Market: Clark Park Farmers Market
Hours and location: 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays October through May; summer hours TBD
1730 South Roosevelt Street, Tempe
Scoop: This market is a recent addition to the growing list of farmers markets around the Valley – it’s only been open since October. It’s held every Saturday morning in a large, gated section of Clark Park, not far from downtown Tempe and the ASU campus. The weekly event is hosted by the Tempe Community Action Agency, which has been using part of the space for over a year to create and offer rentable raised beds to those who want an opportunity to grow their own food.
Though it still has plenty of room to grow, the newbie market has a nice mix of vendors, including a few that have presence at different markets around town including DeCio Pasta. The vendor's representative told us that even though AJ’s carries some of the company's products, DeCio offers more of a variety at the farmers markets. The handmade pasta boasts vibrant colors and interesting flavor combinations including beet onion, chili cilantro, and garlic chive.
"Healthy" sweets were trending during our visit. Heavenly Sweets AZ, owned by New York transplants Daniel and Soraya Medina, had organic treat including black bean brownies, while The Wild Rabbit’s Patricia Bennington’s raw and vegan goodies included a green smoothie served in the form of a cupcake.
Abby Lee Farms — a division of Neal Brooks’ Growers Market, Inc., which has farms in Phoenix, Wilcox, and Stafford – had a moderate selection of really bright, appealing produce, including greens, carrots, and different types of squash and tomatoes. Speaking of juicy tomatoes, we were into the Bloody Mary mix from Blood Brothers, an umami-laden liquid that would be great in a cocktail or to get creative with while cooking. These brothers took a recipe passed down from their dad and are building a business upon it, to honor his memory.
It wasn’t all food the day we visited; vendors like Double Blessings Goat’s Milk Lotions & Soaps were on hand with their skin soothing products. Word of Mouth Grill was serving up what smelled like some tasty barbecue but when we approached, within an hour of closing time, they’d already sold out.
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What we liked: One of the best things about the Clark Park Market is the vibe. All of the vendors were in great spirits and excited about showcasing their goods in this new arena; eager to talk, listen, and gain new fans. Another bonus is those aforementioned raised beds. Many, full of blooming plants, make nice focal points as you tool around. There’s plenty of parking and some areas with benches for taking a load off and enjoying the scenery.
What we wished for: More of everything. This market is off to a great start and with the addition of more vendors, it will undoubtedly gain some serious traction. We also would have liked to have had some more choices for food to eat on the spot, especially with the Word of Mouth stand having sold everything before the end of the event.
Overall: The Clark Park Farmer’s Market is an inviting destination and though it’s not loaded with vendors, you can leave with some fresh, handmade, and thoughtfully grown food. King Coffee, which also operates a Mill Avenue shop, offers rich coffee and teas in flavors like jasmine, and lavender Earl Grey that make sitting and soaking up the atmosphere an easy choice.
Editor's Note: This post has been updated from its original version.