Lick the Plate

A talk with Encinitas Farmers Market manager

Encinitas Farmers market Manager Carris Rhodes with some of the farm fresh produce at the market. Photo by David Boylan
I had the pleasure of meeting Carris Rhodes a few years back when she approached me about powering Encinitas events with a mobile solar station that belongs to a client of mine. It was a perfect fit for all parties and I was struck by her sense of not only doing the right thing for the environment, but her business savvy in pulling events together that not only promoted sustainability, but showed it in action.Carris has always worn a lot of hats, and one of her current roles is that of manager of the Wednesday Farmers Market in downtown Encinitas, which is celebrating its one-year anniversary this week. Here are some highlights from a recent conversation.

Lick the Plate: You grew up in Encinitas and have already played a major role in a lot of programs and initiatives that have promoted sustainability. Tell me about some of those and when did this passion for the environment take shape?

Carris Rhodes: I have always loved being part of my community wherever I have lived, especially in Encinitas. I believe that our community is beautiful because our environment in beautiful After moving home from college I decided that I wanted to focus my attention on building a wonderful community here in Encinitas as well as raising environmental awareness. Through my role at DEMA as well as through my own personal volunteer work I was able to serve as an environmental commissioner, participate in Encinitas Environment Day, initiate DEMA’s environmental film series and festival and of course help initiate the first Downtown Encinitas Farmers Market in 10 years.

LTP: You are one of those people who walk the talk when it comes to incorporating sustainability into your daily life. What are some basic things people can do that can make a difference?

CR: As a rule of thumb I always try to bike if it is a trip less than five miles. The majority of car trips are for errands less than five miles from home. Not only does this remove carbon from the atmosphere but it gets people outside and connecting to their community. Of course when it comes to food I firmly believe in trying to eat as local as possible. Of course we have our crazy exceptions — wine from Italy, or coconut oil, even certain grains and seeds are always imported. I try my best to make sure I know where my food is coming from and the best way to do that is to buy directly from a farmer at a farmers market.

LTP: How did the Wednesday Farmers Market come to be?

CR: Downtown Encinitas had a farmers market over 10 years ago and it was a huge hit. Unfortunately they had to move the market to the Moonlight Beach parking lot and it died. Through my position as program assistant at DEMA I did the research and permit work to get this market started again and provide a mid-week option for those who would like to stock their fridge with farm fresh produce all week. It was designed in a specific way so that it complimented the Sunday Farmers Market in Leucadia. It is a wonderful addition to the atmosphere in Downtown Encinitas and provides the community with another option for local produce.

LTP: It’s a beautiful location and you have a great mix of vendors. Give me a taste for what’s going on at the market.

CR: Right now the farmers are in full swing. There are tons of berries and amazing varieties of citrus right now. Also amazing fuerte avocados that I never thought I liked until I had a carefully grown one from the farmers market. We have a great selection of lettuces right now as well, including red romaine, butter lettuce, and a few different types of kale.

LTP:I am a big fan of the rotisserie chicken and ribs truck. What other meals-to-go are available?

CR: We have a vendor who sells organic quiche and other organic prepared dishes. I love India Express and their stuffed pepper and homemade cheeses are to die for. I am also a big fan of the green fix smoothie, it is not technically a meal but you can get a larger jug (at a great price) and have it for the rest of the week as a healthy snack.

LTP: You are expanding your hours soon? When is that happening?

CR: We will be changing the hours from 4 to 7 p.m. to 5 to 8 p.m. for the summer. The hours will change on May 29 and will last until after Labor Day. Check out more about the Encinitas Farmers Market and DEMA at