The Market: Since the only farmers markets west of Peoria may very well be in California, we were happy to see the Peoria Farmers Market spring up in January -- one shouldn't have to travel too far to have access to organic fruits and vegetables.
The Parking: Located at the recently expanded Osuna Park, the perimeter is lined with free parking spaces.
The Vendors: There's enough diversity in this market to replace part of the weekly grocery store run -- though not enough to be picky. We've seen Circle Key Farms before, and in Peoria they covers all the bases for meat - pork that's ground and in a sausage casing or classic chops, grass-fed beef steaks and roasts, eggs for $5 per dozen and even select goat meat cuts. As for vegetables, look no further than Crooked Sky Farms, whom we love for their plumply organic veggies - last saturday the squashes were larger than footballs; the beets the size of baseballs. Anderson Farms operates on a smaller scale, so come early, because they offer a great selection.
For a small market, there were a few nice bakeries present. You can go to Euro Ladies Bakery for miniature loaves of their Irish soda or cranberry banana bread. The Bunnery (a bakery that can also be found at the Old Town Farmers Market in Scottsdale) had date and nut bars in addition to chocolate almond biscottis dolled up with pink ribbons. Prepared lunch is taken care of if you enjoy tamales from the Tamale Store or Polish cuisine from Polish Goodies.
The People: The old and young people of Peoria trickle through with smiles on their faces and, unlike most markets, without the company of their many pets.
Best Tastes: For such a small market, many of the booths were unusually generous. Ms. Becky's tasty treats had delicious apple pecan coffee cake, but we favored her mini apple pies. Tim's Fruits And Vegetables had samples of all of their grapefruits, from the familiar pink varietal to the super sweets (that, by grapefruit standard, live up to their name).
We enjoyed sampling five different types of micro-greens and sprouts from Pure Life Greens, but perhaps most of all, we liked the spicy salsa from Anderson Farms, made by hand using their own produce (tomato, garlic, serrano chiles, oregano and kosher salt). For something with a little more kick, Trucker V had sauces and salsa made with ghost chiles - a little goes a long way.
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What We'd Like To See: This market has more than enough room to expand, so we'd like to see it do just that, with the addition of more bread and grain vendors, as well as a few extra prepared options for breakfast and lunch.