The collection of shops now open at Valley Fort Village, 3757 S. Mission Rd., is becoming a destination for fun family outings on Sunday afternoons.
When the Valley Fort Sunday Farmers Market first opened in 2014, there were just a few shops in the little buildings that surround the open-air market. Now there are six with a seventh one half-way built.
A variety of wares can be found there by exploring building by building; they include both vintage and antique objects from furniture and clothing to candy and garden decorations. Unique handmade items like pot holders, aprons, birdhouses, flower boxes, soaps and avocado fudge make thoughtful gifts for any occasion.
Paula Little, owner of P.J.’s Applecrate, designs custom birdhouses for her husband Skip to build for customers. A Temecula resident, she manages the village for property owners Hank and Patty Hornsveld. She also oversees the Valley Fort Rummage Sale, held the first Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Note: In May, the rummage sale will be held on the 20th.)
Melinda Johnson’s The Red Geranium houses an assortment of charming country-themed antiques and goods including hats and hatboxes, signs, tea cups and garden statues. Nearby is a covered patio area with shaded seating perfect for picnics.
Rhonda Smoot, a Fallbrook resident, just opened her Not Your Average Garden which features hand-crafted tillandsia and succulent gardens. She has plans to expand her shop to larger succulents and eventually adding a mini-garden center with bedding plants, native plants and garden art.
De Luz resident Bianca Acevedo, owner of Old Thyme Country Store, makes frequent additions to her inventory of antiques from local estate sales besides carrying a roomful of old-thyme and unique candy.
Next door, Lovable Shoppe offers lovable “stuff” like women’s clothing, accessories and gifts. The husband of owner Belle Braglia, Gary Braglia, also provides custom crafted vintage furniture at the shop.
Across the way, Robyn Dahlson offers flowers for all occasions at the Social Flower right inside the entrance to the village. The flower shop used to be located in Jackson Square.
While some of the shops are open Wednesday through Sunday, and some Friday through Sunday, (all from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) for quick shopping trips, having the additional vendors there for the market on Sundays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., makes that day the ideal time for an afternoon excursion.
The number of vendors varies week to week, but one of them, The Peaceful Dove owner Anne Margaret, let Hank Hornsveld know she wanted a more permanent spot at Valley Fort Village. The little building for that spot is now under construction. A gemologist, she offers gems in various forms, including set in jewelry, as well as hand puppets for children.
Other vendors display handmade products from chocolate fudge and toffee to jewelry and crocheted baby items to potted succulents. Fresh vegetables locally grown are also available some weeks. Commercial offerings include children’s books, penny collector supplies, clothing and products for organizing rooms.
On March 19, Caterer’s Kitchen was open for hungry visitors. Cook Misty Lee Hickox, a De Luz resident, supplied a varied menu with an Irish flair. She used white cheddar, parmesan and Dubliner, a sweet/nutty dry cheese, for her Dubliner mac ‘n cheese which could be paired with Bourbon meatballs (made with ground beef).
For dessert, Hickox offered chocolate cupcakes made with Old Stage stout and topped with Irish creme in butter cream frosting. A self-taught chef, she is willing to experiment with different flavors requested by clients.
The variety of options at Valley Fort Village shops inspires visitors to try something new as the ever-changing offerings continue to grow and the shops expand making it a unique experience each time visitors come for the afternoon.
For more information about the village, the Farmers Market or the rummage sale, call Little at (951) 695-0045.