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More Local Markets

Studio City

The Valley’s sprawling setup is a family affair

Sorry, kids, the ponies aren’t for sale, but you can hitch a ride on one while Mom and Dad shop at the Valley’s premier market. You’d normally have to head to the Ventura docks for a taste of the wild, sustainable seafood caught by Pete Dupuy of Ventura Fish Company. But the smoked ahi and opah pâtés, whipped up by Pete’s granddaughter from their catch, are available at their stall; the two hope to eventually supply whole fresh fish. The eggs from Gama Farms won the Los Angeles magazine taste-off this year; stock up on a dozen here. Hearty loaves baked by Homeboy Bakery benefit Father Greg Boyle’s anti-gang programs while sating your carb craving. The handcrafted signs for Dinuba’s Sweet Tree Farms advertise stone fruit in summer, Asian pears and pomegranates in fall, and Cara Cara oranges in winter. Beware the explosive Thai chilis from Yang Farm, whose specialty is Asian produce. Those bright orange nuggets at the LA Funghi stand? They’re lobster mushrooms, nestled in baskets alongside a dozen other varieties. //Sun., 8 a.m.-1 p.m.; Ventura Pl. between Laurel Canyon Blvd. at Radford Ave. | Map

 

Pasadena & South Pasadena

Two northeastern markets have characters all their own

Pasadena: If we had to pick the Eastside’s biggest market, it would be this one, held in the Victory Park lot. Many high-profile vendors from Santa Monica and Hollywood sell here, like Weiser (carrots, potatoes) and Pudwill (berries). ABC Rhubarb serves lemon verbena water and boasts herbs and wild mushrooms. The giant signs surrounding the Bezian’s Bakery table tout the health benefits of Jack Bezian’s organic loaves. Artisanal cheeses are packed on ice at Uncle Berch, which deals in infused vinegars and oils. Fill a prescription at Dr Chocolat!, which offers quiche, brownies, even crème brûlée to go. // Sat., 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Sierra Madre Blvd. at Paloma St. | Map

South Pasadena: They dole out bushels of small-town charm at this wee gathering. Watch the Gold Line trains glide by as you nibble on roasted corn from Foodeez. The scones and loose-leaf blends from Sugarbird Sweets and Teas offer a mellow embrace. Yorba Linda’s Baker’s Best Bread sells a handsome challah that begs for some caramelized honey from Bill’s Bees. The hydroponically grown (and pesticide-free) greens from Living Lettuce Farms don’t look all that bucolic in plastic, but the red leaf will make your salad bowl giddy. Reward your virtue with a scoop of brown sugar vanilla bean from Carmela Ice Cream. //Thu., 4 p.m.-8 p.m.; El Centro St. at Meridian Ave. | Map

 

Altadena

The Altadena Farmers’ Market shuns all the rules—and currency

On a cloud-covered Sunday in May, 1,000 people descended on Gloria Putnam’s Altadena property, known as the Zane Grey Estate. They were there to pick up jars of apricot preserves, home-baked spelt boules, and fresh goat cheese. This was to be the last appearance—for a while at least—of the Altadena Urban Farmers Market (AUFM). The underground community market, put together by Putnam and the Arroyo Time Bank, is a somewhat radical group that promotes a non-monetized economy based on the exchange of goods and services. Were cash involved, the bread baking would have had to be licensed and the backyards in which those apricots were grown, inspected by the state. But since it is a private market open to Time Bank members only, anything you make or grow can be shared. The AUFM is currently undergoing a split. Demand proved the need for a cash-based certified farmers’ market in the area, which is in the works, while the Time Bank market plans to relaunch in a new location early next year. // Map.

 

Culver City

Movie folk mix with marjoram on this strip

Organic collards within blocks of Sony Pictures Studios—who’da thunk it? A sample of rum-soaked cakes from Dolce Monachelli’s will put you in the market mood, as will scooping up some unsweetened blueberry-banana granola from Sconeage Bakery. The stone fruit display at the Arnett Farms stand looks as if it were arranged by a set designer, with peaches and plums spilling from baskets in the summer. Valdivia Farms is less dramatic, but keep an eye out for specialty items like cactus fruit and squash blossoms in season. Those bumpy cucumber-looking things are bitter melon, a palate-shocking Asian gourd from Moua Farms, which specializes in Pacific Rim staples. You’ve not tasted a good potato if one from Zuckerman Farms hasn’t found its way into your bag. Walking around gnawing on an ear of corn takes some coordination; let the gents at Nolin Roasted Corn cut kernels off the cob and serve them in a cup with all the Mexican-style fixin’s. For dessert? Raw cacao nibs from ChocoVivo stone-ground with goji berries and black sesame seeds. // Tue., 2 p.m.-7 p.m.; Main St. between Venice Blvd. at Culver Ave. | Map

 

Atwater Village

Superior eggs and ’cue elevate this little bazaar

You can smell your way to this small neighborhood market—just follow the plumes of barbecue smoke coming from Bigmista’s Barbecue.Treat yourself to a sticky strip of “pig candy,” or sugar-glazed bacon. Held in a Wells Fargo parking lot (it’s easy to grab more cash should you suddenly need those dahlias), the Atwater market has been growing steadily over the past two years. Among the newcomers is Green Jeans Ranch, which sells organic eggs that come in colors like deep tan and turquoise and taste spectacular. Duck eggs are also available; so are chickens, sold whole and in parts (we love the pack of thighs). The South Central Farmers Cooperative carts in a spread of organic vegetables that are usually the day’s best deals. Need a caffeine boost? The artisanal coffee roasters from Silver Lake’s Cafecito Orgánico are on hand pulling espresso and selling beans by the pound. Fire up the home oven for fresh cuts of goat, rabbit, and pork from Jimenez Family Farm, which also offers Marcie’s Pies and more unusual produce such as purple torpedo onions and Japanese turnips. // Sun., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Glendale Blvd. at Larga Ave. | Map

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