The Market: Gilbert Farmers Market
The Location: 222 N. Ash Street, Gilbert 85234 (The SW corner of Ash St. and Page Ave.)
Days/Hours: Every Saturday from 9 a.m. 'til 1 p.m.
Parking: When you make a turn onto Page Ave. from Gilbert Rd., you'll head all the way down and there will be a massive parking lot on the left, in between you and the market. The parking is plentiful and easy.
The Vendors: Jessa and Dan Koppenhofer did a tremendous job of getting the Gilbert Farmers Market up and running just a couple of years ago, and since have helped it to flourish. It's a market that covers all the bases (vegetables, fruit, meat, even three food trucks) that make shoppers happy and provides enough business to keep vendors coming back.
Particularly impressive are some of the meat vendors, such as Double Check Ranch that starts with grass-fed cows down in scenic Winkelman and sells a wide variety of their beef cuts at the market. One of their customers reveled in his luck - he'd finally found a cut of hanger steak; a small cut of meat that would be rare enough considering it's small size and unique flavor, but is even rarer so since butchers usually covet it for themselves.
Another standout meat vendor was Gilbert's own Davy Jones Seafood. These guys go up to Kenai, Alaska to catch boat loads (they sunk a boat once because they caught so many fish) of their Alaskan sole and sockeye salmon which they sell $12 a pound (but buy 2 pounds and get 1 free).
The only produce vendor at the market for a while was One Windmill Farm, which does a great job selling dozens of eggs in addition to their tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and more. Many couldn't resist the lure of green tomatoes that were even more vibrant and plump in size than their red counterparts. Recently Love Grows Farms joined in on the fun, selling pac choi, leeks, red kale. Local favorites from the farms at Agritopia currently aim to make the Gilbert market every first and third week of the month, though they operate their own market at their farm just a few minutes away, with a wider selection of veggies and a chance to pick your own citrus right from the trees.
Best Taste: This time around, our best taste came from products that typically enhance the taste of other foods - salt and pepper from Go Lb. Salt. Exotic salts and peppers are off the grid for most, but they'd be making a mistake thinking that they don't make a difference. Their salts range from Hawaiian black to a sweeter, tangier Hawaiian red, and on to a salt that's been smoked over aged applewood. Additionally they sell pepper berries that have all the heat of kernels, blends of salts and pepper they call "dressings," bacon flavored seasoning, and even margarita rim salts.
The People: They're kind and considerate - you certainly get the small town vibe in Gilbert. Many couples make a day out of it, too. They'll do some shopping at the market, where they might also eat their lunch and finish the morning with a stroll on the sidewalks of the nearby Heritage District in Downtown Gilbert.
What's Missing: The answer could be as simple as more vendors. They might have a few produce vendors, and that's enough for anyone, but we only found one bread company and a lack of sweets and pastries, as well as competition for meat, honey, and snack food vendors. The must-haves are covered, but this market could easily grow to become a bit more diverse and ultimately more lush.
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397 S. Gilbert Road, Gilbert, AZ