Fresh produce near Westside
It looks like I'm going to miss the Sunday Santa Monica farmer's market. Any suggestions for a market or produce stand near the Westside that sells deliciously fresh produce? Is there a Los Angeles equivalent to Berkeley Bowl or Monterey Market? Thanks.
Two places come to mind,
Marina Farms on Centinela at the 90 fwy in Playa Vista and the Santa Monica Co-op [Co-Oportunity] 1525 Broadway, Santa Monica, 90404
Or wait til the Tuesday afternoon market [2-7 pm] on Main St in Culver City
- P. [AKA Mattapoisett In LA not Dommy!]
Don't know anything about the two places you mentioned but our local produce place is Marina Farms as well. About 2/3 of their floor space is produce tables and racks, as well as outside in front of the store. In the warmer monthes, the back of the store is converted from storage to shelf space as well, making room for more of the seasonal offerings. It's nothing fancy, although some of the items they carry can be premium or a little more unusual. They were the first place I recall seeing cherimoyas back in the early 90s, as well as fresh rambutan about six years ago. It's definitely not like the Wednesday organic farmers market in Santa Monica, but I think you'll find their selection to be more than adequate - at least much better than your average supermarket. I'm still wondering how they are selling watermelons in April, but I've tried two so far, and both have been much sweeter than I expected...
I definitely recommend Marina Farms also -- and go quite a bit. It's on Centinela, east of Culver and west of Jefferson.
However, I have two recommendations for you:
1) Don't buy the fruit too long before you plan to eat it -- it tends to be ready to eat in the next few days. (or freeze, in the case of berries right now.)
2)If you buy rice, grains, pastas - BE SURE to put the M.F. boxes into ZIPLOCK (tm -- what do you call the non-tm?) or transfer into your own containers. They don't spray any pesticides, like the bigger markets do, so the contents maybe more "natural." I had a LARGE pantry pest infiltration, which is not fun, and very time consuming. Since I've separately bagged grains/etc from Marina Farms - everything that is invested is confined -- so I don't lose my whole pantry.
Marina Farms is a nice produce market, but much smaller than Berkeley Bowl or even Monterey Market. But those are both pretty large I don't know if I've ever been to a produce market that's larger. On the plus side, there's PLENTY of street parking, unlike Berkeley Bowl or Monterey Market.
There are plenty of farmers markets besides those in Sta. Monica. Check out this website for a list: http://www.farmernet.com/events/cfms.
I like the Saturday market in Calabasas, on Calabasas Rd. a couple of blocks from the corner of Mulholland -- next to the Motion Picture Old Folks' Home and across the street from the Sagebrush Cantina (with parking in the Sagebrush's lot). Not a real big market, but plenty to choose from. I particularly like the salads from Kenter Canyon Farms and the citrus from Etheridge Farms in Orosi.
Ahhh the madness of Berkeley Bowl. I miss the selection, but not the crowds, even when they moved to the new location. Other than the two markets mentioned here, I would also recommend that you visit any of the local ethnic markets in the area. They have great selection of produce, at very reasonable prices. The one drawback is that most of the produce is intended to be consumes in one or two days, not for long storage.
That's a great point about produce at the traditional supers versus the produce at the ethnic markets. One needs to decide if shopping often to get fresh but relatively ripe produce is more important than shopping infrequently and having produce that may or may not taste the greatest but has a longer shelf life...