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SACRILEGE: I don't actually enjoy the Hollywood FM.

Das Ubergeek Jul 19, 2009 09:55 PM

Unheard of, right?

I mean, it's the biggest Sunday market in Southern California. It's hundreds and hundreds of stalls selling everything from Catalina oysters to fourteen kinds of eggplant to Holmby Hills bee pollen to grass-fed, sustainably-raised, humanely-slaughtered beef to fifty kinds of homemade kimchi.

But I went this morning with my daughter and it didn't feel like my "home" markets (in order of where I've lived, that'd be Westwood, West Hollywood, Studio City, Santa Monica, Studio City again, and Irvine). Even though the vendors are many of the same people I know, the crowds made it hard to be social.

And the PRICES -- my GOD the PRICES. The same -- the EXACT same -- bunch of basil that was at Irvine for $1.50 last Saturday was $3 today. Same farm, same vendor. Bread for SIX DOLLARS A LOAF! And this is without counting things that I knew would be shockingly expensive ($15 a three-pack for Harry's Berries, anyone?). I usually spend $40-$50 on a week's worth of shopping at Irvine (let's call it produce, pasta, seafood, bread and oil). Today, not counting the bison and pork I bought, it was $73.

I know it's busy, and it's good that it's busy, but it was just kind of oppressive -- and the cars driving up past the booths to the parking structure on Ivar made it just so much worse.

I've had this reaction before at Hollywood, and I *don't* have it to Santa Monica Wednesday (OK, except the price thing, because SM Wed is just as expensive). I think it's honestly that I started to feel claustrophobic, hemmed in, and it coloured the whole experience. SM Wed. is wider -- Irvine is wider -- Studio City is wider, and so there's more room to circulate. (The other markets that give me that closed-in feeling are Calabasas, because of the huge presence of Roadblock Stroller-Pushing Parent People, and the old Glendale one when it was along the sidewalk on Brand.)

Sour grapes, I'm sure, but I needed to get it off my chest. Bad experience or not, there is no better place to get the truly obscure, and for a tourist who isn't actually shopping for their weekly food but is just ogling the truly mind-bending array of food produced within 200 miles of Hollywood and Vine it's an amazing experience...

...but I'm kind of glad my Irvine market isn't like that, and it was a powerful reminder why I went to Studio City on Sundays even though Hollywood was just five minutes further away.

Let the browbeating begin...

  1. Dommy Jul 19, 2009 10:08 PM

    Well I agree with you regarding the sheer mass of people and the prices. That is also why even though after church we are about the same distance away, we prefer to go to our homey Mar Vista market...

    But having been to the Irvine market (which is a FINE market... great size too!) there are just stuff that shows up at the Hollywood Market that would NEVER make it down there... For that reason, we still go on occasion and take tourists (Which the occasional celebrity sightings make it worth them...)

    --Dommy!

    12 Replies
    1. re: Dommy
      Das Ubergeek Jul 19, 2009 10:14 PM

      I was actually noticing things both ways. Certainly there's almost no meat at Irvine (which is stupid, because there's meat at Laguna Hills, which is run by the same people), and only one seafood purveyor... but I noticed that Mangi con Amore didn't have pasta at Hollywood today whereas they always do at Irvine, and there are a lot more strawberries at Irvine (perhaps because we're so close to Carlsbad?) even given the late season. There is much, MUCH more Asian produce at Irvine.

      Of course you're right about the sheer variety at Hollywood, and nothing but SM Wednesday really compares. I suppose once or twice a year when I absolutely have to have something, I could deal with Hollywood -- if for no other reason than black raspberries and deer strawberries don't EVER make it to Irvine, and that makes me a sad Ubergeek.

      1. re: Das Ubergeek
        Dommy Jul 19, 2009 10:24 PM

        Yeah, I also have note that I smirked about your parking comment... In all my times at the Irvine market, I've had the HARDEST time parking.... Seriously, I've been almost hit several times from people rushing home with their Whoppers... :P I've never had a problem at the HFM, we just park at the Arclight and walk over... also very inexpensive since the Market validates it...

