Best Saturday Farmers Market 2012 | Old Town Scottsdale's Saturday Market | Food & Drink | Phoenix

No Saturday is complete without a trip to this upscale market for a little breakfast and a whole lot of shopping. Only the best of the farmers market circuit (and a few that sell at this market exclusively) come out to sell their goods every Saturday in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. Here you can find an extensive roster of top-of-the-line vendors showcasing their exotic fruits, colorful veggies, decadent sweets, and classy crafts to the picky Scottsdale crowd. Look for favorites like Essence Bakery's flaky croissants, locally made goat milk cheese from Crow's Dairy, and even fresh seafood from Alaskan Pride. And don't forget your pooch! Fido is welcome at this dog-friendly market, and he'll probably score a treat or two from the market's puppy-lovin' vendors.

Start off your lazy Sunday with a trip to Ahwatukee's favorite market. For more than seven years, farmers, chefs, bakers, artists, and crafters have been bringing their goods to the parking lot of Ahwatukee's community center. Here you can find everything from locally grown flowers, soft-baked breads, fresh seafood, grass-fed beef, and a whole bunch of pretty produce from a variety of local growers. Don't bother stopping for breakfast before you go — with more than 10 food vendors on any given Sunday, there's something for everyone and you're not going to want to miss out on the offerings.

Venture outside while the sun is still out during our summer months? Oh, hell, no. Thankfully, one of Phoenix's biggest and best year-round farmers markets takes place every Wednesday during the slightly cooler and shadier evening hours. Every week for the past seven years, produce vendors, bakers, cupcake makers, jam peddlers, jewelry creators, and more come out to sell their goods from 4 to 6 p.m. And don't worry about dinner — food trucks like Hey Joe! and Torched Goodness park their mobile kitchens at the market for your dinnertime enjoyment.

In our sea of concrete, parking garages, and strip malls, it's nice to know that once a week, we can escape to a park to enjoy the sunshine and pick up our weekly ration of locally grown produce and handcrafted goods. For more than 22 years, this North Phoenix market has been attracting folks looking to purchase everything from plants for their own gardens to fresh picked veggies grown by their neighbors. You can also find delicious handmade goat cheese from Crow's Dairy Farm, healthy greens from Southwest Herbs, and Saturday market eats from Gina's Homemade. And don't leave your pooch at home — since the market takes place in a park, he's more than welcome to join in on the fun.

Sprouts Farmers Market is celebrating its 10th year, and there's good reason why this Arizona-based grocery chain has lasted a whole decade and successfully expanded into California, Colorado, and Texas. Sprouts combines the benefits of a small, charming health food boutique with the variety and convenience of a large grocery store, making it possible to do the whole week's shopping under one roof. There are fresh breads, quality meats and cheeses, specialty foods like agave syrup and gluten-free pasta, and bulk goods including cereals, dried fruits, and spices. And unlike its big-name competitors, you won't have to leave your whole paycheck at the checkout register — even though Sprouts' produce is just as fresh and the food consistently top-quality. Thanks to Sprouts, Valley residents can whip up healthy gourmet meals at home while remaining within budget, and that's no small feat.

Big-box grocery stores devote about three feet of shelf space to spices, crammed with name-brand jars full of bland powders that may not be so fresh. To get specially sourced, carefully curated spices, there's always the Internet. But if you want to skip the shipping fee and, more importantly, inhale the aroma of your prized picks before you commit to putting them in your food, there's nothing like a trip to Penzey's. Not only is a specialty spice shop a great place for locating hard-to-find treasures, like mahlab and black cumin, but it's also useful for stocking up on quality pantry staples, like cinnamon, mixed peppercorns, Italian seasoning, and paprika. But be careful: What you thought would be a quick errand can easily turn into a half-hour of wandering around gaining culinary inspiration.

Baiz Market isn't just the best Mediterranean market in Phoenix — it's one of the most unique markets in the entire Phoenix area, and it's especially appealing to those with a taste for imported and ethnic foods. The store specializes in Middle Eastern as well as Mediterranean foods and caters to immigrants from countless countries. One side of a long aisle is devoted to spices of all kinds, including many varieties of cardamom, caraway seeds, chili peppers, cumin, fenugreek, mace, paprika, and turmeric. The same can be said for coffee, tea, beans, couscous, and oils. Don't miss the bakery in the back, which makes fresh pita, tennour, Markouk, and sammoun breads daily. The smell of delectable pastries such as baklava will lead you in the right direction. The butcher and deli round out the market's offerings (not counting the restaurant, Al Hana) with fresh beef, lamb, goat, chicken, and cheeses.


Colorful parrot fish? Check. Purple yams? Check. Asian stink fruit? Check. Whatever you're looking for in the way of exotic Asian goods, Mekong's got it. The Vietnamese market has one of the most beautiful displays of fish in the Valley, plus loads of exotic produce, and the shelves are stocked high with various fish oils, spices, dried snacks, and canned goods from coffees to sweet milks. The supermarket also has an extensive frozen food selection that you may need a translator to navigate, and next door you'll find a small Chinese bakery that produces delicious meaty steamed buns and flaky pastries. The best part of this market is the super-low prices – everything starts off cheap and then they give you 10 percent off at the register. Score!

If you're looking for all-natural hormone-free meat, then look no further than this old-fashioned butcher shop. The Meat Shop brings in fresh pork from its farm in Palo Verde and sources its fresh chickens from Ridgeview Farms in Paulden. The shop's grass-fed beef is brought in from Colorado's Black Mountain Cattle Co. and aged 14 days before it's handed over to you in rib-eye form. And the bacon — it's the best in town. So good that it practically flies out of the case. Call in your bacon order ahead of time to make sure you don't miss out!

There's making a cake (grab a box of store mix and a tub of frosting) and then there's making a cake. If you've ever wanted to try your hand at making one of those as-seen-on-TV fabulous cakes, ABC Baking should be your very first stop. Offering everything from decorating classes to get you started on your masterpiece to the perfect-size cake box in which to wrap things up, ABC has anything and everything you will ever need to get your bake on. Shelves are stocked full of edible cupcake decorations, delicious cake filling and frosting, every size cake pan imaginable, and hard-to-find baking staples like Fluid Flex, Sweetex, and high-quality Dutch-processed cocoa powder. It's a baker's heaven!

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