If you haven’t been to your local farmer’s market, then, needless to say, you’ve been missing out. And if you don’t have one nearby, and there are no farm stands anywhere close by, then I recommend checking one out when you’re traveling to a city or state that does.
In the United States, Local Harvest makes it so easy to locate one! No excuses…
I live in Los Angeles, and this city is riddled with farmer’s markets. I love how they make this big city seem much more small-town than it is.
And for the record, the idea of a farmer’s market isn’t a new thing by any means, and they are found all over the world. National Geographic highlighted the Top 10 Food Markets Around The World with the apropos headline, “Scruffy and chaotic or orderly and refined, the world’s street markets offer fresh, local – and often cheap – seasonal produce, alongside a slice of local life.”
It’ not just about fresh-from-the-farm organic vegetables (that are not only healthier for you than grocery-store bought items but also taste better)! It’s about getting to know a community, getting outside, trying new things that are generally made by the person or farmer selling the items.
Often, you can find local artists, from jewelers to painters to musicians, sharing their craft. Personally, I find it that much more special when I know who made a piece of jewelry I am wearing…
At a farmer’s market, you can ask the artist, farmer, or chef why or how their art or food is made. You can get to know the story behind whatever you’re purchasing! You can’t do that at a grocery store. You just can’t. The farmers market brings the food or art to life by allowing the people who create it to bring it right to you. And you can give them feedback. No middle-man. No emails about something waiting for a reply. No sitting on hold waiting for a customer service rep to help you out. Overall, it’s just a beautiful thing.
We used to live right outside of Washington D.C., in Maryland, and while we would attend farmer’s markets, what I also really enjoyed were the farm stands. We only lived there a couple of years, and as part of me just trying to get to know where we were living, I would drive and drive, stopping at whatever seemed interesting. More specifically, I would go, a lot, to the Potomac Farm stands that I would see on the side of the road as I was on these exploratory-drives. My daughter was still a baby, and while I wore her in my baby-carrier, I would have her smell the fresh produce as I picked it…and I would talk to the person selling the produce. It was a great way for me to learn more about where we were living. It was an incredible resource for not just food, see?
According to my mother, her grandparents had a farm in Viriginia in the mid-1800’s, and they would sell their produce off of wagons. It must be in the blood!
Yesterday, my husband, daughter and I attended a truly awesome farmer’s market:
The walk down to the market.
It’s located just below Yamashiro, a Japanese restaurant in the Hollywood Hills, just above Franklin Avenue. The view is spectacular, as you will see from some of the pics I post here, and, well…the entire setting just takes this farmer’s market and moves it up a notch.
A view of Hollywood, baby!
The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (where my husband and I were married) is the building right smack-dot in the middle.
Another view of Hollywood, with Century City to the right, in the distance.
“How cool is this view, Mommy!?!”
I had a feeling the food options would be awesome, but I wasn’t sure how entertained my daughter would be. So, I’ll start with the fun that she had and we’ll go from there…
She’s three and a half. What toddler doesn’t love a balloon-guy!?!
Showing off her new butterfly balloon.
Which brings us to the spin-art tent sponsored by Art Rebel.
They even had me give it a try. I did it “Surrender-Style”, which meant I was blind-folded!
My little angel and me with our artwork.
Alright…let’s get back to the food (and drinks). We started at the beer and wine tent. I mean, priorities, right? It was halfway through the market, so we came back later to the tents we first missed on our way in, such as the one for I Heart Pies. We’ll get to that later.
A beer for the hubby and a glass of sauvignon blanc for me. Water for the kiddo, of course.
After the booze stop, we went towards the music, The Furious Seasons.
A huge fan of anything pickled, I had to check out Pickled by Hattie.
Hattie was such fun to chat with (we talked spicy peppers, me being a love of-all-things-spicy), and I have to admit, I think the Spicy Bread-n-Butters were my favorite. Sweet n spicy!
We tried some of the fresh produce. The peaches were sweet and juicy, exactly as they should be.
We were introduced to Carlsbad Aquafarm’s oysters. THEY WERE DELICIOUS!
We actually ended up having way more than just these three little guys. I always tend to add a mignonette, but by the end of this tasting, I was just popping the little oysters into my mouth, with no condiments. It was incredible.
The Takken tent was up next. Their menu:
We went for the filet mignon and salmon skewers and the pork belly tacos.
The view, as we enjoyed our taste of Takken.
Our last stop, although we could have kept trying and trying and tasting more and more…Was to the I Heart Pies tent.
“We have three types here today, blueberry, chocolate-pecan and buttermilk.”
So, we bought one of each!
Well, we bought three small pies for $4 each, had them for dessert, of course, shared all three.
…Someone really loved the chocolate-pecan pie…
All in all, we had a little music from a local band, blind-folded painting, local fresh fruit, wine and beer (I forgot to see where the beer and wine originated!), Japanese food, oysters from Carlsbad, locally pickled pickles (with a LONG history), and three types of locally-made pies (made with love, right!?). We heard the story of the foods we were eating, having never met the vendors before, and it was another example of how we’re all connected…through food.
We will definitely be coming back to the Yamashiro Farmer’s Market and will also continue to check out other food markets and food stands, depending where in the world we are.
And as always, if you’d like to share your farmer’s market/food stand experience, please do! The more the merrier.