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Light Rail Level Up + LA's Farmers' Markets
Colorful array of city activities: food truck, cyclist, vintage car, barber, girl in quinceanera dress; 6th street bridge in the background with purple gradient overlay
(Dan Carino
/
LAist)
Episode 3
9:28
Light Rail Level Up + LA's Farmers' Markets
LA Metro's long-awaited K Line will soon be ready to ride. Seven stops will open later this year, taking folks from Crenshaw to Inglewood and Westchester (sorry but that LAX stop will take a minute). We get the tea from residents and business owners who've been waiting on this train for a few years. Next stop: Mar Vista -- to go shopping at the farmer's market, one of more than 100 in the county.

Metro Announcement

Please stand clear the doors are closing.

Ebony Hobbs

I can't drive, so Metro is my best friend.

Brian De Los Santos 

That's the sound of the light rail outside of the expo Crenshaw station. Later this year, a brand new line will connect this station to communities further south like Leimert Park, Inglewood, and eventually LAX. From LAist studios, this is How to LA, explaining this city in every episode. I'm your host, Brian De Los Santos. Today, we're all about connections. We're out here in Crenshaw talking to some residents and local businesses. We want to find out how this new line known as a K line will impact their community- and stick around for a little shopping trip.

Ebony Hobbs

I'm Ebony Hobbs. We are at Park Gardens, right off Crenshaw.

Brian De Los Santos 

Ebony works at a ceramic studio that opened up a couple of years ago, just a few blocks away from the station.

Ebony Hobbs

A lot of people drive, but we do have a few..like members and students who take an Uber to get here or take the bus which usually takes a long time. So hopefully it'll make it more accessible for people to come in and use the studio.

Brian De Los Santos 

What's the hardest part about using Metro here in LA?

Ebony Hobbs

I can't get everywhere. It only goes to certain places and the rest is just like, figure it out. So it'll definitely make it more accessible to get to Leimert Park and Inglewood-places that I wouldn't normally be able to get to. I'd have to like get on the metro and then get on a bus, or take an Uber.

Denflint Connections

LA is built on real estate. It was playing Monopoly: give me Adams from Crenshaw to Arlington, it kick everybody out.

Brian De Los Santos 

That's Denflint Connections. He was hanging out on a corner off of Jefferson when he saw us walking by.

Denflint Connections

We on Tenth and Jefferson, next is famous, Harold's & Bell's.

Brian De Los Santos 

He says he moved to the neighborhood about a year ago and he's personally excited for the new train line. But, he's not so sure Crenshaw is longtime residents are going to be the ones who benefit from it.

Denflint Connections

People in this neighborhood ain't going to the airport. And the ones that go to Leimert Park, they have cars. So maybe you couldn't get to Inglewood from Crenshaw without a car. But, the ones that was going that way, probably has already got a bus route they're taking.

Brian De Los Santos 

Denflint is also worried that the new development could push up people who have been living in this neighborhood for a long time.

Denflint Connections

They're gonna move these folks right on out. I seen a building start like this-zero, over on Adams and Crenshaw, and it was up to six months. Six months, you can get a building from concrete to people live in there?! This real estate market is one of the highest in the world, period.

Leslie Ward

I think with the changes brings more business.

Brian De Los Santos 

This is Leslie Palmer Ward.

Leslie Ward

And, I've owned Sportsman's Family Billiards for the last 25 years. My dad opened it in 1990. And this was his dream for the community.

Brian De Los Santos 

Leslie has been keeping her dad's dream alive since before the Expo Line even opened up 10 years ago. So this is the second new line to open just a few dozen steps away from her.

Leslie Ward

A lot of the billiard rooms are closing, as people ride the trains down from different locations and see that we're actually here, you know, I hope that brings different people to the community. And that we start not seeing so many vacant buildings, and see new businesses bring more people to enjoy the community.

Brian De Los Santos 

Metro is planning to open seven stations along the K line before the end of this year. That'll include Expo Crenshaw, the Hyde Park stop-which has been dedicated to Nipsey Hussle, and the station at Westchester and Veterans, but we're still gonna be waiting a little longer on that connection to LAX. I know, but we'll keep you posted. Now let's head over to a different part of town.

Brian De Los Santos 

Cherries, apricots…

Farmer’s Market Seller #1

One jambalaya, one red beans.

Farmer’s Market Seller #2

One jambalaya, one red beans.

Brian De Los Santos 

Blueberries, boysenberries.

Farmer’s Market Seller #1

Free sample of coconut milk, it'll change your whole life.

