You don’t have to don a chef’s hat to be a master in the kitchen, whether you’re perfecting your grandmother’s bolognese or crafting a complex tasting menu for your next dinner party. These days, it’s easier than ever to emulate your favorite celebrity chefs, with cookbooks from TV personalities like Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray giving you the recipes you need to cook like a pro. The proliferation of cooking shows has served as an inspiration for home cooks everywhere, and chefs are singing the praises of fresh local food, urging home cooks to head to their local farmers markets.
With all this ado, it’s no surprise that the local food movement has hit the kitchen tiles running. In 2007 the word “locavore” was the Oxford word of the year, and the local food movement has only continued to grow. Since the early 1990s, the number of U.S. farmers markets more than quadrupled; the USDA reported 8,144 of them in 2013.That’s food for thought!
And while America’s home cooks have increasing access to quality ingredients to serve up gourmet delicacies in the comfort of their kitchens, Redfin wanted to find the 10 best neighborhoods to be your own top chef. To figure it out, Redfin data scientists searched through homes for sale on Redfin.com to find those with descriptions that mentioned food-friendly features such as gourmet kitchens, vegetable gardens and chicken coops. We only factored in homes that are within two miles of farmers markets and good grocery shopping options. We then partnered with the home cooking mecca Allrecipes, who crunched the numbers to find the most popular dishes for each of the top 10 neighborhoods that use both local and fresh ingredients. So sharpen your cooking knives and prepare to take a culinary tour of 10 neighborhoods where things are really cooking:
1. Downtown, San Jose, California
This neighborhood, which many refer to as the center of Silicon Valley, hosts a farmers market every Friday along San Pedro Street featuring fresh produce from more than 30 California-based growers. Some weeks, there is a “Cookin’ the Market” event during which chefs demonstrate how to use market produce and passers-by can sample the fare.
And you don’t have to look far to find a kitchen worthy of creating a culinary feast: 33 percent of homes here boast cooking and dining friendly features and amenities.
2. Stanton Park, Washington D.C.
Stanton Park, an area in Capitol Hill, has been dramatically revitalized in the past decade, and much effort has been put into reestablishing the roots of the community. Those efforts have paid off: Residents say that you can’t walk through the area without running into a community picnic in the neighborhood park for which the area is named.
“Many of the old row homes have been renovated and feature large open kitchens and dining areas along with updated appliances, so it’s not surprising that 30 percent of homes on the market have great culinary features,” says Redfin agent Steve Centrella.
In addition, the neighborhood is mere blocks from Eastern Market, which has an open air farmers market every weekend and on Tuesdays. The market website includes a roster of the latest local growers so you can get to know the farmers.
3. North Capitol Hill, Denver
Also referred to as Uptown, this neighborhood is on the east side of the city near the center of downtown. Situated just next to the Mo’Betta Green community market, residents of North Capitol Hill can pop over every weekend to sample local grub, attend a cooking class or listen to a DJ spin tunes while perusing the seasonal delights. In 2013, this farmers market was named the best farmers market in Denver by Westword Magazine.
In addition to an array of international grocery shopping options, homes are well-outfitted for cooking: 28 percent of homes on the market boast good cookin’ features.
4. Lakeridge, Seattle
This little-known area is situated among Seattle, Tukwila and Renton on a hill overlooking Lake Washington. “This little gem of a neighborhood has lots of charming mid-century modern homes with lovely details like arched doorways and triangular windows,” said Redfin agent Dan Mullins. “The homes also frequently have contemporary updates like large open kitchen and dining areas.”
Lakeridge has easy access to culinary shopping options in all three cities, including the Columbia City Farmers Market, and also has a high percentage of homes with great kitchen features (27 percent).
5. Mid-City, Los Angeles
Despite being close to downtown, Mid-City is known for its somewhat suburban vibe. The neighborhood has a mix of home styles, from craftsmen style bungalows to modern and industrial condos. People flock to the area on the weekend for the Wellington Square Farmers Market.
If you are interested in farmers market history, venture out of Mid-City a few miles to the oldest farmers market in the country known as the Market. Back in 1934, farmers would park their trucks in a field to sell produce to the locals.
6. Canton, Baltimore
Nestled between the Fells Point and Highlandtown farmers markets, this neighborhood is situated along Baltimore’s outer harbor and features charming turn-of the-20th-century rowhouses, many of which have been renovated in the past decade. With 25 percent of homes on the market touting chef-friendly features, you may want to rethink your current career and start cookin’! (Hey, Julia Child didn’t start until she was 40.)
Redfin agent Rebecca Hall also notes that “the neighborhood is rich with culinary history and used to have canneries along Boston Street with oysters, peaches and tomatoes among other local foodstuffs in the early 1900s.”
7. East Atlanta, Atlanta
This charming neighborhood of East Atlanta Village, which is situated on the east side of Atlanta, features bungalows and craftsman-style homes with large yards, frequently filled with chicken coops and overflowing fruit and vegetable gardens. In this neighborhood, 21 percent of homes for sale boasted amenities fit for a chef.
The East Atlanta Farmers Market runs every Thursday evening from 4 to 8 p.m. You can check out their awesome array of local vendors here. The market also features weekly cooking demonstrations where you can learn how to cook local produce from a rotating roster of chefs.
8. North Center, Chicago
This northside Chicago neighborhood has a lot of old European charm, and a large portion of the homes date back to the late 19th and early 20th century. Many of these homes have been updated and 20 percent of homes currently on the market mention their gourmet cooking and dining features.
The North Center Town Square is a neighborhood meeting spot and hosts a weekly farmers market from May through September. Residents who prefer to grow their own veggies can join the Montrose Green Community Garden, which is one of many community gardens in Chicago started by the Peterson Garden Project.
“If you’d like to test out your green thumb on your own soil, many of the lots in North Center are wider than standard with larger backyards, allowing space for backyard vegetable gardening,” says Redfin agent Chris Chesne.
9. South Beach, San Francisco
South Beach, otherwise known as SOMA (South of the Market) was once a desolate area full of dilapidated warehouses. In the early 2000s, the AT&T ballpark was built and the neighborhood has since seen a rapid revitalization, with scores of new condos and luxury lofts in the converted warehouses. That also means lots of newly built kitchens with all the latest and greatest gadgets: 18 percent of listings will make you feel like you’re on your very own episode of Top Chef.
Locals looking for fresh ingredients can stroll along the waterfront paths and head over to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, which is open three days a week year round. The market is funded by CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) and features weekly chefs cooking up fresh local seasonal bites.
10. Graduate Hospital, Philadelphia
This charming neighborhood is home to both Julian Abele Park Farmers Market and the South Street West Farmers Market. Walk down the streets of Graduate Hospital, also known as G-Ho or Southwest Center City, and you’ll find artfully painted storefronts and row homes from the early 20th century that have been remodeled to welcome the influx of residents drawn to the community feel.
On any given summer weekend, you’ll find a variety of outdoor activities, bars and restaurants in addition to farmers markets. Homes here boast great amenities for home cooks, too: 17 percent of listings on the market would be great places to try some chef shoes on for size!
We ranked each neighborhood by the percentage of homes listed in 2014 that:
- were within 2 miles of a grocery store – grocery store locations from the factual api
- were within 2 miles of a farmers market – farmers markets from usda.gov
- contained any of the following in their description: big or huge or large or cook or gourmet kitchen, big or huge or large dining room, vegetable garden, chicken coop
We then combined the ranks of each of these metrics for a final neighborhood score. Because many neighborhoods had similar ranks for farmers markets and grocery stores, the listing descriptions were the differentiator.