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20+ Farms & Markets in North County San Diego (Master List)

farms-markets in north county san diego

We love food.

From a quick breakfast on the patio, to dining out with friends, to the simple pleasures of preparing a meal with the family, the foods we eat sustain us inside and out.

North County residents are, for the most part, passionate about keeping things local. That includes shopping at local farms and markets. When we buy local, we support small business owners, farmers, and their families, and that’s a great way to keep the community healthy.

It goes without saying that the more we support our local food providers, the more likely it is those businesses will continue providing fresh food for generations. Now how great would it be if our children’s children got to experience delicious food grown just a few miles — or even a few blocks — away?

We think that would be really great.

Next time you head out to get your groceries, produce, rare meats, or even farm fresh eggs, try one of these local North County markets and farm stands.

San Diego Summer Concerts + Movies in the Park in North County Coastal

(Del Mar to Oceanside)

1. Carlsbad Ranch Market

You might remember this little market was once located next door to Tip Top Meats. It’s now located just across the parking lot in a bigger spot to offer more to their local customers. It’s a little tricky to find, if you don’t know what you’re looking for… but look for it anyway.

The store sells local grocery items, like milk or kombucha or edible chocolate chip cookie dough, but what you’re really going to love are the fresh food offerings. A big favorite of folks who frequent the shop is the salad bar. It’s been called one of the best in North County. You can also get sandwiches (they use Boar’s Head meats), wraps (several vegetarian and vegan options), and fresh juices at the juice bar. If you didn’t place your order online and are in a hurry, you can always find something tasty in the Grab & Go deli case.

PS: We hear there’s a second location going in soon at Business Park Drive. Stay tuned!

2. Coastal Roots Farm

Coastal Roots Farm is a different kind of community farm. Based on Jewish traditions of sharing with those most in need, the farm focuses on sustainable agriculture to grow and share healthy food with neighbors. They provide thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables to local hunger relief efforts every year.

The farm was created by the Leichtag Foundation as an independent organization to encourage a vibrant and healthy community. Funding comes from philanthropic support and revenue from programs and social enterprises. The farm stand is open to the public on Sundays from 10AM-3PM, and Thursdays from 2-6PM. They also host a monthly “Farm and Hang Out” event once a month during the summer that’s fun for the whole family.

3. Coral Tree Farm

Family-owned and operated since 1958, Coral Tree Farm and Nursery specializes in organically produced vegetables and fruits including many varieties of heirlooms, avocados, cherimoyas and guavas.

The farm also sells fresh eggs from happy chickens that roam their grounds! The chicks are a free pasture flock of heritage breed chickens. All have been raised cruelty-free and without antibiotics. Any food that they consume is all organic, including their scratch, making the fresh eggs that they produce that much better and more delicious.

There are several events open to the public, as well as community visiting days (Saturday 10:00AM – 3:00PM), so plan a visit soon!

4. Cyclops Farms

On a small plot of acreage in Fire Mountain sits one of our favorite farms. Cyclops Farms is Certified Organic and supplies produce to some of North County’s best restaurants, so you might have already tasted the actual fruit of their labor. The farm stand is only open to the public on Saturday mornings. We can’t say it more emphatically… the early bird gets the worm! We highly recommend arriving when it opens up at 8. If you want to know what they’ll be selling, they post their weekly harvest on Friday afternoon on their Facebook page. That’s also a great way to find out about any occasional mid-week pop up sales.

Every month, the farm hosts a special sunset meal that they call the Water Bill Dinner. The dinner serves as a way to offset the costs of keeping the farm bills paid, which is wonderful, because we’d love to see this place continue to thrive. The dinners are also a great way to get to know your North County neighbors. The dinners typically feature local chefs doing their thing with the produce grown on the farm. Beer and wine flow throughout the evening from various local brewers and wineries. The only way to score a seat at this dinner is at the farm stand, so make sure to ask about it when you pick up your strawberries or chard or purple cauliflower next Saturday.

