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Happy Deals: Farmers’ Market | Vermont & Wilshire | LA,CA

November 20, 2009

How can you:

  • Save money on grocery shopping
  • Go on an adventure
  • Be good to the earth
  • And be good to your constitution all at the same time?

Go to a farmers’ market of course.

I’ve been blessed to stroll the aisles of farmers’ markets, around the world, from Beverly Hills, CA, to Mandeville, Jamaica, from Lyon, France, to a village outside of Blantyre, Malawi, and it’s always been a tasty treat.

Farmers’ Market @ Wilshire and Vermont: This is undisputedly my favorite farmers’ market in LA because of the prices, food selection and  sheer exoticism. Every time I go I’m introduced to fruits and vegetables I’ve never seen before. Some  have become enduring friends,  others are merely adventurous culinary memories.

Ambiance: The neighborhood is called Koreatown, but that does not begin to describe it.  Take one glance, you’ll think you are in India. Take another, you’ll believe you are in some part of the Middle East.

The fashion show is an added benefit of going to this market in particular.The patrons are just as colorful as the food represented at the stands.

I find myself always asking, “What is this?”  Vendors have  always been happy to give me tips on how to prepare my mystery selections. They advise that a particular green will bleed red when I cook it or that I have to remove the stringy part of  the stems of the pumpkin leaves.

Offerings: As you enter, you’ll be greeted by the  haunting sound of a pan flute  (is that you Zamphir) and  lush samples of fruit. If you want to buy some, the prices hover at about $2, not far off from what you would pay at Ralphs. The difference being here you buy from a local farmer, which of course is a way to reduce your carbon footprint and  exposure to toxins.

If you don’t know what a plumcot tastes like before you go, you’ll end up with a sweet taste in your mouth afterwards. It’s here where I first encountered this mix between a prune and apricot, just a few months ago.

Good Deals: Look for the Asian stand on the northern most end of the market, just in front of Chase Bank. Or should I say, just look for a line. I’ve consistently found the best prices here. It’s easy to spend no more than $4 for enough vegetables to feed a family of four with generous portions for a week. The prices on vegetables are dramatically lower than what you would find at a regular supermarket, even if you have their “supersaver”card. So you have no excuse not to eat your vegetables.

Amuse Bouche: After you are pat yourself on the back for your fruit and vegetable choices, I won’t tell if you indulge in one, I did say one, of the baked delights offered by Martino’s Bakery.   Maybe I’m saying it’s okay because that’s exactly what I did during my last visit.

It was only after I was charmed by the 85-year-old chief  baker, Amerio Corradi,who started  working at the company in high school, that I succumbed to getting a pumpkin muffin. I must say that every bite was a delight.

The Burbank bakery opened its doors in 1921 and it’s well-known for its tea cakes, but I was more than satisfied with my selection. The muffin was precisely what it needed to be– crusty, but not dry, moist and not gooey.

This Thanksgiving get your fixins’ at a farmers’ market near you.

Star Tips:

  • Bring cash and bargain.
  • Go late on purpose. The farmers will be even more willing to bargain.
  • Try something new, even if it’s just a sample.

What’s on your plate?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Happy Foot permalink
    November 20, 2009 4:11 pm

    One of the things I like about Los Angeles is it’s the Infinite Diversity of Infinite Combinations of people, places and food!

    Thanks for putting more on my plate.

    Happy Foot

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