        --Dommy!

        1. re: Dommy
          Das Ubergeek Jul 19, 2009 10:31 PM

          Oh, I park on the Trader Joe's side, get a cup of coffee at Peet's or Le Diplomate, and walk through. I can't imagine trying to park on the northwest side (near the brew company or the Indian restaurant)!

          1. re: Das Ubergeek
            Dommy Jul 19, 2009 10:35 PM

            Thanks... It has never occurred to me since I think of most TJs parking as a Contact Sport at well... (Trying to navigate the one in Santa Monica has scarred me for life...)

            --Dommy!

            1. re: Dommy
              j
              Jase Jul 20, 2009 09:50 PM

              Dommy, for our general neighborhood, I love the TJ's in Culver City. An honest to goodness parking structure with plenty of space and defined aisles to herd drivers.

              1. re: Jase
                Dommy Jul 20, 2009 10:17 PM

                I agree! Although I'm close enough not to have to drive there all that often and often ride my bike... :) Although, I should note that parking structure was put up by the CITY... and lest I remind you their ORIGINAL Culver City location which makes the parking situation at the Santa Monica one look good... I tells ya... TJs can not be trusted with parking lots...

                -Dommy!

                1. re: Dommy
                  j
                  Jase Jul 20, 2009 10:42 PM

                  True. I think that's why I was always shocked about the Irvine one. Plenty of easy parking. That was another thing I loved about the Irvine FM. Park once and I could hit TJ's also. It made it a lot easier to pick up those one or two items instead of justifying a separate trip. Irvine, I could get breakfast, the huge variety of items and TJ, all in one spot.

                  If the Mar Vista FM had a bakery that carried dependable breakfasty items, I would be immensely happy. I haven't been thrilled with anything I've tried. Delices scones and tarts just don't do it for me.

            2. re: Das Ubergeek
              j
              Jase Jul 20, 2009 09:49 PM

              DU, you and I might have inadvertently participated in the county exchange program. I think you moved down to OC about the same time as we moved back to LA.. As much as I like our (as Dommy would say) homey Sunday Mar Vista market, I do miss the Irvine one. The Saturday SM one is pretty good but prices also seem high and I have to deal with the Promenade factor. And by gosh do I miss Rachel's delectable offerings at Black Market. I've yet to find an acceptable replacement on the Westside surprisingly.

              As for parking at Irvine, the TJ side is definitely the key. OC TJ parking lots don't seem to be the nightmare that LA TJ ones are. I used to stop at that coffee shop when it was Diedrich's and head over to Blackmarket for a scone to go with the coffee. Perfect breakfast to start the day of shopping.

              After this review, I don't know if I want to bother venturing over to Hollywood when I've got the SM one for more exotic offerings and the Mar Vista one for my weekly needs. Not to mention that I get to walk over to Mar Vista and not deal with parking.

              1. re: Jase
                Das Ubergeek Jul 21, 2009 09:12 AM

                How funny -- you've described almost exactly my routine on Saturdays. Peets for coffee, a scone from either Blackmarket or Picket Lane (a new addition), the market, and then TJ's and, if required, Wholesome Choice.

                I agree with Dommy that the West LA and Valley TJ's have awful, awful parking, except the Palms one, which is the sanest of the bunch.

                1. re: Das Ubergeek
                  j
                  Jase Jul 21, 2009 11:58 AM

                  How could I forget Wholesome Choice! Now you're really making me miss the easy Saturday routine I had. Escape out that back entrace of the TJ's lot, a quick left on Culver, zip right into that parking lot and another quick right out and the 405 is right there. Made for very efficient Saturday morning shopping to get anything I couldn't find at Stater Brothers. Which was my go to store for inexpensive staples.

                  One of the few things I miss about OC. It certainly takes a bit more planning to do my shopping in West LA.

