Are you looking for the freshest produce ever? In this installment of Born and Raised we pay a visit to Oceanside Farmers Market! If you’ve never been, it takes place every Thursday morning from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. year-round. This is a fantastic place to visit if you’re in the market for fresh local produce, or maybe some flowers or a unique gift.  It’s true there is a great variety of fruits and veggies, but there’s so much more than just that! As we looked around the market, we came across a huge selection of gourmet goodies including artisan baked goods, organic honey, locally made salsa, dips and chips. We found olives and olive oil, spices, and some amazing cheeses! The really cool part is that finding free samples is easy!

But that’s just the food! While that is the main component of the Oceanside Farmers Market, there are also local vendors who you can see in crafts booths who are selling handmade jewelry, baskets, clothing, all-natural soaps and lotions, seashells, and even local photography!

If all of the sights and smells make you hungry, choose from several hot food booths for your lunch. On any given day you may be able to choose from panini sandwiches, gyros, crepes, ethnic foods, and others. One place that has a really delicious and fun menu is Arepex Grill !

The Arepex Grill is owned and operated by Allan Balestrini. He was “Born and Raised” in Venezuela and food has always been his passion. The Venezuelan Arepa is prepared on the grill, filled with a variety of options such as chicken, beef, ham, turkey, vegetables, and cheese, on a combination of Venezuelan unique taste. Also, this delicious dish can be eaten as a breakfast, lunch or dinner. A really neat thing about his food is that when you order an Arepa, Allan named every stuffing in a special way: brunette (beef), blondie (chicken), veggie (zucchini, tomato, & cheese), wild (beef, cheese, & avocado), Angel (chicken, cheese, and avocado), crazy ham (ham & cheese), crazy turkey (turkey & cheese).

We also visited JR Organics and talked to Stephen Clark who was “Born and Raised” in JR Organics! Because the family has been running the Rodriguez ranch since the 1950’s as a tomato and squash farm. We learned that they got into Organics Farming because the Rodriguez family was exposed to a lot of agriculture chemicals, which lead to a lot of sicknesses! Because of that Joe Rodriguez Jr decided that he was going to start growing crops organically. So they were growing organic, pesticide-free food before it was popular! Over the years they’ve added a lot of other items to their farm and are now a domestic and international supplier of culinary herbs.

I wish I could point my finger to one favorite thing, but I really liked the dragon fruit that I sampled with Heritage Family Farms, and as the name suggests, this is their Heritage, they were “Born and Raised” into it! This Farm is owned and operated by Juan Martinez. Juan is happy to show you how to prepare something (Like Dragon Fruit) and yeah, he’ll even let you try a sample if you’ve never tried it before. He has a passion for what he does, and it really shows when you talk to him and listen to him speak about his farm and his produce. When you visit their Facebook page you’ll see that this is a true family operation. They sell what they grow!

As I write this, I can’t help but think about how much better we do in life, in business, our work, in our relationships if we can think about what we’re passionate about and apply our energy to that. Besides a great experience at the Oceanside Farmers Market, I learned something really important from Stephen Clark, Allan Balestrini, and Juan Martinez. When you do what you love, and what you were Born and Raised to do, you never work a day in your life. How awesome is that?