If you travel down Carlton Hills Blvd on a random Wednesday afternoon, keep an eye out for the waving banner. Santee Farmer's Market: three little words that say it all.
Back in 2009, local resident Andrea Hankins knew that something was missing from Santee. Sure there were grocery stores, but they didn’t always support the local farmers.
What this city needed was a farmers market. It would be a place to sell quality local produce and goods, or for artists and crafters to advertise and sell their handiwork. A farmers market was a great idea, but no one wanted the responsibility; they all said it was too hot in East County.
Regardless of temperature, Andrea “… wanted Santee to have a market for the community to be able to eat health farm fresh produce and not have to drive a long distance with the rising cost of gas.” In February 2009 she took action. Since the city wouldn’t sponsor a farmers market, Andrea stepped up and became the sponsor and manager herself. The first Santee Farmer's Market opened April 8, 2009 in a dirt lot along Mission Gorge Rd. In 2013 they moved to their present location, 9608 Carlton Hills Blvd in the Pathways Center.
In four years time, the Santee Farmer's Market has gained a steady vendor base. Some vendors, like Valdivia farms, Ramona Grown farms, Sage Mountain Farm, San Diego Lavender and Following Seasons attend regularly, while others such as Jackie's Jams, Gayle’s Rum Cakes and Belen Artisan Bakers are more sporadic. Overall, there can be up to 44 vendor tables set up at the market.
Linda from San Diego Lavender began her journey in 2009. San Diego Lavender products are varied, ranging from hand lotion and massage oil to lip balm and shampoo. All of her products use Lavendula x intermedia, commonly called grosso lavender. It has a strong yet sweet smell and soothes many health complaints. The hand lotion absorbs readily and leaves no greasy residue behind since the oils penetrate deeply to where they serve the most benefit.
At Ramona Grown farms, Bob focuses his talents on produce such as tomatoes and avocadoes, while also maintaining an active bee farm. His honey is rich, sweet and healthy. Ramona Grown farms produces wildflower honey made from the local flowers of Ramona. This can include species such as avocado, sumac and buckwheat. Instead of using sugar for flavoring, support local beekeepers and try honey instead.
Linda, Bob and countless other small business owners and farmers can rely on a steady market for their products thanks to Andrea’s generosity. Each week they set up their tables to greet the lines of both new and recurring customers. Local residents have come to know the place to be every Wednesday afternoon and vendors have come to appreciate their business. High quality home grown produce, crafts, baked goods and herbal products are just some of the reasons to love the Santee Farmer's Market.
Wednesdays from 3-7 p.m. in spring and summer, or 3-6 p.m. in winter, come down to the corner of Carlton Hills and Mast Blvd and see for yourself this hidden jewel of Santee.