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Burbank, La Canada, Pasadena, or Silverlake Farmer's Market on Saturday

  • c

A relative is coming in for the marathon this weekend. He suggested we go to a farmer's market and pick up the ingredients for Saturday night's dinner.

No problem! I live in Glendale, but I am willing to drive a little. The farmer's markets I usually go to are on Sundays--so I don't know if there's one that's better than the others.

Burbank
La Canada Flintridge
Pasadena
Silverlake

Anything pop out? Bonus if the area is pleasant to stroll.

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  1. La Canada-Flintridge has a small one on a saturdays, it's right on foothill blvd.
    Their selection on veggies, berries and citrus is good. Bonus if you like cheese since they have a cheese guy there that has a really really good selection.

    Burbank has a small farmers market as well - but it's right at orange grove which is a stone's throw from downtown burbank. They have an amazing farmer who sells farm fresh eggs! The best!!!!

    Then there's silverlake - but that one is just ok.

    1. Not Burbank, gah. Why not make a little trip to Santa Monica?

      1. I've been to none of these but the Pasadena market, since I live just a couple of miles from it, but It's a good one. Excellent quality and prices on a wide selection of fruits and vegetables, plus a fresh seafood vendor, several stands selling good breads and other baked items, and some other prepared-food sellers. There's always a stand selling fresh hot Mexican items that I've never sampled because it's constantly mobbed, so I'm assuming it's good. My favorite stands are the urban-garden folks selling greens, herbs and fresh mushrooms, the family with a zillion varieties of potatoes, and the avocado people with their fruits carefully graded by ripeness, from Next Week to Right Now. Street and front lot parking is ridiculous, but there's a lot for the park adjacent to the west, with entrances on Paloma, that almost always has plenty of space. And then it's a pleasant half-block walk between the Marine Reserves lot and the ball-fields to the market.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Will Owen

          I miss the Pasadena Farmers Market at Victory Park on Saturdays. I used to eat at the Mexican food stall you mentioned Will and the food was very good especially thier posole. Mmmmm posole it's not just for breakfast anymore!

          I checked thier Facebook page and it seems that there is a grass fed beef stand now. The beef comes from Santa Barbara. Has anyone tried it? It had a good review on Facebook.

            1. re: SeaCook

              We've tried their beef shank and pot roast, both were delicious. Being grass-fed, of course those cuts benefit from braising, but took no longer to cook than other pot roasts, and we wound up with no big layer of fat that had to be lifted off and a truly wonderful dish both times. We'll be back.

            2. re: Will Owen

              I agree with Will - Pasadena is probably the best our of those you listed, cjla. At least, the most offerings and the biggest although I have not been to the Silverlake one.

            3. Pasadena, for sure. You can get everything you need for your dinner, or just about. Fruits, veggies, nuts, cheese, bread, fish, grass-fed beef, eggs, herbs, pastry, salad dressing, flowers for the table. About the only thing missing is the wine.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Jack Flash

                So is this the same outfit that's been selling meat at the Thursday South Pas market? I've not been to either one for a while - poverty etcetera - but the guys I saw a while back were selling pork and lamb, too. That would be nice...

                1. re: Will Owen

                  I haven't been to South Pas for several months; but the folks at the Pasadena market sell only beef. Their ranch is in Buellton, right next to the Dierberg/Star Lane/3 Saints tasting room (and some of their vineyards).

                  1. re: Jack Flash

                    Thank you for the information. In return, I would suggest you check out South Pas again. I've not tried that vendor's meat, but it looks like good stuff at not-too-fierce prices. Dry Dock Seafood is there, too, a much better setup than the fish truck at Victory Park.

              2. I have been to the Silver Lake FM but it painfully small. I'd find another.

                1. Have you considered the LA Farmers Market? Much more of an experience for an out-of-towner than say Pasadena where you'll be done in a half-hour.

                  20 Replies
                  1. re: RichardM

                    If you're speaking of the 3rd & Fairfax FM, although it's a fine old institution and worthy in its own right it is NOT a Certified Farmer's Market, at least as far as I know. The vendors there, to the best of my knowledge, are not growers but simply retailers. That said, you're right in declaring it an Experience. However, as a good place to scare up a nice assemblage of home-grown produce, not so much.

                    1. re: RichardM

                      As Will observes, "Farmers Market" really isn't anymore. The one or two remaining produce vendors aren't the growers. It's basically supermarket-grade stuff.

                      And even when it's pouring rain, I can't complete my shopping at the Pasadena market in 30 minutes. If I can be done in anything less than an hour, I consider it a minor miracle.

                      1. re: Jack Flash

                        It's been a long time since I've been to the LA FM. I suggested it mostly for the 'experience' factor not the need for a 'Certified' FM. So it's good that you and Will Owen pointed that out. It's also just off the marathon route so maybe the visitor would like to check that out.

                        I'm a regular at the Pasadena FM (getting ready to leave now) so I suppose I'm more efficient at shopping but it's not large in my opinion. I've been buying from the same vendors for several years and can get what I need and be in/out in about 15 -20 min. Of course, you can spend as long as you like.

