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

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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; today, it's Westwood.

Parking in Westwood Village is a stressful gamble as it is, but with the late afternoon farmers market on Thursday, it’s pretty much a losing bet. LAist should have known better - gone home to slide right into our own personal parking spot, and taken the no. 2 Big Blus Bus, which drops off, along with a whole host of other public transport, right in front at the intersection of Westwood Blvd and Weyburn. Tip of the day: take the bus to Westwood.

Though the produce and food offerings are similar from market to market, and many of the represetative farmers are the same, LAist is finding the vibe at each market is different. The Westwood market is more of a social gathering and less a marketplace for cooks on the look for dinner ingredients. We remember walking down to the market from campus for lunch, a refreshing break from Baja Fresh, Panda Express, and (God Forbid) Taco Bell, in Ackerman. Lots of blue and green scrubs, white lab coats, and backpacks, buying long bags of kettle korn and newspaper-wrapped flowers. A small band is playing live music in the dining area that's set up in the center where people are enjoying crepes, tamales, galbee, shish kebabs. Oddly enough, there's also a group of fobby (and we use the word "fobby" in the nicest way possible) little Asian girls in uniforms with cameras whose tour must include big university. Yep, it's a bit more of a scene here.

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Our visit is late in the day, so some of the farmers are slowly shutting down, packing crates, folding tables, and breaking down tents. A woman with a slight, pretty accent is calling out an end of market special on cherries. We have to wonder if she's really a farmer; she's tall, slender, very pretty, and looks like an off-runway model. Like the industry tradeshows we've been to, have farmers, too, started hiring booth babes to help sell their wares? The cherries by themselves were beautiful - perfect for a cherry clafouti.

It's Thursday, so we're buying an alligator pear. Okay, so an alligator pear is really just an avocado. It was originally going to be guacamole, but when sliced open, the avocado was still pretty firm. The other two alligator pears would have to sulk in a paper bag for a few days on the counter for being so fresh. This one became a simple avocado, mango, and shrimp salsa, served with some flour tortilla chips (baked not fried). It's not quite a ceviche, since the shrimp were marinated and grilled first, but next time, we may try it with raw ahi or maybe even scallops instead. We also have this notion of making it a cocktail, adding tequila in with the lime juice. However, we may have to leave out the mango - who knew a mango allergy could come out of nowhere? *sad* We love mangoes. Now if it were an avocado allergy, we don't know what we'd do with ourselves.

Also on Thursday in L.A. County:
Carson - Community center parking lot, Carson St between Bonita St and Avalon Blvd. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 310.847.3584
Century City - Constellation Blvd and Avenue of the Stars, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. 818.591.8161
Long Beach East - 2525 Grand Ave., Long Beach , 3 to 7 p.m. 866.466.3834
El Segundo - Main St between Holly and Pine avenues, 3 to 7 p.m. 310.615.2649
Glendale - City-owned parking lot 11 on Colorado Blvd at Brand Blvd 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 818.548.2005
La Cienega - La Cienega Plaza, 1801 S. La Cienega Blvd, 3 to 7:30 p.m. 310.398.1786
La Verne - Old Town La Verne, June 3 through August 26, 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. 909.592.3002
Los Angeles Downtown - 735 S. Figueroa St., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 213.955.7176
Los Angeles Chinatown - 727 N. Hill St., 2 to 7 p.m. 213.680.0243
Newhall - 23922 San Fernando Road, 4 to 8 p.m. 661.255.4347
Redondo Beach - Harbor Dr west of Veterans Park, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. 310.372.1171
Redondo Beach - Torrance Blvd south of Redondo Beach Pier, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. 310.372.1171
South Pasadena - Meridian Ave between Mission and El Centro streets, 4 to 8 p.m. 818.786.6612
West Hollywood - 710 N. San Vicente Blvd., May 25 through September, 1 to 6 p.m. 323.848.6502
Westwood Village - Weyburn Ave at Westwood Blvd., 1 to 7 p.m., 310.208.6115

Thursday in Orange County:
Anaheim - Center Street Promenade at Lemon St, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 714.956.3586
Costa Mesa - Orange County Fairgrounds, 88 Fair Drive, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 714.573.0374.
Coto de Caza - Coto Sports Park, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 909.229.3329
Fullerton - Wilshire Ave between Harbor Blvd and Pomona Ave, 4 to 8:30 p.m. 714.738.6545
Orange - Glassell St and Almond Ave 2 to 6 p.m. 714.633.3934

Thursday in San Bernardino County:
Lake Arrowhead Village - 28200 Hwy 189, 5 to 8 p.m., starting May 27. 909.337.2533
Redlands - East State St between Orange and 9th sts, 6 to 9:00 p.m. 909.798.7629
Upland - 9th St and Second Ave, April to October, 5 to 9 p.m. 714.345.3087
Victorville - Victor Valley College Upper Campus, 8 a.m. to noon. 760.247.3769

Thursday in Ventura County:
Oxnard - Plaza Park, Corner of 5th and C streets. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 805.483.7960
Thousand Oaks - Oaks Shopping Center, Wilbur Rd and West Thousand Oaks Blvd, winter, 3 to 6:30 p.m.; summer, until 7 p.m. 805.529.6266