                  Picket Lane? I'm headed down for a 1 p.m. Angel's game this Saturday. Maybe I might go down early and visit the market old times sakes and some goodies. At the very least, I'll stock up on some Blackmarket items for my wife. Any recommenations on Picket Lane items?

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek
                    Servorg Jun 22, 2010 04:37 PM

                    And now that the new TJ's is open on Olympic just west of Barrington there is another west side location with ample parking

              2. re: Dommy
                Peripatetic Jul 19, 2009 11:41 PM

                Parking at HFM: typically I do a circle around the market (east on Hollywood -> south on Vine-> west on Sunset -> south on Ivar -> west on De Longpre -> north on Cahuenga -> east on Yucca -> south on Ivar -> repeat.). It rarely takes more than 5 minutes to find on-street parking unless it's after 11am. I agree with UG that there's a lot more sizzle than steak at the HFM, but there are a few standouts that make the fuss worth it, like Mom's Products (although I know they're at other FMs) and the woman with the wooley hat who sells amazing organic lettuce and other veggies on the west side of Ivar below Selma. There's also Kendor and the grass-fed bison lady and the avacado lady on the west side of Ivar nearish Hollywood.

          2. trolley Jul 19, 2009 10:23 PM

            i can only enjoy it right when it opens at 8AM when it's usually people really intent on shopping and not there for any other reason. after 9 or 10 it's way too crowded and the description of it being "oppressive" is spot on. i had a hard time with it and my local FM before hollywood was the ferry plaza in SF! somehow i was able to tolerate the crowds and the prices there and talk about oppressive and expensive!

            9 Replies
            1. re: trolley
              a
              AAQjr Jul 20, 2009 07:43 AM

              For me the goal is to be done by 1030 when it starts getting uber-crowded.

              And last time I went Harry's completely sold out of strawberries before 1045 or so and all they had on their table were some strawberry drink and green beans!

              1. re: AAQjr
                katydid13 Jul 20, 2009 05:48 PM

                I agree with the rec to arrive early. I've never felt annoyed or pressed in the pre-10 a.m. hours.

                1. re: katydid13
                  Das Ubergeek Jul 20, 2009 08:33 PM

                  I was done shopping and in my car at 9.36.

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek
                    a
                    AAQjr Jul 20, 2009 09:26 PM

                    Wow, try going at 11am! you'll have a lot of fun. We all have to do our own cost benefit analysis, I normally go to Santa Monica Sunday. The selection is really not nearly as good IME though, but it is less stressful.

                    1. re: AAQjr
                      Mattapoisett in LA Jul 20, 2009 10:03 PM

                      I find the Sunday SM one to be a Zoo especially with the Donkey rides for kids. It is held in too small a space for the traffic it produces and people hang out even more then they do at other markets. though I have only been once since the Mar Vista Market started it may have calmed down since people have options

                      1. re: Mattapoisett in LA
                        a
                        AAQjr Jul 20, 2009 11:18 PM

                        True, but all that stuff (mini horse ride, kids rock band) is out of the way from the produce vendors. I love the free and convenient beach parking as well. I've never gotten the closterphobic feeling that you can get at Hollywood.

                      2. re: AAQjr
                        m
                        msmerymac Aug 4, 2010 02:11 PM

                        I find the selection at the weekend SM market to be dismal. I've never been to the Wednesday market, but the Sunday market dedicates too much space to the donkey rides and prepared foods, and not enough to fruits and vegetables. The crepes are good, though.

                        1. re: msmerymac
                          Das Ubergeek Aug 5, 2010 10:45 AM

                          Comparing the Sunday Main St. market to the Wednesday Promenade market is like comparing a low-flow showerhead to a fire hydrant.

                  2. re: AAQjr
                    WildSwede Aug 5, 2010 11:56 AM

                    Yeah, even at the Pasadena Saturday FM you need to get there early. It seems the class of people who get there after 10 change from the early birds (more rude, pushy, etc.).