5. Cream of the Crop

The landmark orange carrot marks the spot of one of North County’s oldest natural food stores: Cream of the Crop. Located right on Coast Highway in South O, locals have been flocking to this place for specialty items, like Dragon Fruit and Acai, since before they were all over Instagram.

Cream of the Crop has a pretty healthy selection of items for such a small shop. Their juice bar and deli are perfect for last minute munchies to take to the beach. And they have a fairly extensive selection of vitamins (tiered discounts on vitamins, by the way), as well as a full line of natural cosmetics, soaps, toothpaste, and other sundry items. My favorite thing about this place has to be the lovely hippie scent of sandalwood that greets you as you walk in the door.

6. Frazier Farms

Frazier Farms has been a local staple since 1971 when the first store opened on Grand in Escondido. Today, the family-owned stores in Vista and Oceanside remain quite popular with local residents.

The stores are well known for their large natural products aisles. There’s always someone at the natural products counter available to answer any questions and to help you locate your favorite oils or herbal supplements. The deli counter is always busy, and for good reason. They’ve got lots of good stuff to go. We especially love that they carry so many smaller local vendors, including very special specialty items, like award-winning cupcakes from Little Cakes.

7. Jimbo’s Naturally

Jimbo Someck (yes, there really is a real guy behind the name) came to San Diego over 40 years ago. He started in the food business breaking down cardboard boxes. Jimbo opened his first store in 1984 in North Park (now sold) and has opened five San Diego stores since then; four of them here in North County: Carmel Valley, Escondido, Carlsbad, 4S Ranch.

Jimbo’s stores have strong ties with local organic farmers and natural food vendors, making them some of the best markets in San Diego to find great produce. Jimbo’s stores are also strong supporters of products made here in San Diego. You’ll always find new and unique products, as their buyers are always sourcing and searching for items to bring to their customers. Those products are highlighted with their “Support San Diego” logo throughout the store.

  • 1923 Calle Barcelona, Carlsbad, CA 92009
  • 12853 El Camino Real, Carmel Valley, CA 92130
  • 1633 S. Centre City Pkwy., Escondido, CA 92025
  • 10511 4S Commons Dr, Ste 155, San Diego, CA 92127
  • Click here for more information

8. Just Peachy

This is the perfect little market for the funky little enclave of Leucadia. They have a small refrigerated section with basics like milk, cheese and eggs, as well as a moderate line of produce and specialty foods. And their already healthy organic produce section has grown! It seems to have doubled in size over the past couple of years, which probably makes all the local home juicers exceedingly happy.

And, as advertised in BIG GIANT LETTERS out front, they sell Julian Pies!

9. La Costa Farms

Driving up along the lagoon on La Costa Ave., you come across one of familiar reminders of the agricultural history of the area. The large sign turns your head, and then your car, into the dirt parking lot at La Costa Farms. You know you’ll find local produce here, but you’ll also find their very own jams, with flavors like Bourbon Apple Jam w/ Brown Sugar & Sage. And you can spread those gourmet jams on any of the specialty breads that they sell at the stand.

Besides all the delicious goodness at this farm stand, you’ll find beautiful plants and flowers here. We’re not sure what they use in their soil, but the plants grow very nicely and the flowers are just bee-yoo-tee-ful! Special occasion coming up? They do flower arrangements, including weddings.

10. Lazy Acres Natural Market

Although not a privately owned market, Lazy Acres in Encinitas has fast become a local favorite, so I’ve added it to the list. Since their opening in 2016, they’ve easily filled a gap left by a certain chain nicknamed “whole paycheck.” Lazy Acres has a great selection of fresh, local, organic produce. They’ve got a tremendous salad bar filled with so many fresh items, a bakery that makes the BEST chocolate chip cookies, and a delicious deli… but we also want to point out their popular Poke Bar. It’s a must-try!

Besides all the fresh food, can we just take note of how much better that whole shopping center looks now? The former eyesore of a corner has had a complete makeover, thanks to this new market. At least go in and say thanks!

