From Mar Vista to Hollywood – and all of the fruits and veggies in between.
By Sara Suskin
One of the great things about summertime is the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables that become available at our local farmer’s markets. Stone fruit, figs, corn, and bright heirloom tomatoes suddenly begin to grace the stalls beginning in June and stick around until September, when we are forced to eagerly await their return the following year. California is blessed to have so many farms within its’ borders and Los Angeles residents are even luckier that they have access to so much of it.
So, what are you waiting for? Make the most of the season and visit your neighborhood stand.
Wednesdays from 8:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Arizona Ave. between Fourth and Ocean
It’s hard to go wrong with peaches this time of year, but we found some definite winners at Tenerelli Orchards. Their Summer Lady yellow peaches, Fire Pearl white nectarines and Snow Giant white peaches were so sweet, flavorful and, in a surprising twist, crunchy (just go with it). Another shocker was the whole-wheat sandwich bread (from a local Sun Valley bakery) with a slight rye tang that was somehow both light and hearty at the same time. If you prefer a slightly more substantial snack, the Border Grill truck can often be found parked in the center of the market.
Sundays from 10 AM – 2 PM
Melrose Place between La Cienega and Orlando
Located on a small offshoot off of bustling Melrose, this little market is jam-packed full of picture-perfect produce. Tubs of grapes and baskets of strawberries are just a few of the gems you’ll wind up taking home. Before grabbing a latte at Alfred, pick up a basket of zucchini blossoms, a few ears of corn and check out the cheese truck for their weekly selection, and you’ve just got yourself a lovely summer meal (rosé not included, but suggested).
Sundays from 8 AM – 2 PM
Ventura between Laurel Canyon and Radford
With such a wide variety of pluots and plums (not to mention lesser known apriums and plumcots) it might be a bit overwhelming to try and choose the perfect ones. The good news is that you can’t go wrong—some are jammier, others have a little bit of acid but all of them will taste amazing eaten straight away, topping a salad or baked into a crisp or pie. One variety with a nice balance is the Dinosaur Egg pluot, which has a pinkish interior and speckled skin. For a snack or lunch, we recommend Mama Musubi's Japanese rice balls (the yakitori crispy rice and kelp seaweed samplings are stellar) or a simple but nostalgic snow cone.
Sundays from 8 AM – 1 PM
Ivar & Selma between Hollywood and Sunset
You can’t talk about LA farmer’s markets without mentioning the ever-famous Hollywood one. Wild lobster mushrooms, oysters (!) and fresh passionfruit are some of the more exotic picks you can walk away with, but if you’re looking for more familiar fare, not to worry— one of the dozens of vendors has you covered. At this point in the season, figs are at their peak and can be found for four to six dollars a basket (look for soft, plump pieces, and if they’re splitting at the seams, they’re ready!). Need something more than produce? While the baskets of mini heirloom tomatoes can be popped in your mouth while shopping (as with the many patrons I caught snacking), you can satisfy your hunger by visiting one of the several stands selling pupusas, crepes or this eye catcher: Sno con Amor, which makes gourmet snow cones with flavors like Strawberry + Rose Water and Blackberry + Lemon. Lastly, if you need a gift or want to buy yourself a little something, browse through the hand made soaps, jewelry and knitwear booths for a non-edible treat.
Sundays from 10 AM – 2 PM
Larchmont between Beverly and W. First
With patches of sun peeking through the dense tents, you’ll feel like you’re strolling through a market in Europe instead of a parking lot off of the cozy Larchmont boulevard. Gorgeous purple bell peppers and multiple varieties of melons are something to stop and stare at (or snap for Instagram) while navigating the stalls. Sunday night dinner is a no-brainer with Cumin Express Chicken, magically roasted without any oil but perfectly seasoned with a delicious combination of spices and herbs. Bread Bar has also set up shop here, featuring a slew of French pastries and loaves. We rounded out our experience with a sweet and juicy fifteen-pound watermelon—a tasty souvenir epitomizing summertime.
Sundays from 9 AM – 2 PM
Grand View at Venice
Just a stone-fruits throw away from trendy Venice Beach is the quieter neighborhood of Mar Vista. Their market is only a few blocks long but hosts a variety of organic farmers and specialty booths, such as raw chocolate, cold-pressed juice and loose tea. Don’t miss the Jimenez Family Farm stand from Santa Ynez for one of their seasonal fruit pies (peach-raspberry is the current special), figs, chicken and sausage—as well as fresh, on-the-stalk garbanzo beans. Next, visit Jean Luc artisan boulanger for a crusty olive loaf, but make sure to grab a gorgeous five-dollar bouquet from the flower stand on the way.
For lunch, the options are a virtual cornucopia, but we were most enticed by Kai Kai’s Chinese Dumplings from Pasadena, where veggie dumplings and an iced bubble tea hit the spot. Just when you think you’ve got everything, stop by the community tent in the center for tips on gardening and to pick up a complimentary plant and seeds (we got seeds for baby purple basil, collard greens and sunflowers—perfect for taking the farm home with you).