With big weekend cooking done, and the busy-ness of the beginning of the regular week, there’s not much activity at farmers on Mondays.
In Los Angeles, there are only three; for me, Bellflower, Southgate, and West Hollywood are a little too far for me to risk being late to work on a Monday morning. So, though I go to the Brentwood market almost every Sunday, and went this past week for Mother’s Day flowers and baby bok choy, I did go the Beverly Hills market last Sunday.
When a couple of friends of mine lived right in the thick of Beverly Hills, a quick walk up to the farmers market on Canon for tamales or crepes was a usual Sunday morning hangover bang-over. My friends have since moved, as has the market to Civic Center Drive, so I haven’t had much incentive to go back to the Beverly Hills market, especially with the Brentwood market less than a five minute walk from me.
The market is visible from little Santa Monica Blvd; a right down Beverly, and a quick right onto Civic Center Drive is the entrance to the long, free public parking lot. Though there is a string quartet playing live at the far end of the market and there are plenty of people strolling up and down the street, the Beverly Hills market is the quietest one I’ve visited. Perhaps the strange, almost eerie, calm is a normal phenomenon of early Sunday mornings to which I am just not accustomed, since I usually wake up long past noon. Saturday nights are usually big for me ;)
Like Brentwood-ites, the Beverly Hills customers are mostly young families, with an occasional early morning run/walk-er passing through. We make our way down one side, stop for a moment to appreciate the music at the end, then come back up the other side. All of the produce is the same, and most of the farmers are familiar – I’ve seen them throughout the week in one place or another. Even the killer snails from Saturday in Santa Monica are here in Beverly Hills.
I stopped to snap a photo of some honey because after an encounter with Bill’s Bees and purchase of their amazing sage honey on Saturday in Santa Monica, I m newly intrigued by honey. This was a different honey maker. While I was focusing and adjusting the exposure (I’ve just learned how to use the manual setting on my camera!) I heard a loud, stern voice above me saying that I had better ask permission first. I looked up and he was glaring at me. Though I was a little taken aback, not at what he said, but how he said it to me, still I stood up, and said very sincerely, because I honestly was sorry, “I’m so sorry. Do you mind if I take a photo?” He gave me the dirtiest look, sucked in a short breath though his clenched teeth, rolled his eyes, and snarled, “Fine.” I paused. It made me feel really bad. And though I wanted to say, “Well, if you’re going to be like that, then forget it! I don’t want a picture of your damn honey anyway,” I replied, “You know what, that’s okay. Thank you,” and walked away. Silly sensitive me, I was sort of out of it after that, and lost my enthusiasm for the produce. We walked in silence the rest of the way through the market, then went home.
I came away from the market with two things. One, I learned a lesson. The honey maker had been right – and now I know to always ask permission before taking photos. But he had been pretty mean about it. *sigh* Through all the markets I’ve walked this week, sometimes I’ve asked, and sometimes I’ve simply snapped a photo, asked a few questions about the produce, and went on my merry way. When I’ve asked, the farmers have always replied with a cheerful “Certainly!” and I most certainly always ask if I’m taking a photo of a product that may have a label or a name. Spring Hill Cheese (great cheese, great people – they were actually from the Venice market) even gave me their business card. Even if I don’t ask, no one has ever said anything to me, and some farmers have even gone so far as to “style” the produce for the photo shoot, like the sweet old man with kumquats in Westchester. I always say it’s unnecessary, as Mother Nature does a pretty great job by herself.
The second thing I came away with from the Beverly Hills market is much sweeter – tomatoes! I had originally tasted bacon-wrapped cherry tomatoes a few weeks ago at Geisha House in LA. Though the rest of the food was forgettable, the cherry tomatoes stood out, so I had it in my head to try something like it. I wrapped bacon around tomato slices, roasted them in the oven, and added them to a plate of greens with fried egg. The greens needed nothing but a little salt and cracked black pepper, since the egg’s yolk was still runny, and served to dress the red leaf lettuce and scallions. Croutons were made with garlic and sweet mustard (a special taste preference of my guinea pig). If there had been some blue cheese in the fridge, that would have been crumbled on top, but *eh* no special trip to the grocery store this time.
And now my market mission week comes to an end, and I get to reflect on it all.
Sundays in Los Angeles County:
Alhambra - Monterey and East Bay State Streets, 8:30 to 1 p.m. (626) 570-5081.
Beverly Hills - 9300 block of Civic Center Drive. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (310) 550-4796.
Brentwood - South Gretna Green Way and San Vicente Boulevard, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (818) 591-8161.
Claremont - 2nd Street and Yale Avenue, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (714) 345-3087.
Encino - 17400 Victory Blvd., 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (818) 708-6611.
Hollywood - Ivar Avenue between Sunset and Hollywood boulevards, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (323) 463-3171.
Long Beach (Southeast) - Alamitos Bay Marina, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (866) 466-3834.
Los Angeles (Larchmont Village) - Larchmont Boulevard, between 1st Street and Beverly Boulevard, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (818) 591-8161.
Leimert Park Village - Parking lot of the Vision Theater at 43rd Street and Degnan Boulevard, , 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (323) 463-3171.
Los Angeles (Melrose Place) - Melrose Place and Melrose Avenue, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (818) 591-8161.
Malibu - 23555 Civic Center Way, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (310) 457-4537.
Montrose - 2200 and 2300 block of Honolulu Avenue, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (805) 637-6635.
Pacific Palisades - Swarthmore Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (818) 591-8161.
Palos Verdes-Rolling Hills Estates - Peninsula Shopping Center, Hawthorne Boulevard at Silver Spur Road, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (310) 324-3994.
Santa Monica - Ocean Park Boulevard and Main Street, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (EBT) (310) 458-8712.
Studio City - Ventura Place and Ventura Boulevard., 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (818) 761-4065.
West Los Angeles - 11360 Santa Monica Boulevard, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (310) 281-7855.
Sundays in Orange County:
Laguna Niguel - Plaza de la Paz Shopping Center, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (714) 573-0374.
San Clemente Village - In front of the community center, 200 block of Avenida del Mar, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (949) 492-6000.
Sundays in Riverside County;
Menifee Valley - 26852 Scott Road, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Starting in June, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (951) 491-4111.
Sundays in Ventura County
Santa Clarita - College of the Canyons, Lot 8, Valencia Boulevard, 8:30 a.m. to noon. (805) 529-6266.
Ojai - 300 E. Matilija St., 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (805) 698-5555.
Oxnard-Channel Islands - Channel Islands and Harbor boulevards, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (805) 643-6458.