One of the (many) things I love about living in Southern California is the year-round availability of Farmer’s Markets. I try to go as often as I can, and believe it or not, one of my absolute favorites is the Hollywood Farmer’s Market.
There’s something kind of incredible about stepping off the subway at Hollywood & Vine, where at any other time of day, you’re dodging camera-toting tourists, chintzy souvenir stands, and creepy, unlicensed street performers. But at 8:00 on a Sunday morning, the city is, dare I say, peaceful. The tourists are at Disneyland, the souvenir shops are all locked up, and the performers are probably passed out… somewhere. And on a Sunday morning, instead of finding what can all be described simply as fake, you turn the corner at Ivar and are suddenly transported into another world. And everything you see is real. Suddenly, you’re among neighbors and friends, families, every kind of demographic imaginable. And they’re all here for one reason: food. Not, as Michael Pollan would say, “food-like substances,” but honest-to-goodness food. Grown by real people with real hands and a real love for growing, raising, and harvesting their passion.
If I’m ever lacking food inspiration, the Farmer’s Market is always the cure. It starts with a complete survey of the entire route, sampling along the way. If everybody has something – this weekend it was stone fruit, blueberries and figs – you know they’ll be at their best, and probably cheapest. From there, I pick up whatever’s abundant, and do another loop for further inspiration. Hand-crafted goat cheese, freshly baked baguette and locally-harvested honey for my figs; long, fragrant sprigs of lavender for blueberry jam… And then, one final loop, just to make sure I haven’t missed a thing.
Do you love the Farmer’s Market as much as I do? Share your techniques and inspiration!