By Sheryl Craig
Farm to table is not a trend. More and more people are opting for diverse, fresh, organic produce and foods to bring into their kitchens. There are more than 800 certified farmers' markets (CFMs) in Los Angeles giving locals access to farm fresh goods, and of course the opportunity to build relationships and community with the farmers. Many of the farmers' markets are open rain or shine throughout the year making it possible for at-home cooks, professional chefs, and restaurants to shop for seasonal produce. Bring a reusable bag and head over to one of these fabulous five in L.A.
Beverly Hills Farmers' Market
9300 block of Civic Center Drive between Third Street and Santa Monica Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
When: Every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This certified Farmers' Market takes place in the heart of Beverly Hills. Shoppers from all areas of Los Angeles congregate here to shop some of the best California-grown seasonal produce from more than 60 local farmers. Local vendors are set up offering fresh juices and coffee, baked goods and specialty foods-on-the-go like Black Cat BBQ, Me Gusta Gourmet Foods, Daniels Creperie, L.A. Burger Company and Dave's Korean BBQ (just to name a few). The BH Farmers' Market is very family-friendly with a petting zoo, live music, and a calendar of special events including the annual Pie Bake (June), PickleFest (August) and a Cookin' Kids educational workshop (2nd Sunday of each month). Free 2-hour parking is available in the Civic Center parking structure.
The Original Farmer's Market
6333 W. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
When: Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Original Farmers Market is one of Los Angeles' favorite gathering spots for locals and tourists. There is a lot of history here and it started in the summer of 1934 when a dozen farmers made a deal with the landowners to sell their fresh produce from the back of their trucks. Today, the market features 100 grocers, retailers, and restaurants, not to mention it sits next door to The Grove, a shopping center mecca in the 3rd St. neighborhood. Pick up fresh produce, among other groceries like poultry (including turkey and eggs), meats at the old-fashioned butcher shop, seafood by Monsieur Marcel and exquisite baked goods. Visit some of the best locally-owned/run eateries (Moishe's for the best falafel and hummus and the best doughnuts from Bob's) as well, and find fun souvenirs and trinkets along the way.
Echo Park Farmers Market
1146 Logan St.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
When: Friday 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The Echo Park Farmers' Market, which is run by SEE-LA (Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles is dedicated to making fresh healthy foods available across LA) offers an incredible array of produce and "value-added" items such as jams, jellies, dried fruits, honey and farm-grown flowers. 15 farmers participate each week greeting weekly customers with organic apples, strawberries, and other seasonal fruits and vegetables. In addition, visitors enjoy perusing the locally-made goods and foods including pupusas and aguas fresca from Delmey's Pupusas, vegan empanadas from Komeme Vegetariano, Delicious Fish Tacos Lemus, kettle corn and more. Drawing locals to this late afternoon neighborhood must-do for 12 years now, the Echo Park market is amplified by live music and an unbeatable community vibe.
Virginia Park Farmers' Market
2200 Virginia Ave. (at Pico Boulevard and Cloverfield Boulevard)
Santa Monica, CA 90404
When: Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Part of certified Santa Monica Farmers' Markets, the Virginia Park Farmers' Market is a little less of the beaten path. Like the other markets in town, it is a feast for the eyes (and mouth). Featuring California-only grown produce, which is picked fresh the day before the market, the Virginia Park market has all the best seasonal fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, lettuces, herbs, strawberries, squash, corn, beets, onions, broccoli and cauliflower and so much more. This market also encourages patrons to ride their bikes by offering a free bike valet. Stay awhile and enjoy breakfast or lunch, a fresh cup of coffee and the opportunity to shop Wild Local Seafood or to take a free monthly preserving class taught by LA County Master Food Preservers.
Mar Vista Farmers' Market
3826 Grand View Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
When: Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Take your Sunday to the Mar Vista Certified Farmers' Market. While many consider it a smaller market, this one isn't short on the offerings. Farmers from all over California come weekly to share their fresh-picked produce including avocados from Bliss Family Organics, fruit from Burkart Organics, greens by JR Organic Farm and Frenso Evergreen, as well as dried fruits, nuts, and cheeses. Shoppers also visit the Mar Vista market for grass-fed meats, sustainably raised chicken and lamb (Jimenez Family Farm), pork and sustainably caught, wild local seafood from the coast of California, goat milk, and eggs. Walk the market's food emporium to taste delicious fresh-squeezed juices, pupusas, bánh mì, lobster rolls, omelets and the list goes on.
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