Driven by burger lust and eager to stock up on fresh produce, I recently packed the kids in the car and made the drive to Auburn to visit Ikeda’s. This iconic market/restaurant, well-loved by locals, also serves as a dining haven for car-weary travelers going to and from Tahoe (the sign is easily visible from Highway 80). Established in 1970 by the Ikeda family, the business pioneered a farmers’ market approach to selling produce in the region, offering their own orchard fruits and vegetables in addition to darned tasty burgers. Also famous for their baked-on-the-premises pies, the family has expanded their inventory over the years to include many other baked goods (cinnamon bread! muffins! cookies!) as well as a raft of agricultural products, from nuts and preserves to olives, and even their own line of salad dressings.
After gawking at the market’s offerings, we settled in at Ikeda’s outdoor picnic tables and plowed through an eye-poppingly enormous “Ultimate” burger and an earthy, satisfying mushroom burger. And on the way out, we selected a still-warm-from-the-oven Dutch apple pie and bags of produce to take home with us. Regardless of where you live in the region, it’s well worth the drive to explore this marvelous, family-owned market.