Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., stalls filled with fruits, vegetables, clothing, and other goods are erected across the street from Oakland’s Lake Merritt. The mornings here burst with sound, from the man who plays his drum kit in the park across the road to the voices of friends and families who have come to shop. A plethora of smells linger in the air, such as the alluring smell of the kettle corn stand that pops your kernels in front of you or the smell of the amazing street tacos coming from one of the many food trucks that grace the marketplace.
As someone who grew up less than a mile from the Grand Lake Farmers Market, I can say with only a small amount of bias that it truly is one of the best. One of my go-to stops as a child was a stand that sells honey. They sold it in jars and bottles but also in sticks, which were displayed in rainbow order and had dozens of flavors to choose from. My mother can never go to the farmers market without buying at least three containers of strawberries or cherries, both of which are so red and juicy looking that I can hardly blame her.
The real star of the Grand Lake Farmers Market, however, is the people. Oakland has a very strong sense of community, which I believe is highlighted every weekend when the farmers market rolls around. People gather by the lake with stereos to blast music, walk on a tightrope, and catch up with friends. Children play in the fountains while their parents browse the food trucks that offer a wide array of choices, from the Neapolitan pizzas at Lucia’s Berkeley to the dumplings at Tru Gourmet. The Grand Lake area comes alive with the Farmers Market, making it something everyone should experience at least once.