes out of) season, and more.
  • The market accepts EBT (food stamps), WIC, and Senior coupons. EBT can be issued right at the market information booth. WIC and Senior Farmers Market coupons are available at WIC offices and Senior Centers.  The usual timing for WIC and Senior coupons is May to October.
  • The market has “gift certificates” in the form of Farmers Market Dollars. These are wooden tokens the are good for a dollar each and can be purchased at the information booth (across from the coffee truck) with cash or check (checks up to $20). Farmers Market Dollars have no expiration date and are good at any farmer, maker, or marketer in the market.
  • Bring your own containers – including bags, jars, cartons, boxes, jugs. It can save the farmers and vendors money, help the environment, and in some cases will save you a bit of money too.
  • You can recycle the gently used items you get from the farmers (egg cartons, strawberry baskets, pots for plants, etc.) Just take them back to the farmer you got them from or another who uses them.
  • Try something new each week. We can grow a lot of interesting items in this area that are not available anywhere else in this country! Our seasons and flavors are distinct.  Try ’em.
  • Pets are not allowed, by County Regulations.  (Sorry!)