Torrance Farmer's Market - Recs?
I am going tomorrow morning (Saturday) to the Torrance Farmer's Market for the first time.
After a search on the board, the last time it was discussed in any detail was 2003 - I think.
Any must-buys/ must-sees/ must-knows?
ex: tibits on parking, pricing, recs etc. are welcome.
I'm at the Torrance FM almost every Saturday. Parking can look bad, but it usually doesn't take long to find someone leaving. The things I almost always buy are:
Stawberries from the vendor near the egg person (I think a PP mentioned them), they last so much longer than strawberries bought anywhere else; I can keep them in the fridge for over a week without them going bad.
Octopus from the sea food vendor. I haven't bought much else from them, but it all looks so good, and the prices are good. My fiance cooks a the octopus using some greek recipe almost every weekend (at least the ones I make it there before they sell out).
Pupusas - I love the beef and vegetable one, and it is the best $3 you can spend on prepared food. If you get there earlier enough it comes with avocado. Last time I had to get the pork one because they were sold out of the beef and it was only $2 and so good too!
I also get apples from a vendor on the parking lot side that has one of the walk in booth with a big sign in the back. The apples aren't very good durring this time of the year (at any of the vendors), but so good normally.
I haven't bought much flowers, but they also have a few places selling cut flowers and other plants.
There is also a good place about mid way, on the oposite side from the lot, with one of the walk in stalls (as opposed to the ones that just have a row of tables, these have a U-shape) that sells lots of vegetables. There seems to be a slight Asian trend in the veggies. I often get baby bok choy and I've bought chard there too.
Sorry I don't have much better descriptions of the locations, I'm so bad with names.
this market is very low-key, which i like. you will be able to buy most of your staples here. unfortunately, no beef and limited dairy. there is a seafood vendor and two or three baked good vendors. here are some of my favorites:
g + e weerheim, the walnut vendor from tulare, is there right now. highly recommended. she has shelled and whole walnuts. i've bought big bags (~$8) to freeze. she also has kiwi.
the organic grower from fallbrook that is across from the greek food stand (good crispy pita chips, by the way) is fantastic. buy a big bag of their meyer lemons ($1). other yummy citrus includes limes, grapefruit and tangerines. their avocados are extra-tasty when in season. i believe their rhubarb just came in, which is very good.
fresh pomegranate juice and wheatgrass juice (and other raw legumes and grains) is available.
i also like the ciara olives, but i've actually found the seller can be stingy with the samples. our favorite is the habanero-stuffed. ask him if he has bleu cheese-stuffed olives; they are on ice.
the cheese vendor offers an excellent variety, including garlic cheese curds and (just added!) raw cheeses.
the herb stand has unique offerings (aloe leaves, epazote, fresh bay leaves) and everyday staples (arugula, parsley, basil).
organic staples (cauliflower, spinach, strawberries, beets, kale) from the stand that is located near the egg vendor closest to crenshaw.
egg vendor closest to crenshaw has fresh eggs and freshly-frozen chicken (skinless breasts, whole chickens).
the guavas at the stand on the side closest to the park (i need to write down the farm names!) are incredibly delicious.
also, i'm not sure if burkhart farms is out for good or just out for the season, but i love their fruit and their dried flame raisins are to die for. i believe they are still at the hollywood market though and other markets in the area.
torrance is one of the better farmers markets in southern california, in the tier just below santa monica and hollywood. i can't really speak to the prepared food--the mexican stuff is good and so are the ableskivers, if they're still there. as far as produce vendors, the olive guy is ciara west and they have really terrific stuff (they buy the cured olives then flavor them). the fish lady sometimes has really interesting things--fresh anchovies. harry's berries is there. and there are a couple of good plant people. after that, it's wander and taste. lots of good stuff.
Colleague and I tried the crepes at the Tuesday market a couple of weeks ago. Definitely nothing special; just something to fill the hole at lunchtime. The grilled corn stand, on the other hand, is really good. And there is a farmer's market in Huntington Beach, near the pier, Friday afternoons, and one in nearby Long Beach, just over the border from Seal Beach, behind the Wild Oats on PCH, in a parking lot accessible from both PCH and 2nd Street.
Thanks for all of the suggestions.
Some thoughts on the market:
When I arrived there was a bluegrass band playing on a little stage area in the food court, and loads of families were walking around. The vibe was quaint (as most farmer's markets are) and wholesome.
Parking was a cinch (esp. because I rode my vespa)
The kettle corn stand had a line of about 50 people - no joke. What is up with that? Is this some amazing kettle corn?
Had a famous papusa from the papusa lady. Beef, cheese and vegetable. It was good. I liked the pickled slaw side, but I will be asking for no mayo next week.
The produce selection was great, pretty standard for a nice sized farmer's market.
I will definately be going back next saturday.
re: Big Eatin Lil Girl
Where and when is it? We're moving to OC, which isn't exactly heavy on great farmers' markets. I'd like to avoid having to drive all the way to Hollywood or SM at the weekend, so this sounds better than the local alternatives.
If the French guy is from La Spaghettata, the pasta is serviceable, the baguettes are quite good, the brioches are very good, the pain de campagne is serviceable, and the pastries, while good-tasting, are greasy and (in the case of any fruit-filled one) oversweetened.
re: Das Ubergeek
re: Das Ubergeek
OK - went this past weekend. I think the produce and bakery selection between Irvine and Torrance is about the same. At this time of the year the selection is not very good - mostly grapes, citrus and apples. Got some snow mountain apples (they had in Irvine as well), tomatoes, and Japanese spinach. All the strawberries looked quite washed out in color, so I didn't even bother sampling any.
The cooked food selection is quite a bit better at Torrance. The Irvine one mainly has kettled corn and tamales, and no place to sit. There's a roasted corn, yam and potato stand at the Torrance one that was pretty good. Wasn't feeling hungry, so didn't try the pupusa lady.
Still looking for romanesco broccoli. I have to say the best weekend farmer's markets I've been to are at Santa Barbara and Ojai.
You can park across (north) the street in the church parking lot - don't worry, they let you and used to have signage telling you could do so. That makes it easier to get leave and get back on Crenshaw.
There are a few of the same vendors as other FM - the pupusa lady, corn maiden, kettle corn, danish donut... There is a new Japanese food vendor (next to Pupusa) and I had some takoyaki there once - it reminded me of festival food. Yum.
There is a guy selling French pastries too - they look large and filled with lots of butter! He always sells a lot, but I haven't tried him yet.
The Olive Man is good. He'll let you try a lot of them and then pack them in containers. He's in the middle of the market.
I love Ken's Produce for fruit - he is also at the Hollywood and SM farmers market.
Dress warm and have fun.
How funny, we were just there last week in search of the Tuna Lady! (Local canned tuna!) But she's going to be out the next few weeks due to medical problems. As for the recs... We saw some really nice things in terms of produce, fish and products. They have Pacifica Honey, which is YUMMY! And in food section, the famous Pupusa lady is there (She's the one at Hollywood on Sundays!)
Also, a note about parking, it's a bit rough, so be sure to be on the look out for street spots as well! :)