11. Los Primos

Los Primos (or just Primos) is a great little neighborhood market that has everything you need if you’re in the mood to cook, but not really prep. They have great marinated carne asada and pollo asado, plus all the fixins needed for an afternoon of grilling with the compadres. Salsas are made fresh daily, and the guacamole is muy sabroso!

Don’t feel like cooking at all? Just go around the corner and order up. They’ve got a great barbecue going on most of the day, as evidenced from the smoke wafting into the sky. Check their daily specials before you order just anything. Also… we have it on very good authority that this place makes the best California Burrito. Probably.

12. Pelly’s Fish Market and Cafe

Looking for fresh fish? Pelly’s is the place. Great stuff, caught daily. They’ve also got a deli where you can get your chowder on, as well as a fresh fish sandwich, if you’re in the mood. We hear the Loco Moco is pretty good here, too. Have you been? Let us know what you think!

13. Red & White Market

Red & White is the beachy neighborhood market you’d expect to see on a show about a beachy town of skaters and artists… or Oceanside. Despite the small size of the store, there’s a good chance they’ll have what you need in a pinch. The Vista Way location is ideal for locals living in South O, and the second location at the harbor (Red & White Superette) is ideal if you’re spending the day at the water and run out of a few things, or basically forgot to pack anything. The produce is always fresh, and they’ve got a decent deli, but the real reason people come here? This is the one place you can always find The Pepper Plant’s Original California Hot Pepper Sauce. It’s the good stuff. Get you some.

Bonus: There’s always a pile of firewood available, just in case you’re on your way to a bonfire.

14. Seaside Market

Just across the highway from the Cardiff Kook sits one of the best (if not THE best market) in San Diego. That’s right… the whole darn county. Not only is Seaside Market the home of Cardiff Crack, they’re newly expanded location now has a YUGE selection of local beers that will make your head spin. They’ve also got an entire counter dedicated to cheese.

There’s an abundance of fresh, local produce, including a station to squeeze your own fresh juice. The line for their outdoor barbecue moves quickly, so don’t let the size intimidate you. And you could eat at their daily every single day and never have enough. But the thing that makes this place really special is the staff. Super friendly and knowledgeable, especially The People’s Chef, James Montejano. Chef took me on a tour of the store recently. Check out the video here: Tour Seaside Market with Chef Montejano.

15. Tip Top Meats

A fixture in Carlsbad since 1967, Tip Top Meats is a European market with an old world-style deli and restaurant, plus a full-service butcher department with its own smokehouse. The deli produces fine quality meats, like smoked bacon, ham, chicken, turkey, pastrami and corned beef. Specialty meats include boneless stuffed Tur-duc-hens, fruit stuffed pork roasts, suckling pigs, chicken, pork, veal, lamb, ducks, and geese. Oh, and you can find smoked cow tongue here, too, in case you were looking.
Tip Top recently expanded their operation to include fresh fish. Top Choice works directly with local fisherman, purchasing whole fish and live seafood, processing the catch in-house, seven days a week. You can take your fish home to grill, or you can enjoy it at the sit-down eatery at the store. Diners choose their fish to be cooked and paired with some sides, or choose from a menu that ranges from house-made soups to seafood platters and fish and chips.

Open for lunch and dinner daily, the restaurant at Tip Top also serves beer and wine.

Farms & Markets in San Diego North County: Inland

(Rancho Bernardo to Escondido)

16. Be Wise Ranch

Be Wise Ranch is a Certified Organic farm that’s been around since 1977 in San Pasqual. During his time as the president of the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), owner, Bill Brammer was instrumental in the creation of state and federal legislation defining organic standards for the industry. So not only do we benefit from his standards, the entire country does, too!

The farm specializes in flavorful varieties of organic fruits and vegetables, offering a wide selection of organic produce to the entire county. They’re well known for their CSA membership, which delivers boxes of fresh vegetables to pick-up points in various neighborhoods throughout San Diego, including several drop offs in North County. Members of the CSA rave on about the freshness and quality of the products in their weekly pick up. Definitely one to check out.

