If you're trekking up the 101 to Ventura anytime soon for the last-of-summer surfing, fishing or general beach lounging, one of the best places to donate a few dollars to the local economy in thanks on your way out of town is at A & F Country Market, a roadside market stocked with locally-grown produce (Ventura County farmers grossed $515 million last year on strawberries alone).
The market is run by brothers Anthony and Frank Carranco (Anthony was formerly a produce manager for Von's). This time of year you'll find the wooden bins filled with peaches and nectarines, white corn, and crates of Santa Claus, Juan canary, and other melon varieties. There's even a table out front with free past-their prime produce -- bananas nearing their bread days, or maybe a few tomatoes that are more than ready to be sauced.
A & F is literally just off the 101, so everything inside the barn-like space is a bit dusty from the big rigs rolling by outside. But we think that adds local charm to the dozens of honeys from Ann and Red Bennett in nearby Fillmore (including the hard to find molasses-like avocado honey), spicy dips from Salsa de Mi Tia in Agoura Hills, and jars of herb-packed pickled cucumbers from Uncle Tim's Pickles, a small Ventura manufacturer. Or perhaps today you need a jar of bee pollen? A & F has that, too. Get a photo tour after the jump.
A & F Country Market, 4550 Olivas Park Dr., Ventura. Open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (except major holidays). Call (805) 644-5470 for a list of in-stock produce.