Inspiration from a Lifelong Vegetarian
– Writing and Photos

I fell in love today. Surprisingly the culprit was a Farmer’s Market. San Diego has 40 markets I am slowly exploring. The one that got to my heart was in Little Italy. This was three or four blocks of sunshiny heaven, where live jazz and Latin music played and people spilled out of nearby European-style cafes.Market

This was not love at first sight. Actually my initial impression was unappetizing – a table advertising live sea urchins. The brown stuff oozing out of the sliced-open urchins was their stomach linings. But not wanting to judge a book by its cover, I quickly carried on, and as a lifelong vegetarian, I was in hog heaven.

Lisko Imports impressed me with many refreshingly new types of hummus, all vegan, as were two pestos and two eggless pastas. One could stand there for hours dipping bread into samples of garlicky sundried tomatoes, basil garlic hummus and more. But then you wouldn’t have room to try Indian Fusion’s spinach bread, eggplant or tomato bhaji (dips) or many other herbivorous choices.

Roots is another must-see, serving tasty organic and local veggie wraps, and delightful drinks such as cucumber mint lemonade. Peace Pies feeds raw pies and pizzas to health-conscious folks, and they will even crack open coconuts so sweaty customers can cool off with the tropical water. Viva Pops sells organic popsicles consisting of local fruits and herbs. I tried strawberry basil, sweetened with agave syrup, which prevents sugar crashes.

There were sea salts from the Philippines, with eco-friendly Nipa palm and abaca (banana leaf) twine packaging. Nearby was hydroponic produce grown without soil, using 75 % less water than conventional farming. Many other tables overflowing with veggies and fruits reminded me that happiness is a warm farmer’s market.