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Leucadia’s Farmers Market serves up produce, personality

ENCINITAS ⎯ If Sundays tend to get you down, postpone the end-of-weekend funk and stimulate the economy at the same time at the Leucadia’s Farmers Market at Paul Ecke Central Elementary School.
Open since June 26, 2005, the farmers market is the brainchild of Manager Ron LaChance, who thought it about time Leucadia had a market of its own. LaChance contacted the Leucadia 101 MainStreet Association and they wanted in. After four months of looking for a location, it seemed that the new Cottonwood Creek Park could be the ticket. Yet, only 25 stalls would be able to fit.
Word got out that Paul Ecke Central PTA was looking to host a farmers market and the two parties decided to work together. The collaboration has allowed the local community to give back to its kids, as 60 percent of all proceeds goes into the MainStreet Association and Paul Eke Central. With this direct support program in place, the Paul Eke Central PTA has purchased computers and added on a janitor, according to LaChance.
Certainly the cause is worthy, but what’s to keep the demand high at this market? For starters, Leucadia Farmers Market serves up greater Encinitas with certified organic produce. Seven of the 65 to 70 vendors are certified organic farmers, LaChance said.
Since the demand is there, LaChance said they have to get organic products. “In Leucadia, it is of the utmost importance (what with) yoga and surfers,” he said.
Eva Trethowan, of Trethowan Organic Farm, assured one her customers that the fruit in hand was picked last night at 7 p.m. Based out of Rainbow, Trethowan is willing to make the trek to Leucadia, as wholesaling from a small farm is not economical. “We did that for four years and almost had to sell,” Trethowan said. The farm’s fan base has only grown due to her presence in Leucadia. “We have some very devoted people here.”
Lorena Flores of a Vista nursery has been a plant educator and seller at the market since 2007. Buyers do not hesitate to drop by for flora advice, and Flores shoots back, “That’s easy” and rattles off watering and sunlight instructions along with advice on how to reap the benefits of plant reproduction.
In the same row as Flores is San Diego resident Dayna Murphy, maker of “eclectic bead jewelry for any occasion,” according to her business card. Her love of fresh water pearls, turquoise and abalone is translated into one-of-a-kind pieces. Murphy collects the gems at fairs that come into town and off of eBay and has been at it for eight years.
Also available for sale through Abalone Bay, Murphy’s company, are “boro” borosilicate glass beads. “They are handmade, one at a time, by artists melting glass rods with a torch. My favorite artists include Iris Bucholtz a local artist (out of Oceanside),” Murphy’s Web site reads.
“I don’t make them, though, as I like my fingers too much,” Murphy said.
As to the Leucadia location, Murphy has been here since 2005. “It just makes for a nice day, and it beats sitting in the office.”
Across the way is Gil McCue, a man who dabbles in graphic design and jellyfish. McCue has a partner in Hawaii who harvests the jellies. From there, “phosphorescent dye is added prior to the glass encasement so that incandescent lighting will cause the jellyfish to glow in a blue green hue mimicking natural bioluminescence,” McCue said. “Each glass contains the exoskeleton preserved forever in liquid nitrogen.”
McCue is a history buff as well. He antique shops for old San Diego photos and knows a thing or two about how Carlsbad, Oceanside and La Jolla were back in the day. These photographs as well as his own drawings of local landmarks are turned into coffee coasters and are a popular commodity.
Whether you are in it for the food, specialty items or live entertainment, the vendors themselves are full of California charm. Enhance your Sunday every week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 185 Union Street. For more on the market or to become a vendor, visit