For a fresh take on summer travel, consider visiting a farmers market. Here are five cities where you'll find the cream of the crops.
1. MINNEAPOLIS Mill City Farmers Market offers a colorful collection of local, sustainable and organic fruits, vegetables, cheeses and prepared foods. Expect cooking demonstrations, live music, kids activities, chef presentations and bright bunches of peonies. Sample sweet and savory crepes, fresh juices and bison burgers before a stroll on the Heritage Trail.
2. SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA Three times a week, a bounty of food, flowers and music graces the Third Street Promenade, a pedestrian walkway known for shopping, restaurants and street performers. Just blocks from the beach, you'll be awash in a sea breeze while sampling local produce, fruit, juices, cheeses, nuts and fish offered by more than 75 area farmers and purveyors.
3. PORTLAND, OREGON Mingle with local chefs as they peruse the fresh produce with their menus in mind. The colorful market is open each Saturday on the campus of Portland State University. Expect artisan food producers in 140 stalls, educational demonstrations and cooking classes for kids, with lively music as a backdrop. Sample plump berries or your favorite greens.
4. SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO There is plenty to sample and savor at this bustling year-round market at the Railyard. Take on a bulging breakfast burrito or get familiar with local green chilies and mesquite-flavored honey. More than 150 vendors offer locally grown fruits, vegetables, breads, soups and cheeses Saturdays and Tuesdays during the summer.
5. WASHINGTON, D.C. Between visits to the National Zoo or your favorite Smithsonian museum, tap into a healthy sampling of the local, sustainable food movement in the Chesapeake Bay watershed at one of 11 producer-only farmers markets in the area. Sample handmade cheeses in Foggy Bottom on Wednesdays, nibble on handcrafted empanadas near the White House on Thursdays, or savor fresh-baked bread in Dupont Circle on Sundays.