Weekly farmers market crops up at the District at Tustin Legacy

An assortment of fresh produce featured at the District at Tustin Legacy’s new farmers market.
(Sarah Mosqueda)

On April 30, families of shoppers perused heirloom carrots, fresh baked bread and handmade pasta at the District at Tustin Legacy’s new farmers market.

The market launched last month and will take place each Sunday at the District in the parking lot near PetSmart from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The District at Tustin Legacy’s farmers market.
The District at Tustin Legacy’s new farmers market will feature nearly two dozen local farmers and food artisans each Sunday.
(Sarah Mosqueda)

The market features over two dozen local farmers offering an array of organic fruits and vegetables, sold by the farmers who grew them.

“You can come to a farmers market, and these people that are representing the products that you buy there, the produce and fruit in particular, they grow that product themselves,” said market manager Jackson Spears. “They are a wealth of information. They can tell you the benefits of that product, when it was grown, why it is good for you, and I don’t think you can get that at any grocery store.”

Sunday’s market included Gaytan Family Farms, based in the high desert, with fresh cauliflower, celery, carrots and more, as well as Chavez Farms from San Bernardino County offering chard, kale, onions and radishes.

Other participating farms included Jeronimo’s Farm, GB Farms, Fabricio Bonita Farms and Castianos Farms.

Chavez Farms booth at the farmers market.
Produce from local Southern California farmers, like Chavez Farms, will be available each Sunday.
(Sarah Mosqueda)

“There is a lot of times that you go to a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, and while I am not questioning the quality of the product, there is not a lot of information there,” said Spears. “We just have this assumed perspective that if we go there, we are getting organic materials. That isn’t necessarily the case.”

Besides produce, prepared foods are available from vendors like Honey Queen baklava, Aca Pico Hot Sauce and Butter Crumbs Bake Shop.

“I specialize in cookies and pies,” said Butter Crumbs owner Amy Szyarto. “All the classics, nothing fancy, just want to make sure they taste great.”

Hand pies with roasted strawberries and nostalgic peanut butter cookies with the classic crisscross top were among Szyarto’s offerings April 30, and by the market’s end she had sold out of her more popular baked goods.

Berries at District at Tustin Legacy farmers market.
Organic fruit including blackberries, blueberries and raspberries at the District at Tustin Legacy’s new farmers market.
(Sarah Mosqueda)

“I did sell out of my sea salt chocolate chip,” Szyarto said. “Those are always the crowd pleaser.”

Szyarto is just a few weeks away from opening a retail shop at Mission Viejo’s Kaleidoscope on May 19. The market is a good way for vendors to build a following, like Ube Bread Box, a vendor Spears said has been popular since the market opened.

Ube Bread Box is known for its ube pandesal, a traditional pillowy Filipino bread roll baked in a popular ube flavor. Ube means tuber in Tagalog.

“We do Filipino bread rolls with different fillings,” said Ube Bread Box owner Jezra Roque. “The color is very vibrant, because ube is purple and it catches your attention.”

The “king size” rolls are larger than traditional rolls, Roque said, with fillings like nutella, cream cheese and ube halaya, a jam made from mashed ube and sweetened with condensed milk.

Heirloom carrots at the farmers market at the District at Tustin Legacy.
Heirloom carrots are among the organic fruits and vegetables at the farmers market at the District at Tustin Legacy.
(Sarah Mosqueda)

Roughly 45 vendors participated in the recent market, a number Spears said he would like to see grow as the market gains traction. Vendors will rotate in and out, and shoppers can look forward to some new vendors each Sunday.

“I think we are going to have surprises for people every week,” said Spears. “Hopefully we grow the market to the community’s standards.”