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Best Weekend Farmer's Market - Pasadena to Westside?

I would really like to explore the weekend Farmer's Market scene in LA - I live in Downtown and don't mind driving although I don't want to spend the whole day on it. I found this link in another post, http://www.latimes.com/features/food/..., which is helpful, but if anybody has a favorite, I'd really like to know! TIA!

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  1. Sunday in claremont there is the rare all organic market....the most beautiful fruit, veggies, juices and prepared food items...a good place to start and work backwards...it is open I believe from 8-12:30....have fun

    1. I love to go the the Saturday morning Farmer's Market that takes place at Pasadena High School (Sierra Madre, North of the 210) from 8-1-ish. They have great bread (the one at the back, not so much the one directly in front), cheese (some very different cheeses), lots of fruits and veggies, that annoying guy that sells pitas and hummus, etc., berries, plants, the best honey anywhere (my fave is the Chapparal), herb lady. If the guy is there that sells only tomatoes get some - they are more pricey, but just so delicious. Fresh fish, olives (ask Mike for some of the items he has hiding in his cooler (he does not advertise the wonderful muffaleta, tapenade, cheese spreads he has lurking there which makes me crazy!!).
      I also like the Sunday morning market in Alhambra (1 block east of Garfield, 1/2 block S of Main). They offer a wide variety of Asian fruits and veggies and have the peanut roaster, grilled corn, tacos, dogs, booths.

      2 Replies
      1. re: WildSwede

        I could say something good about just about every vendor at the Pasadena Saturday market but, the "annoying" guy with the pita happens to be an interesting person if you took the time to find out. Besides "annoying" did you try any of his goods because they happen to be fantastic. AND, I used to buy from the baker at the end across from him but I have purchased too many things that I considered stale from him and wonder why people still line up like sheep. I guess since there are no Eastern-European bakeries in the SGV, not including the Armenian or Russian/Armenian bakeries, people don't know the difference. Also, besides good stuff-produce and specialty foods, if you like to people watch, the Sunday Hollywood market is a hoot.

        1. re: Fru

          Just got done dropping all my spare cash at the Pasadena market - 2 of each kind of maybe eight varieties of summer squash, some tomatoes to cook with them, and a three-box pack of strawberries that will be either a refrigerated whipped-cream pie or shortcake. (The fish dealer had sand dabs, too, and would accept my debit card, but the line stretched to the street and she was giving some kind of lengthy demonstration to a customer, so I said The heck with it.)

          And at Thursday's South Pas market I got the most painfully beautiful pink-and-white icicle radishes, about half of which I ate with some chilled $5 GrĂ¼ner Veltliner from TJ's. I am very happy to be here, kids.

      2. I love the Hollywood Farmer's Market. Not only is it huge, but it's always packed, which means that the vendors always stock up heavily in preparation. I like getting cheese curds, aromatic vegetables, and stopping by one of the food stands. Nancy Silverton was there a few weeks ago signing books.

        2 Replies
        1. re: SauceSupreme

          Agreed! I love this market more than Santa Monica...

          --Dommy!

          1. re: SauceSupreme

            My vote goes to the Hollywood Farmer's Market, followed by the South Pasadena Thursday market, but I need to check out the ones in Claremont and Pasadena High. Yay I <3 farmers markets. So fun.

          2. From downtown your best bet, as another poster mentioned, is the Sunday Hollywood Farmers' Market -- it's probably the best farmers' market in Los Angeles bar only the Wednesday Farmers' Market in Santa Monica.

            It's on Ivar between Sunset and Hollywood. Here's a link to the webpage:

            http://www.farmernet.com/events/one-c...

            2 Replies
            1. re: DanaB

              SauceSupreme and DanaB have it right - the Hollywood Market is the best on the weekend. Saw friends two weeks ago who passed by the one in Santa Monica where they live and they, like me from Sherman Oaks, went to the Hollywood Market. Truly high quality produce, better selection of flowers, including birds of paradise which are seldom seen, as well as major prepareed food purveyors as well as the usual schlock, which is generally on Selma, out of the way of the produce and other foods.
              And then there is the entertainment value of the crowd itself - truly entertaining!
              And it is a subway ride from downtown, meaning get off at the Hollywood/Vine station, one block away!

