Local Bounty: The Market Basket
Four perfect holiday gift baskets from your favorite local farmers market vendors.
photos By: Caron Golden
Food lovers in San Diego know Catt White as the Market Maestra of the Little Italy Mercato, and the North Park and Pacific Beach farmers markets. In November she took on a new challenge—opening up a shop in Little Italy she’s calling the Market Basket.
“We’ve often gotten calls from people about items they’ve seen or bought at one of our farmers markets and had to have right then, between market days,” she says.
The sweet little yellow house at 519 W. Date, between India and Columbus, had been boarded up for years and used for storage. White rented it and hired Orbit Builders to restore it. They uncovered a gem in the rough with a high ceiling, wood floors, and a homey front porch—perfect for opening up a cooperative shop featuring artisan farmers market vendor products. And, it also includes the only pet shop in the neighborhood—Natural Pet.
“We opened it as a pop-up shop but it’s grown in popularity so quickly that we’re thinking of tweaking the mix, maybe adding some farm-fresh items in the New Year, and keeping it open year round,” White adds. So stay tuned. The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 to 7 and Sunday from 10 to 2.
At the risk of leaving folks out, here are just some of the vendors you’ll find: Salt Farm, Salty Sisters, Café Virtuoso, Cookies by Craig, She Sells Sea Salts, Just Spice, and Caxao Chocolates. And, for the holidays, it’s certainly worth a visit to select premade baskets or customize gift baskets filled with their products (the gift baskets cost the price of the goods plus $10 for the packaging—basket, excelsior, ribbon, and shrink wrap). Here are some I think are perfect holiday gifts for food lovers:
The Salty Basket
Sugar and spice and everything nice leaves out the pleasures of salt, but not in this basket. Here is a collection of savory and sweet treats around the theme of salt: Salty Sisters’ toffee and nuts, Praline Patisserie’s Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce, She Sells Sea Salts “Salty Dog,” Salt Farm’s Chipotle Salt, and Sustainable Pantry’s Gluten-Free Brownie Mix—just top with a favorite salt for a fully enjoyable taste experience. Plus, a couple of pretty spoons from Just Spice and a dog cookie from Natural Pet since your best bud doesn’t want to be left out. $72.50
The Breakfast Basket
The recipient of this basket will enjoy a canister of Café Virtuoso’s Yerba Mate tea, Sustainable Pantry’s Gluten-Free Pancake Mix, Just Spice’s Espresso Sugar, and Mikolich Family Honey. $36.50
Just Spice and Caxao Chocolates Boxes
Both of these vendors have their own gift baskets available. For Just Spice, you can choose from a collection of spices and teas to create your own basket. Four jars cost $32 and six jars cost $42. Caxao Chocolates offers an $85 gift package chock full of sweets, including several candy bars, caramels, and Caxao’s chocolaty take on “rice crispy treats.”