The Soul of the Farmers Market

Article & Photo By: Tiffany Janay

The farmers market is built around farmers and is the initial drawing point for hundreds of market goers weekly.  The farmers are the heart and soul of these markets and support a greater cause with their prepared food, crafts, and art.  I visited a few markets recently and connected with a few vendors who invest a lot of themselves into their booths to send home quality products and benefit their customers; they’re doing everything with a centered purpose.

Bova Dosa
Traditionally from South India, dosas are a sourdough-like pancake made from rice and bean dough stuffed with flavored potatoes and served with handcrafted chutneys to use as a dip. At Bova Dosa, they add their own Southern California twist by adding avocado and soy-free, dairy-free cheese in some of their dosas. They also have sweet ones with natural peanut butter and agave.

Their food is spiritualized because they are practicing a form of Bhakti Yoga when creating it. They offer up their food to the highest source and give the food with love and devotion.  They believe that when they distribute food that has been offered in this manner, both the food and the activity of giving and receiving money are spiritualized.  People receive great benefits from eating it. People that are really sensitive have expressed their experience of eating their food as that of feeling a vibration.

Coral, one of the owners, says, “The greatest thing is when you can do what you are doing for the highest purpose and the betterment for anyone who comes into contact with it, spreading the love that is already there. It’s as if you’re being nourished by the love of God.”  So when they say it is vegan soul food, they really mean it!

“You’re eating of this is a form of yoga and a form of union; that is the form of meditation you are practicing right now, so just open yourself up to receive what it is giving you.  The whole time I’m making it I’m deep in prayer thinking, ‘If you could feed God, what would you feed him?’ As I’m making this food, I’m thinking of the Beloved, and it’s like making it for the Supreme. When other people receive this food, the sensation is indescribable, but people feel it.”

“We put our love, heart and hopes for everybody into all the food we make.”  The food is also said to be medicinal; for example, their chutneys are medicinal because every ingredient in it is powerful. They crack open coconuts by hand and use over two pounds of ginger in one chutney along with whole seed spices such as fenugreek, mustard seeds, Dahl, and fresh curry leaves.  “We want to heal people and help them find their highest truth, and help them refocus on watering the roots instead of running around watering the leaves.  Go to the source; there’s not enough money or whatever to fulfill them, so it’s important to get centered.”

You can find Coral and Sage running Bova Dosa at the Imperial Beach Farmers Market every Friday, and more markets will be coming soon.  Go and treat yourself to a Dosa Love.

Umoja Vegan
“Umoja is a Swahili word that means unite and we are one people who have one thing in common.  I’m here to be a part of the people and to be one with them.”  These are the words of Thomas who comes from Kenya, Africa.  The method he uses to prepare his food originates from Africa, but he infuses it with a bit of San Diego by using avocado oil, which he believes is extremely beneficial.

He makes his foods because they’re sustainable, and he can feed many people with a small amount of food. He says that people who sell unhealthy food often lose their customers to ill health, or their doctors will tell them not to eat junk food anymore; at which point, they come and seek him out and say their doctors told them to eat his food.  “Our food will never break you.  Whatever you put in, you will never really lose.”

Everything he serves is vegan, which means that it contains no animal products or artificial flavors.  In Africa, the people originally stumbled upon a vegan type of lifestyle. The rich people were the only ones that could afford to eat meat and processed foods.  The poor people could only eat off of the land: the growing vegetation.  He carries that spirit with him to America.

Their food does not have any highs and there is never a catch most people expect when eating food, but people often find themselves craving it.  “When you eat a certain mineral your body is missing, a part of you recognizes it, and it’s not just about your taste buds, your body will crave it.”  Tuning in with one’s inner voice is essential.

Currently on their menu is millet, which is used in their food because it is easy to grow and it’s a gluten-free grain.  In his home, he used to eat millet often; it’s an ancient grain that was eaten by our ancestors for nourishment.  He also serves collard greens sautéed in avocado oil, black-eyed peas, and a corn cake.  Simple!  Their motto is: “Eat simple, so others can simply eat.”

You can find Thomas at the La Jolla Farmers Market every Sunday morning.

Smit Orchards
At Smit, they know their smit about apples.  I spoke with Matt who gave me a thorough explanation on the growing process of apples and how to create different flavors.  He was very scientific in his explanation and provided me with straight facts.  Smit is a 165-acre orchard located up in Linden, California that has been in operation since 1969.  Although they grow other types of fruit, they are mainly an organic apple orchard. They use Granny Smith, Fuji’s, Pink Ladies, Galas, and Honey Crisps.

Matt explained that to get different types of apples, you have to graft it.  The apples typically come out tart, so grafting helps to create different tastes of apples.  Fuji’s are a great apple to use for grafting because it is a good, hardy stock and provides good transportation.  The region the apples are grown in determines the flavor you get.  On the East Coast, apples have a different flavor and size than the ones grown on the West Coast.  Apples adapt to their climate well and have changed accordingly over the years.

The old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” is a statement that still holds true even in current times.  Apples are a great source of fiber and many have found protection from certain cancers.  Others use apples in their daily diet to help relieve asthma, lower cholesterol, lose weight, treat diabetes, and boost memory.

Smit Orchards are currently at about 28 farmers markets every week, so chances are they’ll be at any one you attend.

Chocolate Rose
In San Diego, there is a major population of refugees from Africa. Chocolate Roses is owned by Chana and Kalif who are dedicating their lives to ensuring that those from their motherland feel welcome and have the tools they need to navigate through America. At the core of their business, they are teaching the youth about entrepreneurship, leadership, community-esteem, and neighborhood pride through the stimulation of creativity and overall joy.

They have a community garden of fresh-scented, organic roses.  The rose is known to strengthen your mind, body, and spirit; it aids in emotional processing, balance, and the ability to love.  The scent alone helps with decision-making and completing tasks by centering one’s focus.  They make body products from the essences of rose petals, so one can wear it all day and experience its aromatic benefits.

Their line of products includes hand-whipped shea butter, body oils, bath salts, scented candles, lip balms, and rose-scented incense. Their roses are bringing cultures together while providing youth with the opportunity to work together, trust each other, and have meaningful and compassionate exchanges. They teach the youth how to grow and harvest the medicinal herbs.

Although their name may imply that they have chocolate roses at their booth, they will quickly correct you by letting you know that they are the chocolate and the roses are in their products. Visit them at the La Jolla Market and Southeast Farmers Market.

For a look at what goes on during a typical day at the Farmers Market and to see more of my favorite vendors, log on to and and watch the video!

bringing you that fire! stay tune for more posts.

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