A Guide to the Best Farmer’s Markets in LA
Posted November 13, 2012on:
The Los Angeles Farmer’s Market Almanac
Farmer’s Market (The Original LA Farmer’s Market)
6333 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Monday – Friday: 9 am to 9 pm
Saturday 9 am to 8 pm
Sunday 10 am – 7 pm
The farmer’s market that calls itself “the original” in Los Angeles is probably the least traditional of the local farmer’s markets. What started in 1934 as a consortium of farmers gathering on a dirt lot has become a bustling labyrinth of stalls and kiosks with everything from the usual fruits and veggies to pastries, ice cream and desserts, unique jewelry and toys, Chinese food and pizza, fish tacos and a very popular Brazilian BBQ. Being in a high-rent area near Beverly Hills, as you might expect, the prices are higher than the average parking lot market. Speaking of parking lots, most food vendors offer two-hour parking validation. There is plenty of seating at tables, so people tend to hang out, and it can be sceney on a busy weekend night. The market closes down pretty early though, so if you want to keep the party going you can head next door to the Grove shopping center for more upscale restaurants, shopping and movies.
Hollywood Farmers’ Market
Ivar & Selma Ave
Between Hollywood and Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Sundays, 8 am to 1 pm.
The Hollywood Farmer’s Market has a reputation as being the granddaddy of local farmer’s markets because of its sheer size and the crowds it draws. The market has a vast variety of offerings, from fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, baked goods and cheeses to specialty foods such as fresh shucked raw oysters, goat cheese from a vendor that brings baby goats from their farm, fresh herbs and mushrooms. You can get everything you need here to create the ultimate fresh, organic and healthy dinner to impress your guests. Vendors often know regulars by name and are glad to tip you off to the best stuff they have. Grab street parking if you can or parking is $2 with validation at the lot on the corner of Delongpre and Ivar. Come early, before 10 am to avoid the crowds.
Beverly Hills Farmer’s Market
9300 Block of Civic Center Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90209
Sundays, 9 am to 1 pm
Less is more in the case of the Beverly Hills Farmer’s Market. It’s a tiny market but has all the standards – basic produce, one or two meat stalls, baked goods and breads, cheeses, olive oils, juices, nuts and honey, Kettle corn, crepes, BBQ chicken, fresh flowers and your usual soaps and lotions. Lots of it is organic. Sometimes there are pony rides, but the small loop around the back of the street does not look that fun for anyone, horses or kids. Mostly very friendly vendors who are eager to offer samples. As with most markets, vendors to not accept credit cards, so bring your cash. Park two hours for free in the Beverly Hills City Hall/Library parking structure and free-on-Sunday metered street parking.
La Cienega Farmer’s Market
1801 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Thursdays, 3-7 pm
This market is a small one but well-loved in the neighborhood. It’s approximately 20 stalls are tightly packed into a corner of the parking lot of a strip mall in front of Toys ‘R’ Us and a Ross Dress for Less. The selection of fruit and veggies is good, and there are several vendors carrying a variety of prepared foods and baked goods. A fish vendor sells fresh tuna, Chilean sea bass and other nice fish filets, and the booth takes credit cards — though most other vendors take cash only. Some of the more exotic offerings include Asian cabbages and greens on occasion, along with some thick and crunchy tortilla chips and zesty salsa. What this market lacks in size it makes up for in competitive prices that compare with conventional grocers.
Santa Monica Farmers Market
2640 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Sundays, 9:30 am – 1 pm
The Santa Monica Farmer’s Market is a gathering place as much as it is a venue to buy food. Live music, pony rides, crafts, and picnicking are all part of the social scene which has attracted large crowds of families, with lots of children partaking in the festivities. Though there are quite a few traditional market vendors offering fresh produce and foods, many of the stalls serve hot and ready-to-eat food, like omelets, crepes, pancakes, corn on the cob in the husk, quesadillas, and baked treats which are perfect to take to the grassy park area along Main Street to sit and eat. Being in the PC hotbed of Santa Monica, much of the disposable products such as plates, food, napkins and flatware are recyclable and compostable. Parking in the lots around the market are usually full by 10 am, but if you don’t mind a bit of a walk the beach lot on Ocean will validate. They also offer a complimentary bike valet.
What to Take to the Farmer’s Market
Give ‘em L-Bags
Everyone has a reusable grocery bags, but be the first at the farmer’s market to show off your reusable L-Bags. These drawstring sacks are made of durable machine-washable mesh and adorned with hand-sewn quilt patches with screened images of carrots, peppers and other colorful fruits and veggies. $2 for short bags and $3 for long bags. Available at l-bags.com or Amazon.
Forget the parking hassle and bike to your local farmer’s market. Cart home all your goods in the roomy Topeak welded wire basket. It detaches easily from the bike handlebars with a quick-release mount and can be toted by its carry handle, and it can hold up to 16 pounds. $39.95. Available at REI, Sport Chalet and other local dealers found at Topeak.com.