                        1. re: RichardM

                          The only things that slow me to less than 45 minutes or so at the Pasadena FM are (1) getting through the crowds to reach the stuff I want and (2) getting through the crowds to pay for it. I pretty much keep to the greens people, the potato family and the brussels sprouts guy (who also has home-grown dried beans, yum yum). If I really want to buy some fish, though, add at least 20 minutes! You can't even see what she's got until you get to the head of the line, and then she likes to converse...

                          1. re: RichardM

                            Wow, you're efficient! It takes me 2-3 circuits through the market to get what I want/need (including one time through just to see what there is).

                            Today's haul included baby beets (3 colors), green garlic, first Alaskan halibut of the season, Gaviota strawberries from Harry's, grass-fed ground beef, plus the usual larder of assorted onions, potatoes, herbs, lettuce and bread. Oh, and flowers for the table.

                            1. re: Jack Flash

                              When do you guys go? I'm there before 8 and the crowds are minimal. I know they technically don't open until 8:30 but...

                              1. re: RichardM

                                No wonder you can be done so quickly! I usually roll up around 9:30. I was there a bit earlier today, probably 9:05, and just those 25 minutes made a big difference.

                                1. re: RichardM

                                  ALWAYS get there when they first open - that is my secret. I have found that the "quality" of the shoppers as the day goes on tend to get more and more rude and pushy. Not to mention the parking later in the day.

                                  1. re: WildSwede

                                    Not only that, but they are more likely to bring offspring... whose comportment generally mirrors that of their parents. Like it's their planet, in other words.

                                    Okay, WS, when do they open?

                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                      I get there before 8. I know that the Alhambra FM on Sundays cannot start selling before the exact time they open (I think they even ring a bell or something), but I am not sure if this is true with the Pasadena FM since I always walk around (and chat with everyone) to see what the offerings are before buying anything!

                                      1. re: WildSwede

                                        If it's like South Pas they can start selling whenever they're damned good and ready. That one's supposed to start at 4 but I've bought plenty of stuff around 3:30. Of course I don't have to wake up, shower and have some coffee just before I go over there...

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          Oh, honey, you have seen this girl at the Pas FM and you know I am all kinds of white trash at that time!! ;-)

                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                            Then you can go to Nicole's for the cheese tasting and get it early before the crowds have it. I love it, free cheese!

                                  2. re: Jack Flash

                                    "...Oh, and flowers for the table." See, that's my secret: no damn flowers! If we don't have any in the yard, forget it.

                                    Beets is what I do brave the crowds for - the folks who have the most of them also have the worst crowd; it's like a Trader Joe's lot without the SUVs. As for today, as luck would have it I've run out of money before I ran out of month, so it'll just have to wait until next week.

                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                      I buy beets first for the greens and second for the beetroots, which I like on the petite side for roasting, and then slicing onto a salad.

                                      1. re: Sharuf

                                        I love both parts; Mrs. O loves beetroot but despises the greens. As two good bunches give enough beets for two but greens for one, it works out just fine!

                                        That's what I love about being able to get freshly dug beets - the class and quality of the greens! I like to get a bunch more root things as well and do a big roast-up: different colors of beets, parsnips, carrots, leeks, fingerling potatoes. Brilliant hot, and delightful for cold lunches.

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          I must admit that I have yet to try doing anything with the greens. Do they cook up similarly to spinach?

                                          1. re: Jack Flash

                                            Yes. They're siblings to Swiss chard, which is essentially a beet plant that grows only greens, and can be used exactly as such, except of course the stalks are not so meaty. But they are about as tender as spinach. There's a nice Armenian dish my ex-wife introduced me to, basically just lentils with chopped chard stirred in at the end and allowed to cook through, then finished with a squeeze of lemon, and beet greens are great in that.

                                          2. re: Will Owen

                                            OK, finally tried the greens tonight. Sauteed in some olive oil with a couple tablespoons of shallots, S&P, and then a dash of vinegar right before serving = YUM.

                                2. re: RichardM

                                  They've only got the occasional "real" farmer out there—yesterday there was an olive oil vendor, Ha's Apple Farm from Tehachapi and Pacifica Honey. That said, the permanent FM is worth it if only for Monsieur Marcel and Marconda's Meat.

                                3. We went to the Pasadena Farmer's Market. We didn't end up buying a lot, as the athlete decided he wanted dinner out, as opposed to dinner at home.

                                  Lovely place, thanks!

                                  1. It's fun to read everyones' Pasadena FM favorites. I go almost every Saturday and love the connection with local growers -- not to mention the added flavor. I have a HUGE favorite I don't think I've seen mentioned yet. On the northeast side of the market is a stall selling a wonderful assortment of sprouts -- hearty sprouted beans ("salad mix"), several jars of various varieties of sprouts (alfalfa, onion, fenugreek, and at least 7-8 more varieties), as well as beds of pea and larger sprouts that are cut to order. I load up and enliven salads and other dishes for the week with added crunchiness, not to mention the huge health boost sprouts offer -- and for a few dollars a week. Oh, and I *love* the potato stall, too! :-)

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: broccoliluv

                                      When I lived in the area I would go to the sprouts stall for my weekly wheatgrass juice fix.

                                      1. re: SeaCook

                                        I go to that sprout lady for my weekly wheatgrass fix. I like it since they make it right there - not like the one at the Alhambra market that has it in little cups with lids on them. I LOVE their soup mix - soooo goood!! And the cats like the catnip!!