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Delicious Spree LA to Z...F is for Farmers' Market, Westchester

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LAist is going on a delicious spree around LA from A to Z. Our week of F for Farmers' Markets was interrupted, but resumes this week. We're not blogging about the permanent Farmers' Market at 3rd and Fairfax, but the many certified farmers' markets around the southland that offer fresh produce from local farmers. LAist will visit a different market each day this week.

Wednesday is a big day for the markets, and on the westide, the biggest market is in Santa Monica. LAist decided to hit up a smaller market in Westchester. Tick tick tick, and as soon as 11:00 hit, we hit “Enter” and dashed to the printer for fear of being exposed to someone rifling through the reams of paper that were being spewed out. We snatched the google map to West 87th Street between Truxton Avenue and Sepulveda Eastway, just as a massive Powerpoint presentation hit the queue.

It’s an easy drive on the freeway before the lunch crowd hits the street, and the La Tijera exit is just a short hop. Just as an aside, La Tijera heading west from the 405 is very hilly – like a roller coaster. Very nausea-inducing like the drunken drive home (in the passenger seat of course) on Sunset Blvd from West Hollywood to Brentwood. And as an aside to the aside, we saw Buggy Whip, the supremely old school restaurant that many people talk about. Now LAist can say we’ve seen it, but we don’t think we’d make a special trip out to Westchester to eat there. It looks 80 years old, and we don’t mean 80 years old in sweet, grandmotherly way. It’s 80 years old in a scary way.

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The Westchester market is small, sandwiched between the drive thru window of a Del Taco and a huge shopping plaza. At 11:30 it's buzzing; not with cooks looking for fresh produce for dinner, but with power-lunchers. There's a huge red engine parked along 87th, and firemen are lined up at the stand selling grilled sausages and whole chickens. In fact, the line at the enormous, 5x5 foot grill stretches across the street-wide opening to the market and we have to shimmy in front of a properly power-suited woman on her cel phone. Every once in a while jet engine flies low overhead into LAX.

Either it was already late in the day for a farmers market, or the farmers had sent their B teams down to Westchester, taking the bulk of their crops to the larger market in Santa Monica, because many of the tables were sparse. On either end of the market, there are non-produce farmers. On the Del Taco side (how sad that we have to use Del Taco as a point of reference) two moms are chattering away in Spanish with the flower farmer. Red and yellow marigolds and little daisy-like things that I didn't know - did you know that marigolds are a natural insect repellent for rose bushes? The other end of the market has herbs.

Farmers markets never have anything overly exotic, and the smaller markets seem to stick with familiar fruits and vegetables that home cooks use. According to FarmerNet, summer at the Farmers' Markets is high season for stone fruits like peaches and plums, all kinds of berries, melons, grapes, green beans, avocadoes, peppers, tomatoes and tomatillos. Sounds perfect for a backyard Mexican fiesta barbecue with guacamole, salsa, and grilled fajitas. Or deep fry some peach and ricotta eggrolls.

Also on Wednesday in L.A. County:
Gardena - 1670 W. 162nd St, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 310.217.9537
Hollywood - 5601 Santa Monica Blvd., noon to 5:30 p.m. 323.463.3171
Huntington Park - Salt Lake City Park, Bissell Str at East Florence Ave, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 866.466.3834
Los Angeles - Saint Agnes Church, West Adams Boulevard at Vermont Avenue. 2 to 6 p.m. 323.777.1755
Northridge - Tampa Avenue south of Plummer Street, May through October, 5 to 9 p.m. 805.643.6458
Santa Monica - Arizona Avenue at 2nd Street, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 310.458.8712
Westchester - West 87th St between Truxton Ave and Sepulveda Eastway, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 310.568.9095
Whittier - Greenleaf Ave between Philadelphia and Hadley . April through September. 5 to 9 p.m. 562.696.2662

Wednesday in Orange County:
Fullerton - Woodcrest Park, 450 W. Orangethorpe Ave., 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 714.871.5304
Rancho Santa Margarita - Dove Canyon Drive and Plano Trabuco Road, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 909.229.3329.
San Juan Capistrano - El Camino Real and Yorba Lane, May to October, 3 to 7 p.m. 858.272.7054
Tustin - El Camino Real and 3rd Street, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 714.573.0374

Wednesday in Riverside County:
Riverside - Main Street between 5th and 10th streets, May through November 2, 5 to 9 p.m. 951.715.3400
Temecula - 40820 Winchester Road at Inez Road, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 760.728.7343

Wednesday in Ventura County:
Ventura - Pacific View Mall, west lot, north of Sears, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 805.529.6266