Best farmers market for tourists?
We are headed to LA for the first time very soon and were told by a few friends to check out the Farmer's Market at the Grove - I couldn't find one at the Grove when I looked at their site. Is there another tourist/popular farmer's market that happens on Saturdays? Thanks!
Probably the best one on Saturday is in Santa Monica at Arizona and 3rd (which the place link will cover if you click on the website link included). But that said you might just peruse this list and see if any others are beckoning you: http://www.farmernet.com/events/cfms
Santa Monica Farmers' Market (Arizona and 2nd
)Arizona Ave Santa Monica CA, Arizona Ave Santa Monica, CA
Perhaps some clarification is in order for visitors: the Original Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax has been there since the 1930s and is not a "farmer's market" in the usual sense of a temporary weekly market of local farmers, bakers, cheesemakers, etc. It's a permanent structure (or set of structures, really) with full-time tenant retailers and small restaurants. Some of those retailers and restaurants are highly recommended by LA 'Hounds, others less so (and some are just selling tourist souvenir junk, but they're avoided easily enough).
The Grove was appended on an adjacent piece of land about 10 years ago. It's a nice enough mall, as malls go, and has a neat fountain show, but there's better eating to be had in Farmer's Market (and plenty of other places within a 10 minute walk on 3rd or Fairfax or Beverly).
As for traditional farmer's markets, some of the bigger Saturday ones are in Santa Monica, Pasadena, and Torrance; if you will be staying close to any of those they're worth a visit.
if you need a Saturday market, try the one in Silverlake. It's small, but there's lots of food if you're hungry and also some jewelry, candle, and soap vendors. Then, if the stores are open, like around 11, you can walk down Sunset to the Spice Station, the Silverlake Cheese shop, etc etc etc. There's lots of cute little shops over there to explore.
The Farmer's Market near The Grove shopping mall is much more retail and food counter-oriented. Please keep in mind that the more modern tradition of temporary stalls that set up on closed streets are mostly focused on actual agricultural items and artisanal goods to a lesser degree. The two biggest FMs that get Chow approval are already mentioned - Arizona/3rd Street on Wednesdays (and Saturdays about 50% smaller) in Santa Monica, and Ivar/Selma near Hollywood Blvd on Sundays in Hollywood.
The Santa Monica FM definitely has more focus on produce - it draws chefs from the best local restaurants and serious cooks who want the freshest and most interesting produce. There are some artisan products and some food stands, but to me, it's all about the produce.
The Hollywood FM is quite good as well - produce is solid with many stands selling great seasonal produce, but there's also a strong focus on artisan goods as well as crafts, as well as more food stands that do offer some very good street food.