17. Couple Berry Farms

“I never knew this was here.” I hear that all the time when I visit Couple Berry Farms. The farm itself has been around nearly 100 years, but it’s only been the last couple of years that the owner, Butch has opened up the farm stand to the public. From Thursday to Saturday, you can come by and check out the produce from his property, as well as hand selected produce that he finds from other local growers. They also offer a CSA box, available any day that they are open.

While you’re there picking up some fruits and veggies, make sure to take a little walk around the property. The lower half houses many cute little critters, including ducks, chickens, goats, pigs (and occasionally, some cute little piglets) and a couple of very sweet dogs that love to say hi to strangers. If you blink, you’ll miss it, so make sure to slow down before you come up on the place. Parking is a bit precarious during busier hours. There are signs pointing visitors to “more parking” on the lower half of the property.

18. Frazier Farms – Vista

Scroll up to the coastal location for more info on this great market!

19. Golden Door Farm Stand

The Golden Door has been a world-renown spa and healthy hideaway for decades, and long a destination for those seeking respite from the busy-ness of life, including such notable guests as Oprah Winfrey. The resort experience is promises a stay filled with regenerative workouts, meditation, and massages, as well as a menu filled with pure, fresh, biointensive-farmed meals from their gardens. The fruit, vegetables, and honey from their farms has grown in such abundance that they’ve begun selling the overflow to the public.

20. JR Organics

JR Organics, located in the hills of the Valley Center area, was homesteaded by the Rodriguez family in the early 1950’s. In the late 70’s, Joe Rodriguez, Jr. started getting sick when using chemicals for farming. That’s when he decided to try the organic method, learning the process at Mira Costa College. The farm was eventually CCOF certified in 1986, and has retained that certification up to the present time.

The produce from the 85 acre farm can be purchased through a CSA box delivery, as well as local farmer’s markets. JR Organics grows everything from arugula to zucchini to strawberries, watermelons, cantaloupes and hard to find green leafy vegetables.

21. North County International Market

If your recipe calls for a middle eastern ingredient that you can’t read and/or pronounce, it’s likely you’ll be able to find it here at North County International. They have a huge selection of hard-to-find ingredients for Middle Eastern and Eastern European food recipes that you probably won’t find perusing down the aisles of a large superstore.

Besides the selection of grocery items, North County International has a deli that serves hot Middle Eastern and Eastern European foods for incredibly reasonable prices. All items are made to order, so you might have to wait a little. It’s definitely worth the wait!

22. Rodeo’s Meat Market

This is one of those markets people drive out of their way for.

23. Sprouts

Also not privately owned local markets, but they should be mentioned. Sprouts has popped up in various locations where other markets used to be and we’re glad. Better to have a small chain that focuses on fresh local produce than nothing at all, am I right?

  • 2618 El Camino Real, Carlsbad
  • 3243 Camino De Los Coches, Carlsbad
  • 471 College Blvd, Oceanside
  • 1327 Encinitas Blvd, Encinitas
  • 149 S Las Posas Rd, San Marcos
  • 510 W 13th Ave, Escondido
  • Click here for more information

24. T & H Meats

T & H Prime Meats and Sausage is an old-timey butcher shop that offers USDA Prime beef, pork, lamb and poultry. Over 40 varieties of fresh and smoked sausage are available every day. You can find everything from Italian Capicola (pronounced “gaba-gool” for no discernible reason) to Danish Frikadellers in their deli meats section along with salami, pate, smoked pork chops, and other specialty items made right in the shop. They also have a great little grocery section filled with European delicacies such as ground mustards, exquisite chocolates, and pickled items.

T & H Prime Meats and Sausage also offers custom cut, smoke, and wrap service for all wild game and farm-raised animals. All cuts are vacuum packed and clearly labeled. Did you come back from your last fishing trip with a boatload of fish? T&H will smoke your catch for you.

Your Turn

Is your favorite spot to shop for fresh foods missing from this list? Comment below and we’ll make sure to add it!
If your business is listed in one of our guides, click here to learn more about becoming a featured business.

Sugar Jones: Sugar Jones has been blogging about life since 2008. She has contributed to various local news stations for lifestyle segments, speaking about tech, social media, travel, food, and family.