Every Saturday from 8 am - 2 pm you can explore the awe-inspiring Little Italy Mercato here in Little Italy. The Mercato offers a selection of farm produce, artisan foods, meat and eggs, plus crafts and plants at an excellent value. Currently reduced in size to maintain distancing, the market still features over 85 vendor tents each weekend stretching over four blocks of West Date Street. With this many options, why not buy the freshest produce from your local farmers? Here’s your ultimate Little Italy Mercato shopping guide – don’t forget to bring this with you next time you visit!
Fruits & Veggies
We can all agree that the best part about the Mercato is snagging locally grown fruits and veggies! Here, find fresh and delicious citrus, berries, brussels sprouts, avocados and more, depending on the current season. Jacy Farm offers a wide variety of fresh and dried apples, persimmons, jujubes and other fruit (located on Block 2 – Piazza), where you can also find almonds from Hopkins AG and tomatoes and strawberries from Rodney Kawano Farm. If you are looking for certified organic fruits and vegetables, check out J.R Organics (located on Block 1 - Kettner Blvd. entry). Stock up on fresh squeezed Blood Orange, Tangerine and other citrus juices at Polito Family Farm (Block 3 - State St entry).
Eggs, Meat and Dairy
Find your grocery essentials including poultry, meat and eggs at Da-Le Ranch (located on Block 3 – State St. entry) or Hilliker’s Egg Ranch (Block 1 - Kettner Blvd. entry). For non-dairy almond milk stop by Mulk (located on Block 3 – State St. entry), and find Greek Yogurt in a variety of flavors from Bonjour (Block 4 - Union St entry) and Yallatizer’s (Block 1 - Kettner entry)
Everybody loves cheese! For top quality imported cheeses, stop by Fromagerie & Cie (located on Block 1 - Kettner Blvd. entry). Choose from a variety of cheeses to make the most delicious charcuterie board. Double Batch (located on Block 2 – Piazza) has a wide variety of vegan cheeses that will wow your taste buds.
Bread & Oils
There is nothing better than fresh baked bread. Stop by Bread & Cie (located on Block 1 - Kettner Blvd. entry) for French-style breads and pastries. Bread Bar (located on Block 3 – State St. entry) also offers a wide array of fine artisanal scones, bread and croissants. Bread can be accompanied by anything really, but it’s best served with a delicious dipping oil. You can find a variety of options from Farmer’s Daughter (also on Block 3) They offer dipping oils, olive oils and vinegars.
You can’t leave the Mercato without fresh fish. Salmon Slinger (located on Block 2 – Piazza) brings you the freshest local catch and wild Alaskan Salmon every weekend. Dry Dock Fish (located on Block 3 – State St. entry) also offers just caught fish, fresh and house smoked. Find oysters, mussels and clams ready to shuck at Captain Jack’s in Block 4 (Union St entry).
There are plenty of options for you if you are vegan, including the obvious fruits and vegetables. Maya’s Cookies (located on Block 1 - Kettner Blvd. entry) sells the tastiest vegan cookies we have ever tried. For the best plant-based mayonnaise, check out Vayo (also Block 1). Kula Desserts (located on Block 2 – Piazza) is your go-to destination for vegan and gluten-free ice cream. For protein, find San Diego Tempeh for fresh soy-free tempeh (on Block 3, State St. entry).
Fresh Flowers & Plants
It’s always great to have a fresh bloom in your home. If you’re looking to brighten your space with flowers, be sure to stop at Maldonado Growers (located on Block 1 - Kettner Blvd. entry). From tulips to carnations to gomphrena to sunflowers, their flower offerings change with the seasons. You can also decorate any space with plants, so stop by Jessie’s Foliage (located on Block 4 - Union St. entry) for tropical plants and succulents. Flowers and plants are the best way to bring joy and happiness to every home.
Sweets & Snacks
Don’t miss these delectable snacks next time you are at the Mercato. It’s important to enjoy the sweeter things in life, so go ahead and try some artisanal candy. One of our favorites is the almond dark chocolate and milk chocolate toffee from Gary Gary Confectionery (located on Block 1 - Kettner Blvd. entry). Salsa and chips are a must have snack so be sure to stop by Ruth’s No. 5 Salsa (located on Block 2 – Piazza) for assorted salsas and chips. Find creamy, not your average hummus, at Majestic Garlic (located on Block 2 – Piazza). Delicious, soft cookies and brownies can be found at CAKED (located on Block 4 – Union St. entry), the same block hosts Alfajores Bakery featuring Basque cheesecake, alfajores and more.
Bath Body & Spirit
You deserve to treat yourself. If you want products to pamper your body, stop by Mandala Touch (located on Block 4 – Union St. entry) for eco-friendly, locally made natural soap and lotions.
Handcrafted Goods & Gifts
Find one-of-kind gifts for your family and friends at The Art of MVP (located on Block 4 – Union St. entry). They offer hand painted fine art & home goods, unique cutting boards, and gifts. Shop custom premium soy candles at Bella Vie (located on Block 4 – Union St. entry).
Prepared Food Vendors
While you’re filling your tote with organic fresh finds, the Mercato also has spots that offer prepared food to-go. Gourmet Tamales (located on Block 1 - Kettner Blvd. entry) is your go-to for handmade tamales, frozen and ready to steam at home. On the same block, visit Masala Cottage for naan, chutneys and samosas to take out. Sabor Piri Piri in Block 4 (Union St entry) has Broccoli Sweet Potato Curry and Spicy Chicken Stew to take out, or in meal kits ready to heat and eat in your own kitchen.
At the Little Italy Mercato, there is even something for your furry friend! Get them a variety of dog treats and bowties from 6 Dogs Treats (located on Block 2 – Piazza).
Thank you for continuing to shop local and supporting local farmers and foodmakers at the Little Italy Mercato. Before visiting, please make sure to check the @littleitalymercato Instagram for the most up-to-date information regarding vendors. Make sure to also abide by the Mercato rules – always wear your mask inside the Mercato, no eating or drinking while inside of the mercato, no large groups, and please leave your furry friend at home. For a full list of vendors please visit here.