Long-time and new vendors enjoy Ocean Beach Farmers Market
by JONATHAN LO
Published - 05/17/17 - 01:28 PM | 2188 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Matthew McCreight of Smit Farms, which sells organic fruit, nuts, apple cider, and honey, all of which it grows on its own local farms. / PHOTO BY JONATHAN LO
Matthew McCreight of Smit Farms, which sells organic fruit, nuts, apple cider, and honey, all of which it grows on its own local farms. / PHOTO BY JONATHAN LO
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The Ocean Beach Farmers Market is home to around 100 different vendors. Those booths sell myriad of items from prepared food to veggies and mixtures to crafts. In the spirit of the upcoming 25th anniversary celebration of the Farmers Market, the Peninsula Beacon highlights five different vendors and their products.

Smit Farms

Matthew McCreight has worked for Smit Farms since 2005. Smit Farms sells organic fruit, nuts, apple cider, and honey, all of which it grows on its own local farms. Its current flagship product is its apples; in the summer, nectarines and peaches become the craze. In a few weeks, cherries and blueberries come in season so expect them to pop up in the Smit Farms’ stall.

McCreight has been in the Ocean Beach area for two decades and he really likes the small-town vibe; everyone knows each other and welcome outsiders with open arms, truly a perfect melting pot.

He enjoys seeing the faces of regular customers and passersby; and the friendliness among the crowd generates an energetic atmosphere that envelops the Farmers Market.

McCreight himself is a jovial fellow, so for a nice conversation and smiles all around, Smit Farms is definitely the place to be.

Gilbert and Lee Farms

Located next to Smit Farms sits Gilbert and Lee Farms, which sells veggies, fruits, and flowers. Owner Gilbert Quintos is an honest and straightforward man. He has been working farmers markets for 30 years, but has only been at the Ocean Beach Farmers Market for four years.

“After doing this for so long, the OB Farmers Market is just like any other farmers market,” he said. However, Quintos quite enjoys the unique atmosphere and the amiable crowd of locals and visitors.

Constantly talking to customers and people browsing his wares, Quintos says he likes that there is little to no downtime – the constant stream of business is preferable to him. Religiously making sure his customers are satisfied and his tables are fully stocked, Quintos truly exemplifies a pure, hardworking farmer selling his merchandise.

Chrystal’s Pure Honey

Dale McBride is the owner and creator of Chrystal’s Pure Honey. He has been at the Ocean Beach Farmers Market for 17 years now, and is still going strong. With a fervor that belies his age, he sells a wide array of honeys out of his bright yellow booth.

Something fascinating about McBride is that he is an amateur beekeeper; in fact, all of the products he sells he makes on his own. To produce the different flavors, he moves his bees around to pollinate different flowers; McBride’s personal favorite flavor is a citrus blend – lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, and tangelo all mixed into one delicious concoction.

One special product McBride also makes is pollen; he gathers pollen, which falls off of bees’ legs as they walk over a mesh, and sells it as is. Subtly sweet, the pollen also packs a bundle of vitamins and minerals. McBride is passionate about honey and his wares, so checking out Chrystal’s Pure Honey is definitely going to be a sweet experience.

CJ’s Catering

Another long-time Farmers Market participant, CJ’s Catering and Specialty Bakery, is one of the bigger booths. Spanning an impressive six tables, CJ’s touts an array of pies, sweet breads, cookies, and quiches. CJ himself is friendly and open to his customers, knowing quite a few members of the community by name.

CJ’s Catering and Specialty Bakery has had a store down the road from the Farmers Market for 30 years and has been partnered with the market for more than 20 years, which is almost as long as the market has existed. CJ’s is most proud of its quiches, which are nationally renowned.

“People come in from all over the U.S. for our quiches – from New York, Texas, Florida, and when it gets hot, people drive in from Arizona,” CJ said proudly.

A Very Aunt Mary Italian Cookie Company

Finally we have a fresh face. A Very Aunt Mary Italian Cookie Company sits snugly at the west end of the Farmers Market, in close proximity to the music stage. No one would know this without asking: Mary DeFalco opened this booth with her husband just several weeks ago, on April 5, but they have the confidence of the seasoned booths around them.

Another piece of information that few people know is that DeFalco is legally blind. However, that does not affect her baking in any way. DeFalco sells Italian cookies and baked goods, all of which she makes herself, except the cannoli (DeFalco is working on making this herself in the future). Currently, they feature sesame cookies, glazed Italian cookies, lemon cookies, and the stand-in cannolis.

DeFalco is partial to the glazed Italian cookies, but the people seem to go crazy over her lemon cookies. She plans on switching up the schedule every few months, even dropping a small teaser for the future menu.

“All I’m going to tell you is that the next menu will have chocolate chip cookies, because everyone who’s had them loves them and I want to share them with OB in the future.” The greenhorn of the Ocean Beach Farmers Market is certainly no slacker and expect her to make a splash at Farmers Markets to come.

All of these vendors operate at the Ocean Beach Farmers Market year round and visiting them will be a unique experience. The 25th anniversary of the Ocean Beach Farmers Market is May 17; to join in on the celebration, head to Newport Avenue from 4 to 8 p.m.
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