                2. s
                  schrutefarms Jul 20, 2009 12:43 AM

                  I'm with you. The HFM has never been that impressive to me.

                  1. SaltCod Jul 20, 2009 01:26 AM

                    It's a wonderful (albeit crowded and less charming market than it used to be) right in the middle of one of the biggest metropolises in the world. I used to live on Whitley, just a few blocks away, in the early nineties and the market had a much more low key feel then. But, back then, the whole neighborhood had a more shoot-y, drug-y, gang-y feel then too. Like all things Hollywood, the market has gotten more expensive, more crowded and more Disney. But, I'm happy to see so many people there and still find more to buy than I could every carry back to my car.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: SaltCod
                      s
                      schrutefarms Jul 20, 2009 01:31 AM

                      What I wouldn't give for Hollywood to have that shoot-y, drug-y, gang-y feel again.....I miss those gritty days...

                      1. re: schrutefarms
                        rednyellow Jul 20, 2009 02:26 PM

                        I lived on Grace during those days. Mixed memories.

                    2. Foodandwine Jul 20, 2009 05:30 AM

                      Das, perhaps the Saturday market at Torrance would work for you sometime. My son and I attend often. We like it allot and the "batting cages and skateboard park" are an added bonus. We do like the "Hipster Factor" of the HW Market, and see your point on the crowds. We never run into that at the Torrance market and I lihe the bountiful offerings. Im not an expert on the topic, and never been to the Irvine Market to compare. Just like the Torrance Market and wanted to share..

                      1. sku Jul 20, 2009 08:09 AM

                        I go pretty much every Sunday to the Hollywood market. The crowds vary by season. In the fall or winter, it's actually quite manageable, especially if you go early. In the summer months, it is a total zoo, but for me it's worth it. I occasionally shop at other Sunday markets including Larchmont and Studio City, and while they all have there charms, they just aren't comparable to the variety at Hollywood, which is constantly growing and improving.

                        Yes it's crowded and yes it's expensive, but hey, we live in the city, right?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: sku
                          j
                          JPomer Jul 20, 2009 09:54 AM

                          exactly.. And to all of the Hollywood Farmer's Market haters, I would add: imagine, for a second, what it would be like without it...

                          1. re: sku
                            m
                            msmerymac Aug 4, 2010 02:12 PM

                            Try going on a rainy day. It's dead!

                          2. j
                            jencounter Jul 20, 2009 08:34 AM

                            Okay, your comments about the Stroller People made me laugh out loud. Husband and I call it the Stroller Brigade.

                            They're pretty bad at the Encino Farmers Market, too. Until your post, I'd never really put my finger on why I get so frazzled at that market...but it's exactly as you said: claustrophobic.

                            1. f
                              Food622 Jul 20, 2009 10:59 AM

                              I do agree with you about the overcrowding and the high prices, but I have yet to go to a market that has the variety of not only produce but prepared food as well. The pupusas, chicken sticks, flan king, samosas, tamales, etc. all make it worth braving the crowds. That being said, is the produce considerably less at the Studio City farmer's market? The Larchmont market on Sundays is pretty much a joke.

                              1. Normal Garciaparra Jul 21, 2009 01:47 AM

                                If you're in the Hollywood area and dig the smaller FM feel, go to Barnsdall Park in East Hollywood on Wednesdays. They have a new farmer's market run by Kaiser Hospital (the operator is the one that does the La Cienega FM) that opened on June 24 and happens every Wednesday from 12 noon to 6pm. It's located in the street level parking lot on 4800 Hollywood Blvd.

                                They're also working with the vendors to extend the hours to 7pm during the Summer in case you're commuting after work.

                                1. Mr Taster Jul 21, 2009 10:04 AM

                                  I got the HFM every Sunday in the summer for one specific reason.

                                  Ken's Top Notch Produce is outrageously good. The yellow nectarines are consistently sweet with a robust peach flavor and aroma. The white nectarines also are full of juice and very sweet, but they do not have that same peachy flavor that the yellow ones do.

