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Jul 10, 2007 07:26 PM

In need of recommendations for Santa Monica Farmer's Market

I'm going to either the Wednesday or Sunday market. What should I look for? Which vendors should I check out? What are your favorites?

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  1. The Wednesday FM has Politti Family Farms with the world's best citrus (IMHO). On Sundays they're at the WLA Farmer's Market @ Purdue & Santa Monica Blvd.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Phood

      Thank you so much. I'll definitely check them out!

    2. Are you going to the one off or the promendae? The wednesday is far better in terms of variety to the saturday

      My favorite vendor on both days (i have no clue of the name, sorry) has a HUUUUUGGGE booth of fabulous heirloom tomatoes. They let you sample them all. Usually on Saturday, they are south of third on the west hand side.

      Also look for the carmelized honey at Bill's bee's stand.

      Look for peaches, as they are really good right now. The best peach I had last Saturday was from the big dried fruit vendor right at the intersection.

      The dates there are really good, too.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Diana

        I second the choice of the heirloom tomato farmer...and I also don't know their name. Last week (both Wed. and Sat.) they had black brandywines and green zebras, as well as some other varieties, for $4 per pound.

        I always buy my salad greens from Maggie's Farm. They have had a nutty and tender arugula for the past few weeks and their herb mix and spicy mix are both great if you go for those sorts of flavors.

        1. re: Diana

          The name of the farmer who has the wonderful heirloom tomatoes at the Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday Santa Monica farmers markets is Munak Ranch; they're in Paso Robles.

        2. Strawberries, haricot verts: Harry's Berries (get there early for their strawberries as they sell out)

          Peaches: Regier Farms

          Greens, corn, celery, and the like: Jaime Farms

          Citrus: Pollito Farms

          Bread: Rockenwagner

          Eggs: I don't know the name of the stand, but he's close to the parking structure and his name is Tomas (he also has really good whole chickens)

          Tomatoes: Tutti Frutti

          Raisins: Peacock Farms

          There are so many farmers to choose from at the Wednesday market. The produce is the best I've ever seen, especially lately. And the market manager for the Wed Santa Monica market is very aggressive about vetting the farmers to make sure that they're organic and up to par for the market. It's a marvelous market.

          3 Replies
          1. re: glutton

            the market manager is very wonderful, but she is aggressive at making sure the farmers are certified for farmers markets (meaning they actually grow what they sell), not that they are organic. though there are many wonderful, talented, responsible farmers at the SM market, only a fairly small percentage are organic.

            1. re: FED

              Are you sure it is accurate to say a small percentage? I haven't counted but it feels like a majority are organic - almost everything west of the promenade.

              1. re: MrShoop

                I just noticed this post and wanted to alert any others like me who may have missed this change - it used to be that the Saturday on Arizona market was divided into certified organic and non-organic sections. The former being anything west of Third St. I have no idea when this changed. I discovered it recently when I overheard a farmer respond to a customer. The farmer helpfully pointed out that now all certified organic stalls have a little flag in one corner of their awnings. Not that I am anal about buying certified organic produce only, but I do prefer to buy sustainably grown.
                I would guess about 50% of the stands are certified organic and another 15-20% are sustainable farmers (Harry's Berries, Weiser Farms) and many others don't spray pesticides.

          2. Thank you all so much for your replies. I went today and could hardly believe the quality of the peaches and tomatoes! Unfortunately, I got there later than I expected and many items were sold out, but I managed to leave with enough produce to feed an army for a week. Politti Farms had the most interesting looking citrus. I found most of the vendors listed here, and they were gread recommendations. I'll have to go back in a week or two when they first open.

            1. I grew up going to the Saturday market on Arizona & Third, but I haven't been recently, so I'm a little rusty. There are several great vendors at the Saturday market, which is smaller than the Wednesday market, and thus more manageable and friendly, kind of like the LA vs. San Diego zoo. Some of my favorites are:

              Flora Bella, a sort of all-purpose, mainly vegetable stand run by a really friendly guy, with small quantities of superb stuff. Weird side note: I started to write this last night, and then had a dream that involved Flora Bella vegetables and seafood (which FB doesn't sell).

              David the mushroom guy, at the eastern end of the market. He's got all sorts of exotic mushrooms.

              Lainie whose farm is near Mount Palomar, just west of Third Street. She's also got a sort of random assortment of stuff, with especially great berries and plums.

              Olsen Family Farms has phenomenal stone fruits in the summer.

              2 Replies
              1. re: David Boyk

                When the Mushroom Guy has morels, buy all you can.

                Sautee in Butter. Eat with risotto, or over greens.