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Issue: Spring 2016

The Hollywood Farmers' Market


Celebrating its 25th anniversary on May 1st, the Hollywood Farmers' Market is a melting pot of cultures and culinary traditions revolving around the desire to eat good food-in season! For an authentic taste of Southern California's freshest, most flavorful and fragrant seasonal produce, 10,000-12,000 Angelenos make the year-round market at Ivar and Selma streets in central Hollywood a Sunday morning ritual.

Over the years, the market has grown into the place to be for everyone from food quality conscious neighborhood residents to the city's hottest chefs (to seek the best of the season for their restaurants). Celebrity sightings at the market are not uncommon. Even Hollywood's famous can't resist the lure of tasting the first peaches of the season-picked fresh that morning.

The market teems with a colorful cross-section of Los Angeles sub-cultures. People-watching is as delightful as chatting with a farmer about his Cheremoyas (a mango-sized sweet, white custardy fruit hailing from Mexico). It is truly Hollywood's "front porch." Tattooed moms and dads push strollers past sprouted seed bins bumping into sunglass-sporting hipster friends, who, quite possibly have come straight from a night of clubbing. Hand-in-hand, romantic young lovers wander dreamily amongst the oyster mushrooms and giant bouquets of wild flowers sharing a fresh-squeezed orange juice. Spry seniors elbow their way through the throngs, glad to tell you how changing their diet freed them of health problems! And of course, It wouldn't be L.A, without stunning model/actor types commanding the market's bustling midway flanked by Japanese eggplants, plump string beans and dark green vitamin-rich spinach leaves.

The market is a local global tasting table. Even outside of the official educational opportunities the market provides, such as talks with chefs, cooking demonstrations and book signings, there is always something to learn. Market denizens swap recipes as their beet greens and bok choy are weighed, and tow-headed toddlers enjoy a lesson on the African drums from one of the market musicians. There are endless produce varieties to discover-five or six different types of potato (from nutty purple Peruvians to sweetish banana fingerlings) and stone fruit farmers bring at least an equal number of plum varieties in sweet and tangy Summer fruit season.

The market is a family affair. Youngsters spend market day learning the family business, so your "farmer" may still be in elementary school. And there is also plenty to do for youngsters visiting the market: ever-changing crafts projects, tasting citrus samples, face painting- and on the right day you might even get to meet a newborn baby goat at the cheese booth.

The certified open-air street market boasts 160 farmers, producers and food artisans specializing in every seasonally-grown California crop, a bounty ranging from succulent June strawberries to several types of Fall squash and pumpkins, honey,  jams, free-range chicken eggs, grass-fed bison, nuts, seed and olive oils, cheeses and much more. The 30 local artisans offer everything from handmade soaps to jewelry and knitted goods, while 40 baked-goods and prepared-food vendors specialize in everything from vegan soul food to fresh loaves of gluten-free bread and gourmet tamales. It is a direct-to-consumer marketplace with all products originating from local California vendors and growers.

The Hollywood Farmers Market grew out of a desire to improve the quality of life for residents in the Hollywood area in the early 1990's. The then-innovative concept was to create a weekly community event for all; to establish a sales venue for California farmers, food purveyors and local artisans. The market was launched on Sunday, May 5, 1991 and proved to be an immediate success. The 501c3 nonprofit Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA), is the Hollywood Farmers' Market owner/operator.

The maret is held every Sunday, rain or shine, from 8am-1pm at the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Ivar Street in the heart of Hollywood.

Street parking is available or use the Sunset & Vine parking structure (off Morningside Ct) for a flat rate of $5 during market hours, Validation offered at the ArcLight/Cinerama Dome parking structure: $3 for 2 hours with validation. Alternatively, the RED Line conveniently stops at Hollywood Blvd. & Vine for a short walk to the market intersection. For more information, visit www.hfm.la. DH