                                  Also, Ken's pluots.... my god man, they smell like perfume, taste like flowers, and burst with juice.

                                  Ask the guys who work there how to pick the best fruit. The best tasting nectarines should be a little ugly, with a matte finish and lots of freckles (sugar spots). The pluots are pretty much all good.

                                  He charges $2.50/lb but for fruit of this consistently high quality, it's well worth it. If you go, tell him Adam sent you :)

                                  Mr Taster

                                  P.S. The $1 chicken satay skewers and khnom krok taste fresher than the ones they used to sell at Wat Thai.

                                  P.P.S. The $7 raw milk is delicious (and can be consumed by people with lactose intolerance! The live bacteria in the milk digests the lactose for you), though you can buy it for $6 at their saturday hub store at 3040 Rosslyn St., Los Angeles, CA 90065 (or you can buy it for $10 at Whole Foods).

                                  P.P.P.S I got 5 nice heads of organic broccoli for $3

                                  P.P.P.P.S. I got 3 huge baskets of extremely sweet organic strawberries for $4 from a vendor mid-way down the east side of the north end of Ivar

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Mr Taster
                                    Das Ubergeek Jul 21, 2009 10:06 AM

                                    I bought white peaches from him on Sunday and made the most unbelievable ice cream ever.

                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                      Mr Taster Jul 21, 2009 10:16 AM

                                      I used to swear by the white peaches and nectarines until I actually did a side-by-side comparison. The flavor profile of the white fruit is one note... sweet. The yellow ones are also very sweet, but are sultry, complex, robust. All the things you would want from a woman, but in peach form. Outrageous.

                                      Seriously, try the pluots before they're gone.

                                      And by the way... recipe please? :)

                                      Mr Taster
                                      (who is very happily married to a sultry, complex, robust woman)

                                      1. re: Mr Taster
                                        Akitist Jul 21, 2009 12:34 PM

                                        Not on markets but I did a search on nectarines, and they're basically fuzzless peaches, so you'd expect that peachy flavor. With a good one, that flavor is nearly orgasmic.

                                    2. re: Mr Taster
                                      k
                                      kainzero Jul 21, 2009 12:33 PM

                                      i actually tried ken's produce, because they're at the torrance FM on saturday (and IIRC, El Segundo FM on thursday). good stuff, the flavor king pluot was all sorts of different great flavors and wonderfully complex.

                                      also
                                      i am lactose intolerant, and i tried raw milk before. it works better, but i still get indigestion so i had to stop drinking it.

                                    3. c
                                      carter Jul 21, 2009 12:20 PM

                                      DU, I have the opposite attraction - Studio City is 10 minutes away, while Hollywood is about 20 minutes, yet I seldom can justify the additional time unless I need something very very specific. But Studio City or Hollywood at 8am are very doable in the summer. Don't even think about waiting until 10 or later - a zoo at feeding time will come to mind.
                                      I never eat any of the cooked food, just get flowers from Hector, peaches, apricots or figs from Tennerelli (sp?) Farms next door (peaches last week so good), and then check my favorite veggie suppliers, then head home by no later than 9:15 or so, post Peet's coffee stop.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: carter
                                        Das Ubergeek Jul 21, 2009 01:18 PM

                                        I was there at 8.30 on Saturday. I don't think even empty it would erase that claustrophobic feeling. Maybe if they closed Ivar at Sunset and tried booths in straight lines, but maybe not.

                                        If I needed esoteric stuff I'd go to SM; if I still lived in Valley Glen (remember, not Van Nuys, not not not!) I'd go to Studio City still.

                                        1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                          Gypsy Jan Jul 21, 2009 01:43 PM

                                          Der Das,

                                          I think (wink) that things might be pretty slow at work these days and that you are slightly bored and unchallenged.

                                          And, I am very confident that you knew full well that you were going to light a firestorm (all due respects to the drought situation in California).

                                          All-in-all, I am a fan and please keep the posts coming!

