My family and I adore the Saturday Grand Lake Farmers Market year-round. Getting into the rhythm of eating seasonally can be fun for the whole family, plus they have many kid-friendly touches.
There are some excellent farmers markets in the East Bay, and the Grand Lake Farmers Market happens to be one of our favorites. With over 40 local farmers, 30 specialty food purveyors and a variety of local artisans, not only can we get our produce shopping done for the week, but we can also entertain the little ones well into the afternoon.
Pro tip: Plan to arrive at the farmers market around 9am to get good parking. You can can find street parking, pay to park at the lot next to the market or park at Trader Joes.
We like to leisurely stroll through, shop and most importantly, TASTE, all the seasonal produce the farmers have to offer.
Many of the farmers will have arrived early, sliced and displayed samples of their produce to taste. Even picky eaters can find something new to nibble. Either way, take this opportunity to introduce:
- new smells
- fruits/veggies at their peak flavor
- completely new, or heirloom varieties of produce
Kid-friendly features of Grand Lake Farmers Market
During busy summer weekends, sometimes there will be extra kiddo entertainment such as bounce houses, a face painter and/or a balloon artist. Most weekends, there is also music, cornhole and children chairs near the food tents. It is also so close to many other fun family activities like the library and playground.
There are fountains here, that had not been operating for over a year, until a few weeks ago. There is plenty of shade to be found by trees, umbrellas and tents. Foot traffic picks up around 10am on good weather days. The market can get crowded, so keeping track of multiple kids can sometimes be challenging if you're traveling solo.
Around 10 am, we usually make our way over to the Lakeshore Library for family story time starting at 10:30 am. It's about a half hour of stories and songs. Stroller parking is outside the library. Arrive on time for a good seat.
After a library visit, it's choose your own adventure time!
- Super adventure: continue walking down Grand Ave for a visit to Children's Fairyland
- Local adventure: Play at Astro Park playground and bring a blanket for a picnic on the Eastshore Park lawn.
- More food adventure: head back past the farmers market and explore everything the Lakeshore area has to offer, including my favorite bakery Arizmendi.
- Sports adventure: register for Soccer Shots, and watch your kids play soccer on the Splash Pad grassy area adjacent to the farmers market
- Lake Merritt adventure: bring along bikes and scooters for a paved ride around the lake
What to bring:
- Hats & sunscreen
- Cash for farmers
- Grocery bags
- Water bottles
Pro tip: Public bathrooms around this area are very limited, if you need a restroom, there's one at Trader Joes and another at Arizmendi.
Pair your farmers market haul with a kids cooking class in the East Bay and you're seriously on your way to cooking farm-to-table in your very own kitchen, and an ongoing edible education!
Plan your visit to Grand Lake farmers market, Oakland
The Grand Lake Farmers Market is located on the corner of Grand Ave and Lake Park Ave. every Saturday, rain or shine.
[All photos by Julia Gidwani]