Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Why Farmers Markets Rule

When I tell people about the bountiful Farmer's Market here, they just don't seem to understand. They nod, say something like, "oh yeah we have them here too" but, alas my friends, you don't know a farmers market until you've been to the one in Santa Monica.

LA may be a cursed town in many ways, but this is one of its redemptive qualities. In Dubai we have a MASSIVE market that Dad frequented every Friday morning, returning to the homestead with a crate of apricots from Iran, bags of those long Indian green beans and a few fish freshly plucked from the Gulf that morning. Cut to Chicago -- I couldn't believe that the only way you could get fresh produce was from the stale, anonymous bins at the Jewel-Osco. Noone to stand behind their oranges, no way to taste them, rubbery lettuce... it was so sad!

So that's why the farmers market is so important to me -- it reminds me of home! Even the history of the LA farmers markets is touching; it started as an effort to bring fresh fruit and veggies to the inner city, areas from which the local supermarkets had fled (nice, huh?). Now you can find at least one farmers market a day in some LA neighborhood or other. The Santa Monica one is the biggest I think, or at least the one with the most prestige, since this is the one that many of LA's famed chefs frequent, in search of the goods for their menus. Many chefs will take what they buy that day and collate a special Farmers Market menu based on what they find that day.

Anyway, here's some photographic evidence I took today of the resplendent Santa Monica Farmers Market. First off, FRESH chickpeas/garbanzo beans. Ever seen these before?

Artichoke flowers:

4 different kinds of cantaloupe! And this was just at one stall!

Piles of heirloom tomatoes:

And my favorite, banana flowers:

And to soothe the omnivore in all of us:


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