Date posted: 12/26/2013
Established in 1979, where just four independent farmers convened in a church car park, the Santa Monica Farmer’s Markets have grown since then into an enormous movement across the area in which there are more than seven hundred representative events. Today there are four markets in Santa Monica alone, each with their own unique charm and the support of their local communities. The markets trade throughout the year, whatever the weather, and present an ideal opportunity for customers to get ‘hands on’ in buying their produce as well as forging relationships with the men and women who grow and cultivate it. If you will be staying in Santa Monica, be sure to spend a day visiting one of the farmer’s markets.
The Wednesday Farmer’s Market takes place each week on Arizona Avenue, between 8:30am and 1:30pm. This was the first of the current Farmer’s Markets to be established in Santa Monica, launched in July 1981 by the mayor with a clearly stated mission that aims: to enable the local community of the downtown population to buy good quality local produce at reasonable prices. Its first year of operation was a resounding success, and it has gone on to become one of the most diverse and largest grower’s markets in the whole country. It regularly attracts shoppers in the thousands, with record attendance set at 9,000 visitors. Many of the most famous chefs in Los Angeles come to the Wednesday market to purchase their produce based on what is fresh and seasonal.
Next came the Pico Farmer’s Market, set up a year after the first Wednesday Market to help spread the benefits to a wider community. Serving the populations of the West Side areas and local Santa Monica residents, this takes place every Saturday morning. In addition, the Pico Farmer’s Market often offers cooking classes free of charge via their use of adjacent kitchens, in conjunction with the Center for Community and Family Services. The Downtown area also holds a second market on Saturday mornings, widely known as the Organic Market for its density of organic produce and focus on these methods of farming.
Opened less than a decade ago, the Sunday Market is the newest addition to the calendar but has quickly become immensely popular. Held on Main Street, off Heritage Square, as well as selling the local farm produce for which it takes its name the Sunday Market is also a venue for the sale and promotion of local crafts, artwork, music and retail businesses.