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Fresh eggs and produce from the San Pedro Farmers Market at Little Italy. (photo: San Pedro Farmers Market at Little Italy Facebook page)

The San Pedro Farmers Market at Little Italy has fast become a weekly stop for many San Pedrans. The market pops up every Friday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in Pepper Tree Plaza at the San Pedro City Hall. You can pick up your essential fruits and veggies from local small family farms, as well as a number of community farms here in San Pedro.

This is more than a farmers market. It is quickly becoming a place to educate future generations by connecting kids to where real food comes from. For example, POLA High School has a program that teaches kids to grow food themselves, and the market provides a venue to sell what they grow. Feed and Be Fed at the Garden Church on 6th Street does the same in terms of educating the community in urban farming and making healthy foods more accessible to all.

Most people come by to pick up eggs, fresh greens, and in-season local produce. They are pleasantly surprised to find craft beer, baked goods, hot food, artisanal goods, local artists and crafters, and textiles. With over 20 vendors and growing, it’s nice to go down on my lunch hour to grab pupusas and tamales and then people watch, waiting for old friends to walk by. Trying to recognize folks behind masks is a fun game filled with hits and misses. Either way, it’s great to be out talking to people face to face from a safe distance.

Many local businesses get their start at farmers markets because of the low cost of set up and the availability of foot traffic for folks to try new things. From craft beer to baked goods and from art pieces to t-shirts, there is always something new to discover at the market. Buying “just because” or “I was thinking of you” gifts for friends and family is a great way to send them a “hug” until we are able to actually hug again. Small local vendors provide those unique items you can’t find on Amazon.

Many of these shops develop a following that allows these small family businesses to grow and expand. I see young folks learning about business and commerce at the side of family members. Keep an eye on these kids, because they will be the next shop owners, business leaders, and employers of the future.

The market now accepts EBT, which allows folks access to good nutrition that they may not otherwise have. You can also order a “Farm Box” filled with eggs, oranges, strawberries, lettuce, kale, and carrots for $30. The eggs are from free-range chickens, the fruits and veggies are pesticide-free, and they all come from local family farms. You can order these online at venaver.org/farm-box.

There are several local charities who distribute canned and non-perishable dry goods to folks in need. The market has created options for these organizations to add fresh food to their outreach by a number of methods. There are gift cards available for purchase that allow folks to shop at any booth in the market, and like I mentioned before, there are ready-made farm boxes. 

These can be delivered in San Pedro for distribution with other supplies or as a pre-ordered package for people to come pick up on Fridays.

The One San Pedro Collaborative has made urban farming an important component in the redevelopment of Rancho San Pedro. Residents will be able to connect with nature, see the fruits of their labor, and have the potential to participate in commerce at the farmers market. This is one of the best ways the market can fulfill the needs of our community while connecting folks to Mother Earth.

There are a couple of groups here in San Pedro that will come pick from your fruit trees or harvest from your gardens. There are opportunities for these groups to participate at the market as well. Connecting local San Pedrans in need with those who have abundance is a fantastic way for us to provide fresh and healthy nutrition.

Whether you are looking to support small local businesses, in search of pesticide-free, humanely grown fresh eggs and produce, or you want to take a break with me on a bench on a Friday, waiting for friends to pass by, the San Pedro Farmers Market at Little Italy is how we stay connected with the earth and each other. See you Friday. 

For more details, visit SanPedroChamber.com. spt

Lee Williams

Lee Williams is board chair of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce and leads The Williams Group at Keller Williams PV Realty.

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