“In July 1934 a contingent of farmers pulled their trucks onto an expanse of empty land at the property known as Gilmore Island at the corner of Third and Fairfax in Los Angeles. They displayed their produce on the tailgates of their vehicles, to their delight, customers quickly arrived … The atmosphere was casual, the open air commerce enticing, the goods fresh, and the result remarkable. Farmers Market became an instant institution.”
And it remains so today. One Saturday morning in late December, Coccinelle and I met up with my cousin Kathie and her husband Phil for breakfast there, and after we parted at the restaurant I took Coccinelle for a tour of the Market.
What started as a “truck farm” eventually blossomed into a permanent open-air venue with dozens of covered stalls and several enclosed little shops selling all kinds of food to eat on the premises, meat and produce and pastries to take home, touristy trinkets, and much more.
Locals and visitors alike come to eat and shop. Beautiful fruits and vegetables can be had year-round, and it’s a fantastic place for people watching.
When we were kids one of our favorite stalls was Magees, which sells a huge variety of nuts.
What really we drew us, though, was the peanut butter machine, where the freshly ground nut butter would slide down the chute and into the tub to be mixed and mixed and mixed by a giant paddle:
I think Coccinelle’s favorite might have been Littlejohn’s:
If you’re there at the right time, you can watch them make their delicious English Toffee right there. We missed it, so had to content ourselves with letting Ian, who was working the counter, help us buy a piece to take home:
We also spotted one of the angels from the Community of Angels Sculptural Art Project! Between 2000 and 2002, several hundred artist-decorated cast sculptures of angel figures were displayed all around the Los Angeles basin, most of which were eventually auctioned off for charity. Some of them were given permanent homes in public spaces, and this is one of them. Appropriately for a tourist mecca like the Farmers Market, this is the Travel Angel:
(You can find links to pictures of many of the angels at http://www.publicartinla.com/Community_of_Angels/)