March 31, 2014

SoCo (South Coast Collection)" began in 2009 as an unassuming home design center, but has since grown into a south Orange County hotspot for design, style and gourmet foods. Located within SoCo is The OC Mix, which holds its own array of shops and eateries. Shoppers can visit over 20 home accessory stores/showrooms at SoCo and The OC Mix, stop by several fashion and design boutiques and eat at their 12+ unique and gourmet eateries. Many of the stores/showrooms also frequently host demonstrations and classes, which inspire and teach locals in a new way and bring an added element of creativity and art to the area.

Photo credit: South Coast Collection

But aside from all it boasts throughout the week, SoCo also holds an impressive farmers market every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. So impressive, in fact, that it was recently named one of the best Orange County farmers markets by OC Family and was featured nationally in the New York Times.

Photo credit: South Coast Collection

The SoCo farmers market offers local fresh fruits and vegetables, raw honey, fresh almonds and eggs, meats and poultry, and fresh cut flowers - among others. The weekly event is hosted by Sprouts of Promise Foundation, which is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting small farmers and healthy eating. The farmers that participate sell only certified California-grown agricultural products, so shopping at the SoCo farmers market supports California's own farmers!

Photo Credit: SoCo Farmers Market Facebook page

The Saturday farmers market is also a great place to bring the whole family, since they offer a "Kiddie Corner" that is specifically for little ones. Kids stay entertained as they participate in scavenger hunts, coloring and demonstrations from local farmers. Your family might even walk away a winner - each Saturday SoCo gives away a raffle box full of delicious, fresh foods from its market vendors.

You can follow the weekend fun by visiting the SoCo farmers market Facebook page." " 

Photo Credit: Amy Taylor and South Coast Collection

After you've perused the fresh local items for sale, head to one of the top-notch restaurants at SoCo and The OC Mix and fill up on gourmet, healthy food. My top choice? Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop, whose menu offers made-to-order salads, sandwiches/wraps and seasonal specials - all using local and organic ingredients. The indoor-outdoor atmosphere is pure SoCal - trendy, hip and earthy, and the food is amazing. Another must-try is Taco Maria; it began as a wildly popular OC food truck and now has a permanent residence at The OC Mix.

SoCo and The OC Mix are located off the 405 freeway in Costa Mesa on Hyland, between South Coast Drive and Sunflower Avenue.

3303-3323 Hyland Avenue

Costa Mesa, CA 92626