Brian De Los Santos 

Oh! Oyster mushrooms, garden plants, cumin plants. (music) Alright, y'all. I'm taking you on a shopping trip. One ale-and we're doing it at the Sunday Farmers Market in Mar Vista-just east of Venice Beach. (Singing) Okay y'all, time for some facts. California's got more farmers markets than any other state. There's about 120 in LA County alone. A lot of them are held on the weekends, but there's plenty during the week too-usually after working hours. There's a great list of all of them on the LA Almanac. We'll put a link in our newsletter, but you can also find them on Google Maps. At farmers markets like this one, it's easy to find local organic produce. And the open air can make grocery shopping feel like less of a chore, at least for me. But here's the real tea-most customers save money shopping at farmer's markets compared to nearby supermarket chains. And right now, it feels like the price of produce is higher than ever. So, that's why we're here at one of my local farmers markets. It's a trendy place to hang out. Maybe take your date, or family and friends. The food is less expensive and healthier too.

Brian De Los Santos 

Are these just onions?

Stephen Clark

Yeah, they're purple onions. And they're not just onions. They're delicious onions.

Brian De Los Santos 

That's Stephen Clark with JR Organics.

Stephen Clark

I can't wait for you to try that, man. A little olive oil, salt, pepper.

Brian De Los Santos 

I'm not the biggest chef, so we're taking Stephen's advice on this one.

Stephen Clark

It's a very mild flavor. So when you eat them raw, you could put them in a salad. And if you're going to cook them, my number one treat is putting them on the grill. Or you can also roast them in the oven.

Brian De Los Santos 

I got cucumber, cauliflower, kale, strawberries, and those purple onions for just 16 bucks.

Stephen Clark

Third item is only $1 more, man. Anything in the back table-

Brian De Los Santos

-oh, yeah, I have more stuff in here.

Stephen Clark

Oh, great. Yeah, keep it coming, man. Keep it coming.

Brian De Los Santos 

That's less than what I would normally spend at the supermarket, depending on where I go.

Farmer’s Market Seller #3

This is all grown on one farm. So it makes the flavor of everything superior to a lot of other farms that just use a lot of fertilizers to do their stuff, keeps them nutrients in the soil.

Brian De Los Santos 

They use this agriculture method called crop rotation. That's what keeps the soil healthy and conserves water. It makes the food healthier too. I know we love our pan dulce, but we also gotta eat our veggies just like my ma says. But this farmer's market has more than just produce.

Fernando, Farmer’s Market Seller

Desde temprano tenemos la línea grande.

Brian De Los Santos 

Wow, eres popular.

Brian De Los Santos 

That's Fernando. He's here with an LA based salsa brand called El Machete. ¿Que tenemos aqui?

Fernando, Farmer’s Market Seller

Teníamos-okay. Nuestras salsas, la mejor es la de aguacate, pero ahorra na mas tenemos la salsa verde y salsa roja.

Brian De Los Santos 

He says they sell the best salsas, but we'll have to try them next time because they're sold out.

Diana Rodgers

This market has been the central town square on Sundays since it began in 2006.

Brian De Los Santos 

That's Diana Rodgers-

Executive Director and General Manager of the Mar Vista Farmer's Market.

Brian De Los Santos 

She's been with the market for almost 16 years.

Diana Rodgers

As their steward, I make sure we have a place for people to gather, sit down, to rub elbows. We were never about making it as simple as buying groceries.

Brian De Los Santos 

Diana's info booth is at the center of the market. Right next to her is an arepa stand, which you know I'm about to check that out, too. On the other side, there's a group teaching kids how bees help the environment. Then behind her, there's a DJ bumping 80s dance hits.

Brian De Los Santos 

Why? Why do you infuse that programming into a farmers market?

Diana Rodgers

We like to give our neighborhood a voice to provide a place for them to come and do more than just shop every week.

Brian De Los Santos 

The Mar Vista Farmers Market is a great spot if you live in Culver City or Venice. And it's not far away from Ladera Heights or Baldwin Hills. Maybe I'll see you there one day. Pro tip: there's some great parking on the corner of Venice and Centinela, (whispers) but you didn't hear it from me.

Farmer’s Market Seller #4

Brian, order for Brian!

Brian De Los Santos 

All right. That's arepas, my producer and I gotta go eat. Next time:

Unknown

Not gonna lie. I was a little suspicious about what this was gonna welcome.

Brian De Los Santos

How a new farmers market is tackling a food desert.

Unknown

There's no reason why Chinatown can't have a farmer's market.

Brian De Los Santos 

Anyway, this is How to LA. I'm Brian De Los Santos. Support for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting a private corporation funded by the American people. I'll see you next week.