                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                            c
                                            carter Jul 21, 2009 01:58 PM

                                            Hope that was on a Sunday, not a Saturday!!!
                                            It must be the heat.
                                            But I agree, the claustrophobic proximity in Hollywood can be suffocating, especially after 9-9:30am. Never had that sensation at S/C, yet of course I always get there earlier and mostly avoid the rug-rats/strollers,

                                            1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                              cinzia Jul 22, 2009 02:12 PM

                                              It is the heat. I too was there from 8:30 - 9:30 last Sunday DU and was surprised at how crowded it was that early. As for parking, I do the Cahuenga corridor then either hang a left on Selma or go up to H'wood Blvd. The meters don't kick in until 11 a.m.

                                              In all honesty, HFM is my Sunday worship - I simply love it there. All the different offerings, the variety. I've also been to the Silverlake one on Saturdays which has a lovely 'green' to sit and enjoy a veggie crepe or something else to eat - but not even a teensy bit close to the variety - I just couldn't find things I wanted/needed there.

                                              And I've been taking my twin nieces there for the past 2 years, so since they were 3, sans strollers. They love getting a fresh young coconut and drinking the water (they remembered doing so on a beach in Puerto Rico when they were 2!) and they also like to pick out 'juicy tangerines' as they call them.

                                              So, sorry you don't like it but it is a helluva long drive from Irvine and I don't think I would continue that commute. One less person clogging the lanes! ; )

                                          2. katydid13 Jul 24, 2009 05:07 PM

                                            I have to put in my 2 cents for Friends at Ojai Ranch and their absolutely awesome fresh lemonade and fresh OJ. Addictive.

                                            1. EmergentProperty Aug 1, 2010 03:51 PM

                                              Some of us enjoy the crowds and the overwhelming mess of conflicting activities. That's what a city is all about!

                                              1. o
                                                Obessed Aug 2, 2010 02:30 PM

                                                Although this thread started over a year ago...I must agree with Ubergeek's OP! I find this market so OVERPRICED and annoyingly crowded.

                                                I used to stop here only to get the CSA box from South Central Farmer's Market - then immediately leave and go to Melrose market where I feel at home. I recently found out they are also at the Beverly Hills market - so I go there to pick it up, but still end up stopping at Melrose to see Jennifer (for fish) and Rene (for grass-fed beef/jidori chicken) and Keith (for bread/baker).

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Obessed
                                                  n
                                                  ns1 Aug 2, 2010 03:59 PM

                                                  meh, deals are to be had too if you look

                                                  Just went this weekend..
                                                  big basket of summer squash, 2 bucks
                                                  big bag of peppers, $1 (at least 40+ peppers)

                                                  some vendor was selling anaheim chile's for $4/lb!!!! Another had lamb @ $24/loin! No weight listed. I went to Von's and bought 1.25lb of lamb loin for $10.

                                                  When I first started going to HFM I bought shit as I went along. Now, I scan every stall first for prices and then pick them up on my way back.

                                                  Also, I started riding the red line to get there. < 5 minute walk from the hollywood/vine stop.

                                                  1. re: ns1
                                                    j
                                                    jackattack Aug 3, 2010 05:26 PM

                                                    I don't understand the $6.00 breads at the farmers markets, for the same loaf that these bakeries are charging $3.50 for in-store. And $2.50 a cookie for the $1.25 cookies.
                                                    I guess we are paying for their travel time from Glendora and Oxnard. Or maybe people in Glendora won't shell out more than $3.50 for a loaf of bread but people in LA are willing to pay twice that much?

