By: Caroline Tsai, a Let’s Go! researcher-writer
Are you a die-hard farmers market aficionado? Do you love fresh fruits and veggies? Are you going to LA any time soon?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then you must visit The Grove Farmers Market!
What’s so special about The Grove Farmers Market, anyway?
The Grove is an upscale shopping center with a variety of retail stores and is known as a celebrity hangout spot. But what really establishes its spot on the map of Los Angeles is what’s right next to it: The Original Los Angeles Farmers Market. Originally established in 1880 by A.F. Gilmore, it opened to the public in 1934. It’s now a popular location for LA natives and tourists alike to grab a bite to eat and peruse the organic produce stands for fresh fruit.
This is not a regular farmers market comprised of tents set up only temporarily to be quickly dismantled. The LA Farmers Market is a permanent installation on Fairfax and Third, which allows prices to be fairly reasonable and restaurants to be relatively constant. The buildings that house the restaurants are the original 1940s structures, still standing today. An exact replica of the original clock tower stands next to the marketplace.
Inside tour of The Grove Farmers Market
Now, let me walk you through the tour. Our first tasting is at a fresh fruit market, where we sample honeydew melon, strawberries, and coconut. Next, we move onto a Brazilian barbecue, which charges by the pound and is usually packed during lunch hours. I feel like there’s nothing you can’t find at the Farmers Market: whether it’s fresh French baguettes or raw oysters, authentic Cajun gumbo or English toffee. It can all be found right here. A chef ladles batter for French crêpes while a butcher grinds meat, and next to them, a vendor grinds peanuts into organic fresh peanut butter. I wish I had multiple days to peruse the market, which seems to never end. I’d need more time and at least three more stomachs before I could adequately sample all of its offerings.
Some of the storefronts moved in as recently as a few months ago; others, like Magee’s Deli, are celebrating their centennial. In many ways, the Farmers Market is all about celebrating and treasuring traditions. Shoppers still use the same wood carts used in the ‘30s and ‘40s. These hand-assembled carts are even painted in Farmers Market green (a patented shade of bright green).
There’s something comforting about this place’s regularity, the knowledge that it will stay the same, for the most part. It’s almost like a natural structure of the environment. Surrounding structures will evolve over time—the Gilmore Stadium and Field replaced by CBS Television Studios, the way cities naturally grow. However, the Farmers Market will still be here, the bustle of shoppers at the organic fruit market, the grinding of machines, the rattle of the green carts against the pavement.
You can also check out this link for more information on the LA Farmers Market.
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