San Diego Public Market – You Should Go


I was *this close* to kickstartering the heck out of a really cool project. Thankfully, it doesn’t matter that I didn’t hear about the San Diego Public Market until it was too late to join in support and throw in my twenty bucks, because enough people did that they not only reached their goal of $92,244, they blew past it to the tune of $146K+.

Remarkable that a city that hasn’t been able to get behind this project well enough for about 13 years was able to pull that kind of money together in a few months.

Well, San Diego, it was worth the wait. Dale Steele and Catt White have put something really special together with the potential to bring not just Barrio Logan together but really and truly all of our little communities. I’m a big fan of our traveling outdoor Farmer’s Markets. I hit one every week. But we’ve been missing something some of our favorite bigger cities have – a marketplace that doesn’t move. A meeting place with that deeper sense of community you get when people can count on specific vendors to be there and their favorite tamale lady to have the sweetcorn variety with poblano on hand (SO GOOD). And let’s face it, when tourist season hits (and when is tourist season NOT hitting here in San Diego?) they’d like a place to go that has that local flare, top-notch quality produce and hand-made goods people look for around here. Now we have it – San Diego Public Market.

I asked Dale (above on the left) and didn’t-catch-his-last-name-Tom (above on the right, who seems to be an evangelist of some sort for the Public Market project), and man, if half the stuff they have planned comes to pass, this is one of the coolest and forward thinking projects to ever hit San Diego. Nurturing to the vendors and artists and inclusive of the neighborhood. Great use of time slots and surrounding space. Well managed resources. Always keeping the potential customers in mind, even down to a unique payment system where you don’t even need real dollars. Yeah. I know. But, it’s true.

You can go to the information desk and talk to Steve Reeb and he’ll use this little phone reader thing and load up a card for you and you can use it at the vendors like it’s cash. Who wants to carry around pesky, paper stuff anyway, I ask you.

So, go. That’s my advice. If you only read this far, that’s the nugget. But if you keep reading, you’ll be glad, because I have photos of things that start with the letter B like babies, a bovine and beets.

The Details:
Location: 1735 National Avenue San Diego 92113
Phone: 619-233-3901
When: Wednesdays and Sundays 9am-2pm
Website: Sandiegopublicmarket.com
Twitter: @SDPublicMarket

You can’t miss the market. It’s beautiful, orange exterior begs you to notice it. Yes, darling, I see you.

The market is housed in an old boiler factory. They painted over the original exterior and have no plans to change that. It’s pretty cool to see what it used to look like and what it is now at the same time.

We parked in an alley in the back where they have clear signs pointing the way.

We were met with beautiful hand woven crafts immediately. Oh, yes. I think this will do just fine.

The first thing you notice inside is that the ceiling hasn’t been changed. The pulleys and character of the building is still intact and if you’re like me, that makes you smile. The next thing you notice is that you left your purse in the car. Whoops. Go get your purse. (Don’t tell me what to do.)

Here is the reason we came to the market in the first place: Susan Myrland (on the left).

She’s my friend and today she was giving a tribute of sorts to one of her mentors Gloria Penner who has recently passed away.

Using the ArtBox-turned-radio platform, she gave a moving speech and dedicated the song One Day Like This by Elbow (oddly enchanting video here) to Ms. Penner. Oh, that Susan. I love her so.

Here’s the backside of that ArtBox-turned-radio, now called the Sound Revival, and is the brainchild of Mike Calway-Fagen, Keenan Hartsten and Justin Hudnall. Hi, guys.

On to the rest of the market, then.

See these soaps by Purity Apothecary? Organic and delicious smelling enough to eat, but don’t do that, probably.

See these recycled glasses from Bottlehood? Made from beer and liquor bottles someone got to drink the guts of the first time and now *you* get to use from now on. EVERYBODY wins.

See this baby? She’s tasting the delicious olive oil and balsamic vinegar that’s been aged, oh, EIGHTEEN YEARS. Yes, Erika Kirkland let her baby, Trudi, taste delicious rosemary oil and white balsamic vinegar that is 9 times her age. And that guy David Foster from The California Olive? He was encouraging them. Crazy. (It is seriously so delicious. You gotta go get some.)

And now we’ve come to The Tamale Lady.

It is a travesty I did not catch her name because now she will forever be known as simply The Tamale Lady. At least until next week when I go back to get the sweet corn tamale with pablano that I had last weekend. Do you see how many varieties she has? That is very many weeks you could go back and try a new flavor.

This is Jessica and her little girl, June. I have it on good authority they were fresh from a morning run and looking for a lemonade or other cooling beverage, of which there were many to be found.

When I happened on Cafe Virtuoso, I may have reverently whispered, Oh yes, my people and wept a little.

My husband, Joe, had a peanut butter cookie from Sweet Lydia’s of San Diego and swears it was the best he’s had in years. And he knows his peanut butter cookies.

If you live in San Diego, you’ve noticed the insurgence of food trucks this past year. San Diego Public Market had Miss Sushi San Diego with sushi chef Kate Murray on board.

And this is Cory and Molly Sturtevant about to eat their delicious rolls.

The entire time we were in the market, we were accompanied by the greatest background music – kind of jazzy, kind of bluesy. Turned out to be Alex Anderson on the upright bass with a friend on the keyboard. I would have loved to have included a link to their websites, but the information I had for them turned out to be wrong. Sorry guys.

And this is a cow. Why? Who cares. You don’t need a reason to have a cow.

There are so many more vendors to see with so many great things to show you. Come and see them, won’t you?

Joe and I will be back. I’m guessing it will be quite a regular habit with the two of us. Especially when they get the alternative weekly activity nights and artist spaces going. Watch a glass blower working? Yes, please. Rent out a space for a big party? Don’t mind if I do. Attend a free movie viewing on the side of the building? Definitely. I’ll be there. And so will most of the neighborhood.

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