Monterey County is one of the most inspiring food areas in the country, home to numerous restaurants that offer ingredients that are locally sourced and sustainably raised. And with daily farmers' markets offering delicious produce and meat, it's no wonder we have been dubbed both the "Salad Bowl of the World" and the "Artichoke Capital of the World." Not only that, but its location along the Pacific coast makes it a seafood hub and is home to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. Combined with the numerous wineries in the region, Monterey truly offers the quintessential California dining experience.
1. Carmel Farmers’ Market
Open on Tuesdays (9AM-1PM) from early May through the end of September, Carmel's 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. River Road Wine Trail
With an intimate and charming atmosphere, River Road 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, River Road Wine Trail has unsurprisingly become a major destination for wine lovers who visit the area.
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.
4. The Farmer's Market at Old Monterey Marketplace
Spanning three and a half city blocks every Tuesday (4-8PM), 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.
5. Carmel Food Tours
Want a whirlwind tour of the area's many foodie offerings? Then Carmel Food Tours might be just what you need. This 1.5 mile stroll brings visitors through food samplings from local restaurants, as well as stops at two local wineries. A sprinkling of historical tidbits and a stop at a confection stop make this one of the most pleasant options for food lovers in Monterey County.