Eating the World

Roadrunner Park Farmers Market: Bring Your Dog, There's Packaged Fruits and Trail Mix, Plus Citrus Galore

The Market: The Roadrunner Park Farmers Market is a weekly slice of American suburbia right here in north Phoenix. As early as the sun rises, youth baseball teams are rounding the bases and girls' soccer teams are busy at practice. Later on families sit down to picnic tables for lunch, or walk around the pond, or play frisbee with their pups. The market has a strong pulse in at the south side of the park.

The Parking: It's a hassle, but only if you try and enter the park the same way everyone does -- by making a right on 34th Street (a snake of a parking lot) after traveling west on Cactus Rd. Instead, try taking 36th Street north, and if you don't find parking along the street, circle the park and enter 34th Street from the other side.

The Vendors: Lined up in a long row, navigating this market and visiting its vendors is made easy - just walk in straight line until something catches your eye. Perhaps it will be some of their unique vendors, like AZ Fresh and their fantastically large collection of snacks made from fruit and produce (chunks of pineapple, papaya, cherries, or savory snacks of trail mix, wasabi peas, and gallon ziplocks of pistachios). Similarly overwhelming in its numbers is Urban Survival and their dozens of pickled products, like vegetables or eggs, or expect a medley in a jar of lemon pepper carrot slices with red bell peppers.

The staples are all here, too.

Cami's farm has eggs that come in all sort of hues. Kenny's Grass Fed Beef has all your cuts from a cow, and next door to them is Fish Hugger selling their recent catch. For bread, check out Great Harvest Bread Company. Not only are their loaves pre-sliced and, thus, sandwich friendly, but they've got some fun, sweet flavors in stock (think cinnamon chip or apple chunk).

The big produce stand at the park is One Windmill Farm (also present at the Gilbert Farmers Market on Saturday mornings). Throw in goat cheese and milk from Crow's Dairy, and hot perogies and sausages from Polish Goodies (who you'll see at the upcoming Polish Festival), and you'll notice a very well-rounded market.

The People: The people come in groups, many from neighborhoods surrounding the park, whether with family members or a set of friends. Often, they're also accompanied by dogs. We know dog walkers are nothing at new markets, but the park setting boosts canine attendance ten-fold.

Best Taste: The cheese and crackers from Rainbow Valley Farms are a treat, and they bring several kinds to try. There's nothing like orange slices on a warm morning, and San Tan Groves shows Arizona citrus off right. They're constantly cutting up slices of lemons, navels, Valencia oranges, blood oranges, Arizona sweets, and pink grapefruit.

What We'd Like To See: Almost everything is here at this market, but with the appetite that a morning in the park can work up, you'd think there would be more vendors serving up meals, aside from Polish Goodies and Gil's breakfast burritos.

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Shelby Moore