Market 32 bills itself as a downtown farmer’s market that operates seven days a week—not once a week like the local street-side vendor gatherings in Little Italy, Hillcrest and other parts of town. Market 32 is an urban, brick-and-mortar fruit-and-vegetable store at the corner of 10th and Island, just blocks from Petco Park.
The store’s name comes from the original roadside stand built and operated by the Curtis family in Yuma, Arizona. Yes, more ’Zonies have invaded San Diego this summer, but this group is welcome to stay (just don’t drive 50 in the fast lane on the way to SeaWorld).
For now, Market 32 gets its citrus fruits—grapefruits, limes and lemons (some the size of grapefruits) from its Yuma farmland. A portion of the produce, including the leafy greens, comes in from Los Angeles. Owner Matt Amoia says that will change. “Our goal is to get local farmers involved, and to be a melting pot for the local community,” he says.
When I stopped by, Market 32 was manned by cousins Cole and Chad Curtis. They were friendly and gracious, and seemed to know many of their customers by name.
“We get a morning rush and a lunch rush, and people seem to come by after work for a tomato or something that will round out their dinner,” says Chad Curtis. “It’s locals from the condos right now, but it’s expanding.
Cole whipped up what has become the unexpected star on the Market 32 menu: an Acai Bowl. Acai berries are a Brazilian import noted for a high nutritional content. Market 32 mixes acai puree with strawberries, blueberries, bananas, pineapple, puts it over a bed of granola and dapples it with honey.
For $5.99, it’s a healthy meal unto itself. And if you’re worried about pronouncing acai (ah-SAH-ee), just order an “A-Bowl.”
Ron Donoho is a regular contributor to NBCSandiego.com and a contributing editor to sandiego.com. His Web site (sandiegoDTOWN.com) is dedicated to news, sports, culture, happy hours and all things downtown.