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Jan 18, 2010 09:02 AM

Best Farmers Markets!

I am looking for the Best Farmers Markets in the Los Angeles/Long Beach area. I keep hearing conflicting reports about which day's are better than others. I read the threads about this topic, but a lot of it is old and I do not have time to go to each and every one. I would like to hear from someone who frequents them regularly. Thank You.

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  1. i don't know about Long Beach, but in LA it's Wednesday Santa Monica and Sunday Hollywood.

    4 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      second Sunday Hollywood, but go early for best selection and before it gets mobbed

      1. re: JPomer

        actually, go to hollywood late for decent selection and lower prices!

      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Where is the Santa Monica Farmers Market?

        1. re: BFoodie

          Wednesday and Saturday mornings, centered on 3rd St Promenade and Arizona Avenue; it actually runs along Arizona from 2nd to 4th and along 2nd from Santa Monica to a little north of Arizona.

          There's also a market on Pico and Cloverfield on Saturday mornings and another on Main Street near the old above on Sunday mornings, but when people talk about the massive SMFM they're generally talking about the Wednesday morning market.

      3. Where specifically are you? I mean, the Sunday Long Beach one on Marina just south of 2nd is actually not too shabby, and they have some of the speciality vendors (Lindner Bison, etc.) from SM and Hollywood.

        If you're talking about anywhere in LA, the old posts have it right: Santa Monica Wednesday, and Sunday Hollywood. Torrance is also not bad. They have the most selection but also the highest prices.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          Thanks! I will also check out the Torrance one, higher price is OK if the quality is good.

          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            DU, Would you say that the Torrance market is pricier than Wed SM? I go to the Torrance one pretty regularly and don't think it is as expensive as the SM one, but it's been a long time since I've gone to the SM market.

            1. re: kushnerom

              No, Wed SM seems to be the reigning monarch of pricey markets. Torrance is still more expensive than, say, Long Beach SE, Cerritos or Mar Vista.

          2. The Saturday AM Pasadena and Thursday PM South Pas markets don't have the big stars of Hollywood and Santa Monica, but they're both very good. Pasadena's is more oriented towards fruits and vegetables, while the SoPa market is about 50-50 produce and prepared food vendors, and some pretty good ones, too. I've never gone there hungry enough to get much more than a snack, though I did buy a rotisserie chicken and some of those sinful potatoes from the guy who sets up right behind my favorite fruit-grower, and took them home for supper. The Pasadena market is perfectly timed to shop for weekend dinner parties, and many times I've had my menu determined by special stuff I found there.

            1. Thanks for all your comments, I will check out the Wed in S.M. and the Sunday in Hollywood. Is there a really good market on Fridays anywhere?

              2 Replies
              1. re: Frankie D

                Laguna Hills...

                You should check for what's where and when.

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  Thank You! I will look at the website.

              2. I live in the South Bay and am a big fan of the Saturday Torrance Market, where most prices I think are more or less reasonable (as long as you stay away from Harry's Berries!)

                The key to farmers markets is not which market you go to but rather which farmers' booths you visit at the market. Last summer, I bought some transcendental tomatoes from some Hmong farmers at the Torrance Farmers market for about $2/lb that were just as good as the ones I grew in my backyard. At the same market, I have bought stunningly mediocre tomatoes for the same price from a few different vendors. Yes, both were local, but both tasted radically different.

                Also, don't buy too much into the branding of certain farmers. Again, I have bought yellow nectarines from Tenerrelli orchards, and they were good, but not great at ~$2.50/lb. On the flip side, I have also bought some ridiculously tasty yellow nectarines from a farmer without a big brand behind her. I don't even know the farms' name, but the main seller of the family is a lovely, bubbly lady named Tracy. David Karp has never written about Tracy and her yellow nectarines as far as I am aware, but they are much better than Tenerrelli's and cost about $1.75-$2/lb.

                What I am trying to say is that you can't go to any old vendor and expect to get fantastic produce regardless of what market they visit. Rather, you have to scope the market, taste some here, taste some there, figure out which farmers have the best stuff at a decent price, and then ask those farmers what other markets they attend so you can follow them around. It is by no means an easy or quick process, but after about a little more than a year of going to the Torrance farmers market I am very pleased with the vendors I continually visit both in terms of price and taste.

                2 Replies
                  1. re: young_chower

                    I also agree, you really need to have a good look and taste from the various venders there. I went with a friend from Santa Fe to Torrance this past Saturday and he loved the many choices that we have at Torrance FM. They are not all the same as I used to think and with some thought and memory use it's fun to figure who is better and at what price... Good hunting!!!!