Farmer’s markets have been a part of San Luis Obispo culture for generations. Known for its fresh produce, the San Luis Obispo Thursday night market is one of the most treasured events on the Central Coast, loved by locals and visitors alike. Unfortunately, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the beloved market has been suspended since March 12, 2020.
Farmers markets in SLO give people the opportunity to come together to eat and shop. Despite the temporary closure of the highly popular Thursday night downtown SLO farmer’s market, thirteen markets remain open in San Luis Obispo county.
One of the most popular farmer’s markets in the San Luis Obispo area is the Saturday morning market. It is located in the World Market parking lot on Madonna Road and remains open during the pandemic. It is even described as the “biggest little market in SLO” by the SLO County Farmers’ Market Association.
Early Saturday morning, it is amusing to watch a simple parking lot be slowly overtaken by white, green, and red pop-up tents. An hour later, the market is bustling with locals, picking out the freshest strawberries and the ripest avocados.
Although the variety of produce available at the Saturday market is enjoyable, it did not have the same feel as the Thursday night ordeal. A very large part of my freshman year was going downtown with friends on Thursday nights, eating and shopping for produce. The Thursday night market gives visitors a sense of community and it was wonderful to experience after first moving to San Luis Obispo.
Regardless, for all of those missing the Thursday night market, the Saturday morning market is still a treat. It’s busy and bustling with farmers and shoppers early in the morning, and it will definitely leave you satisfied if you’re missing the life of the Thursday night farmer’s market.
Additionally, there is the Morro Bay Thursday afternoon market, which is a short 15 to 20 minute drive from San Luis Obispo. Since, the only currently open market in San Luis Obispo is the Saturday market, the Morro Bay market located on Main Street is well worth the drive.
The market smells of the ocean as farmers sell fresh produce and homemade goods. Morro Bay is quite a small town and seeing all of the locals come together at the market reminded me of the sense of community felt at the Thursday night market.
I had felt as if I found a hidden gem! No one had ever mentioned the Morro Bay market, but I absolutely loved coming down to the bay and attending a market right next to the ocean. It was definitely an afternoon well spent.
There is also the Morro Bay market also held on Saturday afternoons in a different location.
During times of economic uncertainty, it is important to support local farmers and vendors. Until the Thursday night market re-opens, the Morro Bay market and the SLO Saturday Market are worth a visit and are the closest to San Luis Obispo.
There are also quite a few other markets currently operating in the Central Coast, and locations and schedules of all currently operating farmer’s markets in San Luis Obispo county can be found here.