              1. re: DanaB

                I wish I had time to visit the Wednesday Farmers Market in Santa Monica...hmm, I wonder if my boss will buy the excuse "I need to take off a few hours to buy some heirloom organic tomatoes!"

              2. Sunday in Hollywood is probably the best option. On a much smaller scale, I like the Saturday Santa Monica farmers markets. The one on Third/Arizona is the organic option and it's got many of the very good vendors from Wednesday, but it's only a fraction the size of the wednesday market. The other Santa Monica market is on Cloverfield/Pico and it's small, but reliable, which is why I like it. It's got a good, neighborly feel to it.

                1. Hollywood, which is only second to the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmer's Market.

                  1. I agree with the Sunday Hollywood FM for its shear size, abundance of of great produce, other stalls of arts and crafts, and the prepared food boothes are not to be missed.

                    Although the Saturday Santa Monica FM on Arizona pales in comparison to its big brother on Wednesday, it still has lots of great stalls. It's worth the trip just to get some of Harry's Berries... Gaviotas are like strawberry candy right now...

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      But it's the seascape strawberries from Harry's Berries that nearly brought me to tears (of joy) this week... It's going to be a jam-making weekend with those seascapes...

                      1. re: glutton

                        To be honest, I couldn't complain either way - their berries are always at least good. As the warmer monthes come along, they reach for the heavens... I prefer the Seascapes for their flavor. The Gaviotas are a little bigger and sweeter. It's a flip of a coin for me. Imagine the Donut Man hooking up with Harry's...

                        1. re: bulavinaka

                          ...THUD...

                          I apologize for that. I was on the floor convulsing with joy at the thought me having Donut Man donuts without having to drive to Glendora.

                    2. Thanks for all the suggestions! They all sound great. I will definitely try one this weekend...

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: aching

                        You can also get Harry's Berries at the Saturday Pasadena market but get there close to opening because sometimes chefs come in and wipe them out.

                        1. re: Fru

                          Can you still get them at the Beverly Hills farmers market on Sundays?

                          1. re: glutton

                            Yes. Got three baskets from Harry's at the BH Farmers Market last Sunday. All in all, a nice, but somewhat small Farmer's Market, though that's kind of its charm. Very pleasant, calm Sunday morning vibe, and of course, those Harry's Berries.

                        2. re: aching

                          While I also love the Hollywood market, a smaller, less crazy, market is the Sunday Encino Market. Its on Victory between White Oak and Balboa, from 9 to 1 I believe. Even though its smaller, it has an excellent selection of produce as well as some great prepared foods (see if you can find the salsa lady. She isn't always there, but when she is...)

                          1. re: rds246

                            hollywood, pasadena (victory) and encino, in roughly that order. but don't overlook the pleasures of smaller markets as well. they may not have the variety, but often they'll have really small growers doing unusual things. the first that comes to mind in your area is alhambra on Sunday, which has an incredible variety of Asian fruits and vegetables.

                            1. re: rds246

                              I find her salsa more like "Salt-sa" WAYYYY too salty

                              1. re: Diana

                                The Brentwood Farmer's Market in the VA center on Thursdays is such a hidden gem. It starts around noon (I think) and can be a bit tricky to find because it is located within the VA center, alongside the UCLA baseball diamond. It is not your traditional farmer's market and has such a groovy hippy vibe to it. There are tables set up in the far corner with live musicians, where you can munch on your yummy tamales, or vegan soul food, or gyros (just some of the regular food carts each week). There are several excelent produce vendors, the rockenwagen (?sp) bakery and let's not forget COBBLER MANIA! I love that lady! And be sure to wander off into the VA garden's and greenhouse. There is even a bird atrium in one area. Neat place. Support the Veteran's (who sell the rhubarb they grow for $1 a pound)....best deal anywhere.

