DOWNTOWN — In the mood for some freshly baked bread, handmade salted caramel ice cream or a sip of northern Italian style espresso? Bike, bus or walk to a Farmers’ Market near you and enjoy.

All of those delicious treats will be available starting Oct. 1 at one of three markets operated by City Hall, according to a list released Tuesday of prepared-food vendors offered three-year contracts to set up shop.

Each year, one third of the vendor contracts expire and new and old vendors alike apply through a competitive bid process, said Jodi Low, a Farmers’ Market coordinator for City Hall. The selection committee looks at five areas: business location, ingredient sourcing, sustainability, experience and value.

The 2011 awardees are (drum roll please):

Main Street Market

• Bean & Thyme (returning)

• Ca’D’Oro Bakery (returning)

• Finn McCool’s (returning)

• Secret Goldfish Baking Co. (new)

• Sweet Rose Creamery (new)

• Homeboy Industries

Pico Market

• Caffe Luxxe (new)

Downtown Saturday Market

• Valerie Confections (returning)

Sweet Rose Creamery, owned and operated by Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan of Rustic Canyon and Huckleberry Bakery fame, comes out of the Brentwood Country Mart and serves up small batches of homemade ice cream using organic milk and cream from clover, organic eggs and sugar — with no stabilizers or ice cream bases, according to the company’s website.

“We believe that quality ingredients and thoughtful preparation leads to delicious ice cream. We also make all of our toppings, cones, sauces and ice cream sandwiches from scratch daily,” a statement from the website reads.

Montana Avenue’s Caffe Luxxe is another new addition to the markets. Specializing in the northern Italian style, this coffee house promises freshly ground beans and signature milk foam art with every drink served.

“Our cafe was created to compensate for what is increasingly becoming a super-sized, push-button coffee world by re-introducing the art of craftsmanship, artistic inspiration, traditional proportions, and drinking temperature (Not scalding hot as it burns the coffee!),” a statement from their website states.

Hungry? Try a gourmet sandwich or salad courtesy of Paul Osher, owner and head chef of Bean & Thyme, a relative newcomer on the scene who has been operating at the Sunday Main Street market since October of last year. Osher, who quit graduate school to follow his passion for cooking, creates his dishes using ingredients purchased at the Downtown Wednesday Farmers’ Market.

“I’m actually carrying a box of beans right now,” Osher said Wednesday. “I’m so happy [City Hall] renewed our contract. It’s a fantastic market and we’re lucky to be a part of it. I like that it is really family focused.”

Another vendor that gets many of its ingredients from local Farmers’ Markets is The Secret Goldfish Baking Co., run by Molly Greenwood, a former employee at the Natural Resources Defense Council on Second Street, and Michael Mapel, a researcher at UCLA.

The vegan bread bakers and cookie makers have been in operation for roughly a year and look forward to being a larger part of the Main Street market.

“We’ve been customers of the market for such a long time so it really means a lot to become a vendor,” Greenwood said. “I know tons of people who shop at the market so I know we’ll be exposed to a lot of new customers and hopefully provide something new and different that people have been looking for.”

For more information on the Santa Monica Farmers Markets, go to www.smgov.net/portals/farmersmarket.

kevinh@www.smdp.com

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