A beautiful setting and the frisson of free admission combine to give the Tuesday farmers market in Orange at Irvine Regional Park a little something extra. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays, tell the ranger at the front gate you’re here for the market and like magic—and without paying the usual $3 weekday-use tariff—the schlagbaum lifts to allow you entrance to what is not only the oldest regional park in Orange County, but the oldest in California: dedicated in 1897 after being donated by James Irvine.
I tooled over there from Trabuco Canyon this morning for eggs, and found nice mediums from Arellano Produce of Ontario. The market is small, but produce-wise covers all the bases. Even with just a handful of vendors, there are at least two selling eggs. And don’t miss winter citrus—multitudinous variety in colors so intense they look almost unreal. Seems like tangerines have been especially fine this year—or maybe I just really missed them over the no-tangerine months. This little market’s got something else I love to see, something it shares with all the best markets: Enthusiastic, loyal regulars. (Another lagniappe: Easy parking.)