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Best Farmers Markets!

Frankie D Jan 18, 2010 09:02 AM

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.

  1. goodhealthgourmet Jan 18, 2010 09:21 AM

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

    4 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
      j
      JPomer Jan 18, 2010 09:57 AM

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

      1. re: JPomer
        tablefor1 Jan 19, 2010 10:40 AM

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

      2. re: goodhealthgourmet
        b
        BFoodie Jan 23, 2010 10:57 AM

        Where is the Santa Monica Farmers Market?

        1. re: BFoodie
          Das Ubergeek Jan 23, 2010 03:03 PM

          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. Das Ubergeek Jan 18, 2010 10:07 AM

        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
          Frankie D Jan 18, 2010 01:23 PM

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

          1. re: Das Ubergeek
            kushnerom Jan 19, 2010 10:30 PM

            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
              Das Ubergeek Jan 19, 2010 10:35 PM

              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. Will Owen Jan 18, 2010 12:47 PM

            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. Frankie D Jan 18, 2010 01:21 PM

              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
                Das Ubergeek Jan 18, 2010 01:29 PM

                Laguna Hills...

                You should check cafarmersmarkets.com for what's where and when.

                1. re: Das Ubergeek
                  Frankie D Jan 18, 2010 04:20 PM

                  Thank You! I will look at the website.

              2. y
                young_chower Jan 18, 2010 07:44 PM

                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
                  Frankie D Jan 18, 2010 08:01 PM

                  Thank You, You made a good point!

                  1. re: young_chower
                    w
                    winstars Jan 18, 2010 10:44 PM

                    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!!!!

                  2. l
                    LauraKlein Jan 19, 2010 10:26 PM

                    The Wednesday market in Santa Monica is the biggest and the best for food. If you watch closely, you will see celebrity chefs there as well. Saturday in Santa Monica is good but not as big as Wednesday. Sunday in Hollywood is great and Santa Monica/Venice is pretty good on Sunday if you want to stay on the west side....

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: LauraKlein
                      z
                      zinFAN Jan 21, 2010 05:50 PM

                      Wed SM market may be huge, but the major prob is no matter how early you go, much of the exotica never make it to the tables and are reserved for the either the wholesalers or direct restaurant trade. If you're a regular & get to know the vendors on a first-name basis they might reserve a bag for you (or they may not).

                      Also just because they have esoteric heirloom varieties of whatever doesn't mean it's sweet or tasty. For example the LA times expert touted the virtues of Kishu mandarin but i tasted samples last week and they were just mehhh.....

                      1. re: zinFAN
                        b
                        bulavinaka Jan 23, 2010 11:30 PM

                        "For example the LA times expert touted the virtues of Kishu mandarin but i tasted samples last week and they were just mehhh....."

                        With all due respect, I'd chalk up your perspective as exactly that - your perspective. The LA Times expert is exactly that as well - probably one of the foremost experts on fruit. His name is David Karp, and he knows more about single types of fruit than most know about fruit as a whole. I've had the pleasure of talking with him at great length (and learning a helluva lot). To call him obsessive about fruit wouldn't be an exaggeration - he lives fruit. You and David may have different opinions about tastes, but if he finds something unique and satisfying to his tastes, I'd be one who would be interested to find out why.

                    2. m
                      maggielyn Jan 20, 2010 03:12 AM

                      Hollywood Sunday is the place for those of us who work weekdays. Go early for good selection and avoiding crowd. BTW J&P Seafood is the BEST fresh seafood I have found in LA anywhere.

                      1. o
                        Obessed Jan 20, 2010 09:39 AM

                        While I agree the Sunday Hollywood market has a great selection, I find it overwhelming and annoyingly crowded. Instead, I frequent the Melrose market on Sunday mornings - great vendors with good selections and prices. My must stops include Smart Fish gal (Jennifer is the best) and the bread guy.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Obessed
                          kushnerom Jan 20, 2010 04:32 PM

                          I agree, the Hollywood FM has too much. I like to look at all the vendors before I buy so I can compare price and quality of the goods, but you just can't do that here. I don't think the human brain can process all that you see here. I usually stay in my area and bike to the Mar Vista market when I feel like keeping it cozy and the Torrance market for more variety and my favorite egg/chicken vendor La Bahn farms.

                          1. re: kushnerom
                            Das Ubergeek Jan 20, 2010 09:53 PM

                            Interesting... one of my favourite coffeeshops in OC, Monkey Business in Fullerton, uses exclusively La Bahn eggs for its excellent breakfasts. I didn't know they sold at farmers' markets; I thought Lily's Eggs had the monopoly.

                        2. c
                          Clyde Jan 27, 2010 10:59 AM

                          i wanted to mention the small larchmont market on sundays. they have a few exceptional vendors. there is a preserve lady, who makes them herself with seasonal fruits with low sugar. then there is the cheese cracker guy. those are amazing, though expensive. $7.50 for 6 crackers that you cannot stop eating. pure cheese. right now, i am buying from the italian vendor. he has pastas and sauces, however i keep buying his empanadas and his soups and throwing them in the freezer to eat through out the week. also, exceptional tamale vendor there- i believe they are in a few markets- me gusta. it really is about the vendors you adore, not so much the markets for me.

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