                                1. re: Mollusk

                                  The Brentwood Thursday farmers' market sort of replaced the Westwood one, which had to shut down due to development finally proceeding along that north-south block. Unfortunately, only a few of the purveyors went along to the VA. I must agree that the Thursday market does have a certain friendly back-to-nature vibe to it. There are several booths selling prepared foods, with much of the clientele coming from the VA hospital and other facilities nearby, with picnic tables in the woods to have a very nice repast. There are signs directing patrons to the roomy parking area from the VA entrance where Sawtelle dead-ends into the VA grounds north of Ohio, and also from Sepulveda just north of Wilshire.

                                  On Saturdays, I prefer the Santa Monica market on Cloverfield and Pico to the one on the Third Street Promenade. Just take the Santa Monica freeway to the Cloverfield exit, turn south, and it is right there on the right. On Sundays, there is a very kid and family-friendly market on Main Street in Santa Monica. It has a lot of prepared food, as well as music and other entertainment, though parking can be difficult.

                                  1. re: nosh

                                    The Westwood farmer's market sure is hard to find, but it sure is quite interesting. I agree with nosh, it does have a "back to nature vibe." I recommend the little french guy who sells croissants and the mini-cheesecakes (chunkomunko) at Westwood, YUM! I also like Pasadena on Saturdays. Alhambra, on Sundays, is a decent size - lots of produce for a small market.

                          2. I've had these absolutely amazing mini donuts at the Saturday Torrance Farmer's Market a while back. They were like donut shaped beignets made in a cute little frying contraption and drenched in powdered sugar. Then he dissapeared!
                            Has anyone seen these delicious treasures in any of these other markets?

                            1. So, I went to the Hollywood Farmer's Market yesterday morning and enjoyed it SOOOOO much! I did take the subway from Downtown as recommended, and then grazed my way through the dozens of fabulous vendors. I got the most mind-blowing cherries I've ever tasted in my whole life. I'm definitely going back there (with a bigger bag), and I also want to try some of these other markets! Thank you, Hounds, for all the great suggestions!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: aching

                                Nice to hear you enjoyed it. May I ask what cherries you enjoyed so much? We're walking into peak season and there's so much out there right now... Thanks

                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                  They were the dark red sweet ones (I don't know if they have a more exact name) - not the yellow-red ones. I got them from the first cherry vendor south of Hollywood Blvd, but really, every vendor I sampled had excellent ones. Sorry not to have more specifics!

                              2. I love the wednesday SM market, but only get there about once per year. My wife goes every week -- lucky her (and I suppose, lucky me). SM has three markets on the weekends. The Saturday market at 3rd/Arizona is in the same spot as the Wed market and it's not bad, but it gets really crowded and I think the prices are inflated. The market on Pico/Cloverfield is much more comfortable and I think it has some very high quality fruit. The Sunday market in SM is on Main Street and it's way too focused on being a destination for people eating brunch and looking for a mini-circus for the kids. The focus is not on the food IMO, so I avoid it.

                                I think the Friday market in Venice is very under-rated.

                                On the weekends, Torrance, Pasadena, and Hollywood are the best IMO. Nobody, though, has a great selection of cheesemakers like you see in European markets. I just don't think the demand is there, unfortunately.

                                1. I have been going to Hollywood, SM (sat market) for 12 years or more, but recently have found a better use of my time by shopping at the smaller markets with more regularity. Of course, one cannot find all the best stands at these markets, the known brand names like Harry's Berries, etc. What I like is getting the nice produce, sometimes organic, sometimes not, for about 1/2 the price of the big farmers markets or Whole Foods, talking up the growers, going 2-3 times a week and eating what I buy right away rather than having a lot of high end produce moldering in my fridge for most of the week.

                                  There are destination restaurants, destination farmer's markets (SM, H'wood, Ferry Bldg in SF, etc), and destination items (starting with Royal Blenheim apricots). Then there's eating on the other 350 days of the year. A few times per week, I'll stop in en route somewhere in the neighborhood, Echo Park Fridays, Silverlake Sat, Atwater Sunday, City Hall Thurs. I am in and out in 15 minutes tops.

                                    1. I'll agree - Hollwyood is fantastic - I do miss the pickle guy that would frequent both Pasadena and Laurel Canyon. Anyone know where he disappeared to?