(Credit, Tanaka Farms)

(credit: Tanaka Farms)

As summer winds down, you might think that your options for fresh produce are dwindling. However, you still have plenty of good options for both fruits and vegetables. Late summer is when you’ll find one of the best examples of nature’s candy: figs. If you’ve never had fresh figs, do yourself a favor and pick some up this summer. The time when figs are available is pretty short, so you need to take advantage while you can find them. Figs are not the only things available in late summer. You’ll also find plums, cantaloupes, grapes and peppers at their peak as the summer winds to a close. Local farmers‘ markets are the best places to get these treats because you know you’re getting them fresh. Here are some of the best places to get that great late-summer produce.
(credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Laguna Niguel Farmers’ Market
Plaza de La Paz Shopping Center
27241 La Paz Road
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Date: Sundays from 8am to 12pm

The Laguna Niguel farmers’ market is a good place to visit on a Sunday morning and with about 30 to 40 vendors, it’s easy to find the fresh produce you like. You’ll find plenty of places to get those late-summer favorites as well. Apples are the easiest to find with one vendor specializing in apples both fresh and dried. Plenty of vendors offer peppers too – from bell peppers to jalapenos. Only a couple vendors carry figs though, and because they are in such short supply at this market, it’s best to go early to snatch them up. The Laguna Niguel farmers’ market is from 8am until noon every Sunday morning.

Related: Top 10 Best Burgers In Orange County

(credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Growers Direct
101 E. 17th St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(949) 631-7880

When you find Growers Direct, you’ll kind of feel like you’ve stumbled into a secret place. It’s not hard to find, but it seems like you should have known about the place beforehand. It’s like a farmers’ market, but all indoors. This farmer’s market also does a good job of providing produce that is in season. Peppers are especially good here and while the fresh produce is great, the prices are very good too. It’s easy to stock up on whatever you’re searching for without putting too much of a dent in the budget. Parking here can be a little tricky though, especially at peak hours.

(credit: tanakafarms.com)

(credit: tanakafarms.com)

Tanaka Farms
5380 3/4 University Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 653-2100
Irvine isn’t the first place you think of when you think about farms. However, Tanaka Farms is not only in Irvine, but has a produce stand that is open every day from 9am to 5pm. Among the organically-grown produce you’ll find here in late summer are cantaloupes and watermelons. You’ll especially want to get the fresh watermelons for that final fresh taste in the dog days of summer.
(credit: Beca P./Yelp)

(credit: Beca P./Yelp)

Growers Ranch
2016 Newport Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(949) 642-6025

What started as a roadside produce stand over 45 years ago has grown into two successful businesses including a produce market and a wholesale produce supplier Penjoyan Produce, which services such luxury hotels as The St. Regis and Hotel Laguna. When Rich Penjoyan and his wife started their produce stand in 1969, they had family in mind, and that legacy lives on to this day. The Growers Ranch is never open on Sundays and closes at 6 p.m. daily to ensure that all employees have quality family time at home. The next time you throw a dinner party in OC, think about calling Growers Ranch, as it can supply large quantities of produce and other products at wholesale prices.

Related: Best Food Trucks In OC

Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on Examiner.com.