New Farmers Market, in the Heart of Mission Viejo

It’s exciting when a farmers market opens in Orange County, bringing grower-direct produce to (what I imagine to be) heretofore undervegetabled locals. Next up is Mission Viejo, whose new market has a superstition-defying opening date, Friday the 13th—this Friday, Jan. 13. 

Destined for the busy parking lot shared by the city library and civic center near the corner of Marguerite and La Paz, the market’s hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Managed by city resident and retired Mission Viejo High School English teacher Verge Hagopian, the list of vendors includes some familiar names, including TJ’s Woodfire Pizza. I’ve written about TJ’s a couple of times in the blog and the magazine, most recently here. Hagopian also manages the Friday afternoon farmers market in Rancho Santa Margarita.

But about that busy lot… solved! Or, rather, pre-solved: The library doesn’t open until 1 p.m. on Friday, and Hagopian told me that the city vehicles normally present in the courtyard—utility trucks, police cars—will park elsewhere during market hours. He praised Mission Viejo’s support of his planning efforts—the city is arranging for an opening-day band and has plans for local chef and other demonstrations.

Assistant City Manager and Director of Public Works Keith Rattay says, “Mission Viejo has always been very community-oriented—the civic center and the library are really the heart of the city, and this is where the farmers market belongs.” The market is an outgrowth of Mission Viejo’s joining the Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) campaign, a statewide public-health initiative, according to Rattay. More to come for the city related to HEAL, including community gardens. (Read Mission Viejo’s farmers market mission statement here.)

The new Mission Viejo market brings to a whopping six the number of Friday farmers markets in O.C. The others are in Anaheim, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Laguna Hills (a favorite of mine I wrote about here), and the aforementioned Rancho Santa Margarita. (There are farmers markets every day of the week except Monday in Orange County—find yours with Orange Coast‘s updated, searchable farmers market guide.)

Mission Viejo Farmers Market, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays, 200 Civic Center, Mission Viejo

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