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Nov 12, 2008 07:50 AM

Amazing Fresh Produce near Central and 5th Downtown LA?

I have a friend who keeps saying he's going to take me down to this place near Central and 5th downtown where he gets amazing (I've had it) fresh produce and ridiculously bargain prices. He says you have to get down there early in the a.m., which must be the secret, because I was in the area on day around 2 p.m. and saw nothing.

Does anyone know this place? I've done searches on the board, but come up with nothing close. An address, name or any info would be GREATLY appreciated greatly!

Many thanks!

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  1. Do you (or your friend) mean Grand Central Market? On Broadway and 3rd?

    Why don't you just ask your friend for the address?
    If you find out about this secret market, let us all know.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jellobelt

      No, no it's def. not Grand Central Market...we all know about that place. I believe it's a produce wholesaler because he used to go there a lot when he owned a small Mom and Pop neighborhood store. He doesn't know the address, just the intersection and it's a cash kinda place, so I don't think he has a receipt or anything.

      He keeps saying he'll take me, but since you have to get there pretty darn early and he has another job now, well, you know how it is and I hate to nag, so thought I'd ask here. If I ever do get there, I'll let y'all know.

      He's brought a bunch of this produce to church before and it has been seasonal, fresh and delish so I'm not going to give up !

    2. could be he's talking about the old produce market, which is on seventh street. it's definitely funky, but a good source particularly for Asian vegetables.

      2 Replies
      1. re: FED

        That side of downtown which is near the railroad tracks, at that time in the early morning -- gotta be talking about the wholesale produce markets. When I worked downtown, had a colleague that would stop near there at the flower mart, and come in with huge bunches of flowers at ridiculously inexpensive prices.

        1. re: nosh

          Yup, I've got the flower mart down to a science at this point, love the place and I often take my girlfriends who've never been then walk over to Angelique's for b.f. They always get a quick outta it. I always limit myself to $30 otherwise I come home with just waaaay too many flowers.

      2. There have been various wholesale produce terminals east of downtown for over a century. That's where the supermarkets, restaurants etc. buy their produce, and if you're willing to purchase an entire carton/crate of an item they'll sell it to you. The wholesale produce markets open up after sundown and by mid to late morning their work day is done.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chandavkl

          I totally would be willing to buy an entire crate, esp. since I want to know about this place for when I have parties, birthday, holiday, etc. And I would totally buy a crate if it was fresh and could last a while (though when the stuff is good and fresh, my boys east it non-stop).

          I know this place is close to Little Tokyo, but I would just love to have a business name, address, building description, or something solid that could help me pin-point.

          Maybe I'll try to go after I drop the little one at school today back to "central and 5th" and see if I see anything, though by that time (9:30'ish) it's gona probably be way too late. ;-(

          1. re: a91030mom

            Well, we're talking wholesale produce terminals which are a collection of businesses, each specializing in a particular category of produce (e.g., citrus, Asian vegetables, mushrooms, tomatoes etc.). Historically there had been separate terminals on San Pedro St., Alameda St., and 7th St. Not sure if these locations represent the current state of the business.

        2. I FOUND IT! It's the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market. For an address you can use 732 S. Central, 90021 on Google maps (don't know the official address), if ou use street view that should show you the entrance to this place. This is a block-long building, the business are on the INSIDE (from the outside it just looks like a mega warehouse). Drive right in and park inside and walk around. There are hundreds of prooduce wholesalers here..

          I came home with a box a 40 pound box of fresh oranges for $9, that's 22 cents per pond! I bought 12# of strawberries for $6, 50 centss per pound. I wanted to buy more, but I would need someone to split the stuff with. This is absolutely perfect for a food co-op. Other stuff I priced out: 40# limes/$9; 25# grapes/$12; 25#Roma Tomatoes $12; 40#Bananas $16; box of 62 apples for $24; you get the picture.

          So it's 7th and Central not 5th and central. I got there at about 10:15 and 1/2 of them were gone, but I got the picture and I still made out okay, although by the time I left at 11 it really was about done.

          5 Replies
          1. re: a91030mom

            Thanks for the info. A couple of lessons -- at that time, you probably didn't get the cream of the crop in terms of quality. But near closing, you might have achieved the benefit of close-out pricing, sell or waste. Did you get any impression about whether the prices changed through the morning or were negotiable? Also, in a couple of days when things start to go and the fruitflies set in, please post back about how you used your haul.

            1. re: nosh

              Okay, reporting back now that all but 4 or 5 oranges are left. With the strawberries, my boys, husband and I ate close to 1/2 themselves in two days, I gave the other 1/2 away and boy was that fun! I took some to the preschool and took some on playdates, some to neighbors, some to other friends. The oranges I also gave away 1/2 and took some to the preschool again for snack (I supremed them), some to neighbors and friends, etc.

              The strawberries were really sweet, small, but very sweet, not sure where they came from since it's not strawberry season. Thinking back I could have tried my hand at making jam for the first time, esp. since the $ outlay was so low, it would have been hard to go wrong.

              I had a great time searching for this place and even more fun telling friends about it and sharing the loot!

            2. re: a91030mom

              The Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market is sometimes referred to as the 7th St. market. There's also the City Market produce terminal (sometimes referred to as the 9th St. market) that runs along San Pedro St. between 9th St. and 11th St. You might want to check that one out next time, since it's not too far away.

              1. re: Chandavkl

                Okay, thanks so much for the tip esp. since the 9th St. one is close to the flower mart and so I could do a two-for-one type thing with the parking! Have you been to both? Care to compare/contrast, or is it pretty much more of the same? Thanks again!

                1. re: a91030mom

                  Both terminals have dozens of produce houses so it's a matter of what produce items you're looking for. Actually the 9th St. Market was supposed to be folded into the 7th St. Market probably 10 or 15 years ago, but the 9th St. Market quickly filled up with new tenants. I'm not sure if that means that 9th St. now has more specialty houses or what.