Resident Tourist: The Farmers Market
Sure, we talk a lot about The Grove--some of it good, some of it bad. But sometimes we forget the deluxe mall mecca's next-door neighbor: The Farmers Market. And, yes, it's a bit of a tourist trap. But it's also one of those places that if you leave it be for a while, and then give it a revisit, you can find that it has a great deal to offer.
For us, the best part about the Market is the food. One might think that sentiment goes without saying, but we had forgotten what a marvelous melee of fresh produce is on sale for largely reasonable prices at the stands, how the various meat, fish, and poultry vendors display and offer a staggering quanitity of standard and specialty items, and how the darn place is packed with tempting right then and there eats. You'll recall that list includes the fantastic ice cream of Bennett's, and also boasts Moishe's Middle Eastern, Pampas Grill for some Brazilian churrasco, Loteria for Mexican, Ulysses Voyage for Greek, Singapore's Banana Leaf for Malaysian, and one of our faves, the French Crepe Company for savory and sweet crepes. We can do without all the corny souvenir and gift shops; that's where the trade-off comes in a local legend kind of spot that attracts locals and tourists alike.
But why do tourists flock to the Market? It seems that any parcel of land with a bit of history draws crowds, and the decades long staying power of the Market attests to that. Being next to CBS Television City, and more recently spawning its high rent neighbor, The Grove, certainly doesn't hurt its popularity. The Market arose almost accidentally, when in July of 1934 some local farmers parked on the dirt lot at 3rd and Fairfax, and customers began to mingle. By 1941 the Market was booming--it had been developed into a sort of Village Square with booths and crafts alongside the food vendors, and this was the year the clock tower appeared. And, really, the founding idea has been sustained since then. So when we do end up saying "Meet me at 3rd and Fairfax" like so many Angelenos have said over the past 70 years, we'd like to think we're not so much dragging ourselves to a tourist trap, but stepping into our local history...And scoring some delicious eats while we're at it!
More pictures of our afternoon at The Farmer's Market here.