A Taste of OC: Exploring the Local Farmers Market


Clara Ferreira Lopes

Simon Hilton, owner of Simon International at Orange County Great Park Farmers Market, talks to customers about his various designs and styles of rings on March 27. The farmers market features items like jewelry and clothes in addition to food items.

Vibrant rows of fruits, vegetables, food trucks and handmade accessories grab the attention of lively groups of shoppers conversing with the vendors who make the market possible. For many, spring is the time to go outside and enjoy the warm weather; this weekly event right in our neighborhood is just the way to do so. 

A booth held by Simon International features rings with gemstones sourced from various Middle Eastern countries.

The Orange County Great Park Farmers Market invites customers to support local businesses and delicious farm-to-table food every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Because they can support small businesses and get trinkets in return, people like senior Elyse Dudley count farmers markets as their go-to Sunday activity. The market evokes nostalgic memories from her childhood.

“One of the more distant members of my family ran a stand and sold different products, and it was really cool to be able to try all the products they were selling in my community,” Dudley said. “I loved feeling that sense of community when I was walking around and being able to try different things and contribute to the different businesses in my community.”

The Great Park Farmers Market is also a way for shop owners to display their work and gain local support. Simon Hilton, owner of Simon International, sells handmade rings and pendant necklaces. Hilton’s shop-owning journey began as a result of passion and fate. 

Lin the beekeeper shares her honey with the farmers market as a way to provide an ethical source of food. “About 17 years ago I was becoming a master gardener and became interested in controlling my food source and that’s when I got bees,” Lin said.

“Somebody met me and said ‘Oh you’re smart; you can do this! Come run my company,’” Hilton said. “I ran it for a short while, then he said ‘I’ll tell you what, you can buy it from me,’ and that’s how it worked. I love being here. All the people are so nice and friendly.

In addition to jewelry and other handmade goods, the farmers market is filled with food: everything from fruits and food trucks to honey. Lin the Bee Lady has been a beekeeper for 17 years and sells honey as a passion.  

“When I was a freshman in high school, I got into agriculture,” Lin said. “I was becoming a master gardener and became interested in controlling my food source, and that’s when I got bees. It’s not high profit, but we do it out of passion and love, and you’ll notice, most of these farmers, that’s exactly how they are. They are really hard working.”