                                                2. t
                                                  tastycakes Aug 3, 2010 07:29 PM

                                                  i adore the HFM, crowds and awful self-indulgent hipster "fashion" be damned, it's practically my whole reason to get out of bed on sundays. yeah, it's a bitch to navigate around all the moms asking their 2year olds if they want kale or rainbow chard that week (are you kidding me? you don't ASK kids what they want) and moving forward seems to be far too mentally challenging for some people. i agree that it may not have the homey feel - but it's hollywood people. the place smells like piss. there are crackheads and gangs of idiot hungover beyotches. but despite that, the variety is unbeatable. sometimes i go just to pick up my cafecito organico coffee beans and a sack of oysters. i don't find the produce to be any more expensive than other markets if you are patient, taste your way around, and hunt for the good deals. especially if you compare it to whole foods and such.

                                                  1. m
                                                    msmerymac Aug 4, 2010 02:04 PM

                                                    Well, you're right. When I talk to people who tell me that farmer's markets are cheap I admit that I have no idea what they're talking about because I shop at the HFM. But I don't mind. And the herb person I buy basil from sells all herbs for $3/bunch, which is a much better deal than Whole Foods. (Yes, I've compared the size - and no, I don't always shop at Whole Foods.) I also love the organic avocados down near Sunset. I mean, part of it is about directly supporting "local" farmers, not where I can get the best deal.

                                                    The part I dislike most is the crowd, for sure. Especially if we try to buy something for breakfast and then try to get a seat at one of the 3 pitiful tables they have set up on Cosmo. Or the people with shopping-cart sized grocery bins who seem to stop every 5 feet smack in the middle of the aisle. Or the people who disregard health code and bring their pets to the market. But it's Hollywood - what are you going to do? If you go RIGHT when they open (around 8:30), it's a lot less crowded. If you go near the end of the day (around 1) the prices might be cheaper.

                                                    Tip: park at Arclight, it's $2 and there are always a ton of spots.

                                                    10 Replies
                                                    1. re: msmerymac
                                                      Das Ubergeek Aug 5, 2010 10:48 AM

                                                      This is my problem, though: the very same vendors are at other markets and sell their wares for cheaper, in places where I don't have to deal with the awful crowds. Not all the vendors, obviously—part of the appeal of the HFM (and it does have appeal) is that it's huge and more specialised—but those $3 bunches of herbs are $0.75 and $1.00 at the Irvine market, from people who are local, $1.50 at the Studio City market, $1.00 at the Torrance market.

                                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                        Servorg Aug 5, 2010 10:54 AM

                                                        But if you live in the local Hollywood area the money you spend on commuting to any of the outlying markets is going to more than surpass whatever you spend on the additional cost of the produce.

                                                        1. re: Servorg
                                                          Das Ubergeek Aug 5, 2010 10:56 AM

                                                          Hm, I dispute that. I can drive from H'wd to Studio City and back for about a buck and a half's worth of gas.

                                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                            Servorg Aug 5, 2010 10:59 AM

                                                            Total cost of driving a car is about 50 cents a mile when you factor in gas, insurance and upkeep. And if you are going from Hollywood to Torrance you are going to be well over any savings you realize. That's without even factoring in the cost to all of us in air pollution and adding to the traffic congestion which gets worse every year.

                                                            1. re: Servorg
                                                              Das Ubergeek Aug 5, 2010 01:16 PM

                                                              I gave those as examples; there are plenty of markets within reasonable distance of Hollywood... and you can take public transport to the Studio City one if you like, with a day pass that costs $6. I bet I could save $6 by going to SC over HFM.

                                                              1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                Servorg Aug 5, 2010 01:24 PM

                                                                What's your time worth? How long would taking the bus to Studio City and back take you? No free lunches available. It's all a trade off.

                                                                1. re: Servorg
                                                                  j
                                                                  jackattack Aug 5, 2010 06:15 PM

                                                                  you're also taking a stand "I don't wanna pay your $3.00 price for something that is $1.00 two miles down the road. I do that all the time, I don't pay $18 for three pounds of pork chops at Vons if it's $9 this week at Ralphs, I go to both markets each week to get the specials. If I didn't, they'd be charging $18 at both stores and in the long run it'd cost me a lot.

