Even if you're not doing your weekly produce shopping, strolling the farmers market in Arcata makes for a lovely Saturday morning or afternoon (the stalls are open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.). You've got live music, primo people watching, honey, jams and jellies worthy of suitcase space and a bevy of local food stalls that run from homey to exotic. Grab a patch of grass, listen to the band and have yourself an impromptu picnic in the sun.
Beck's Bakery has addictive cheesy breadsticks to nibble while you forage, and you can dive into a freshly shucked barbecued oyster at North Bay Shellfish before it even makes it to a restaurant plate. Something spicy? International Ethiopian Café has gloriously saucy Doro Wat stewed chicken, and Celebration Tamales will open its pots and pull out a steaming black bean and cheese tamale with Romesco sauce for you. More in the mood for meat and potatoes? Trinidad Lighthouse Grill's cornmeal waffle cone filled with mashed potatoes, brisket and gravy more than fits the bill. Wash it down with a lavender lemonade from Humboldt Hotdogs and finish with something sweet, like a little strawberry rhubarb tart from the surprisingly gluten-free Arise Bakery.