Monterey County is an inspiring culinary destination and fruitful agricultural gem, home to numerous restaurants that offer locally-sourced and sustainably-raised ingredients, Farmers Markets 7-days a week and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program - not to mention regards as the "Salad Bowl of the World" and "Artichoke Capital of the World". Pair all of this with numerous wineries in the region, Monterey County truly offers the quintessential California dining experience.

1. Carmel Farmers Market

Open on Tuesdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m.( May-September), Carmel Farmers Market features over 25 farmers and vendors, showcasing a breathtaking selection of locally grown produce and pasture-raised grass-fed meat. The market is hosted by the Barnyard Shopping Village, which offers a world-class selection of couture shops, intimate boutiques, delectable dining options and stunning brick-lined courtyards. There’s a reason Carmel’s been dubbed “California’s Jewel.”

2. Monterey Wine Trail

With an intimate and charming atmosphere, the Monterey Wine Trail offers a variety of winery tasting rooms, often letting visitors sample with the actual winemaker. Conveniently only 20 miles east of Monterey and with a breathtaking selection of wines to taste, Monterey Wine Trail has unsurprisingly become a major destination for wine lovers who visit the area.

.Joyce Winery Soledad

3. Ag Venture Tours

With friendly tour guides who are experts in the realm of wine and agriculture, Ag Venture Tours is a can't-miss experience for wine lovers. Ag Venture Tours also give you the ability to customize your tour to your interests, making it an equally enriching experience for wine connoisseurs as well as more casual groups who are just looking to learn more about the wine of the Monterey Bay region. 

dropped artichokes at pezzini farm stand

4. Old Monterey Marketplace

Spanning three and a half city blocks Tuesdays 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. (October - April), 4 p.m.- 8 p.m. (May - September), Old Monterey Marketplace has been one of the largest weekly gatherings in Monterey since 1991. It’s a given that this marketplace features all of the best locally grown produce. But what sets it apart is its wide selection of hand-made jewelry, furniture, and clothing. And with an emphasis on international food, Old Monterey Marketplace offers a truly enriching cultural experience for people all over the region.

People picking out produce at the old Monterey farmers market

5. Food Tours

Want a whirlwind tour of the area's many foodie offerings? Then Carmel Food Tours & Monterey Bay Food Tours are just what you need. Short strolls bring visitors through food samplings from local restaurants, as well as stops at local wineries. A sprinkling of historical tidbits and fun facts make these tours one of the most pleasant options for food lovers in Monterey County. 

Monterey Bay Food Tours Basket