                                                                  1. re: jackattack
                                                                    Servorg Aug 5, 2010 06:17 PM

                                                                    Hey, if it's two miles down the road then I would also weigh the factors and maybe take my shopping to the other place for certain items. But if it's 10 miles away and I'm saving $5...probably not gonna happen.

                                                        2. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                          Mr Taster Aug 5, 2010 11:17 AM

                                                          FYI, Ken's Top Notch Produce is still very good, but this year's crop of nectarines and peaches aren't as sweet as in previous years. The Flavor King pluots are still fantastically good (though again, not as sweet). They're as aromatic as flowers, and are incredibly juicy.

                                                          Mr Taster

                                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                            n
                                                            ns1 Aug 5, 2010 12:12 PM

                                                            I will visit the Studio City FM this Sunday and see what's up for myself...

                                                        3. katydid13 Aug 10, 2010 07:20 AM

                                                          I like to stop by the HFM at least twice a month, and you can definitely find some good deals, but I've found better prices on similar produce at the permanent Farmers Market (3rd & Fairfax), Fresh & Easy, and my local Trader Joe's. Blueberries, for instance, are always cheaper elsewhere, and every bit as good. I'm not sure where the $6 loaves of bread are that another poster referred to, but I'm really fond of the Bread Man's 9-grain, which is about $4.50 and is a huge loaf, not to mention really fresh & delicious. (I immediately freeze half of it, and it lasts me more than 2 weeks.) I have found something comparable, albeit smaller, at Fresh & Easy for $2.99. The one thing at HFM I haven't found elsewhere is Friends Ranch's fresh-squeezed lemonade, worth EVERY PENNY.

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: katydid13
                                                            n
                                                            ns1 Aug 10, 2010 12:32 PM

                                                            $6 for this giant 2 pound clamshell of blueberries @ costco, probably cost > $20 @ HFM

                                                            1. re: ns1
                                                              Mr Taster Aug 10, 2010 12:41 PM

                                                              I made the mistake of buying some well priced fruit at costco... cantaloupes and Washington cherries. I got them because I figured I'd have my best shot at getting them since they're both relatively seasonal right now.

                                                              2 big fragrant cantaloupes were about $4 and a huge 3 lb clamshell of juicy, plump cherries were about $8 I believe.

                                                              The cherries had the texture of wood, with hardly any sweetness, and the cantaloupes had no flavor. They're destined for smoothies and ice cream. What a shame.

                                                              I'll gladly pay the higher prices at the farmers market for clearly superior fruit (though I agree that the prices they charge are too high-- the problem is, if I want fruit that actually tastes good, my options are limited.)

                                                              Mr Taster

                                                              1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                trolley Aug 10, 2010 01:21 PM

                                                                i agree regarding fruit from costco or any big box supermarkets. taste like cardboard! got a watermelon from the farmers market the other day and it's so good i almost don't want to eat it b/c i don't want it to end. the guy at the stand helped me pick it out too. frankly, i've never had this sort of experience from any fruit purchased at costco.

                                                                1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                  n
                                                                  ns1 Aug 10, 2010 01:37 PM

                                                                  I will strongly disagree about the blueberries. They are ridiculously good; I actually sit there and pick at em and taste the packages.

                                                                  No comment on the cantaloupes/cherries.

                                                                  That said, if you didn't like em, you shoulda brought it back. Another Costco benefit.

                                                                  re: Trolley

                                                                  meh, I'm pretty happy with their pineapples/blueberries, and I never feel gouged like I do @ HFM. $6 for a giant 1 gal of fresh sqeeze OJ. HFM was selling 1qt for $8.

                                                                  1. re: ns1
                                                                    trolley Aug 10, 2010 03:06 PM

                                                                    pineapples are mangos fine at costco. it really comes down to personal need as well. we end up tossing half of the fruit from costco b/c our small family just can't keep up. i also like buying organic and no spray for items like blueberries for the little one at home. so in the end, i pay less when I buy at the HFM or the other smaller markets b/c i need less. yeah, a qt of OJ for $8 is something we always avoid!

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