The OC Farm Bureau’s Farmers Market is open 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays in the Mariners Church parking lot.

Farm-fresh fruits and vegetables

by LORI BASHEDA

I had forgotten how delightful it was to start off my weekend at a farmers market — until this past Saturday morning.

I grabbed my hat, sunscreen and canvas bag and headed to the one at Mariners Church in Irvine.

More than 100 vendors awaited, selling everything from grass-fed beef and black squid-ink linguine to cactus flesh and homemade goat-milk soap for your beard – or your dog.

I stopped first at the Corona Farms booth for a couple of pounds of fat, red heirloom tomatoes.

Since it’s late summer, many of the stands are overflowing right now with stone fruit, often varieties that you just don’t see at your local grocery store.

More than 100 vendors sell fruits, vegetables, meats and cheese you won’t find at local supermarkets.

Crunchy crimson royal pluots and heirloom Japanese burgundy plums were a couple of the more interesting choices at the Arnett Farms tent, which displays its Fresno-grown fruit in charming bushel baskets.

Arnett also has a line of jarred goods, and it was hard to choose between the stone-ground almond butter with cinnamon or peach curry mustard. So I went with the peach bourbon jam.

I also picked up a cherry almond pastry from Picket Lane Bakery. I actually wanted one of the Santa Anabased artisan French bakery’s fruit custard pies, but I wasn’t heading home right away, so sadly had to pass. Next time, I’m bringing the cooler.

The Orange County Farm Bureau’s Farmers Market is open 8 a.m.-noon Saturdays in the parking lot of Mariners Church, 5001 Newport Coast Drive, Irvine.