Discover LA by Metro:
Farmers’ Markets Easily Accessed by Gold Line Metro Rail
First in a Series on Gold Line Farmers’ Market Food Adventures
It’s January. Where do you stand on keeping your New Years’ resolutions? You know, the ones to get more exercise and eat more healthfully? We’ve made those resolutions for more years than we’d like to admit.
Because we’re Metro enthusiasts, we had to tie in a Metro adventure to make keeping these resolutions interesting. Farmers’ Markets near Metro stations offer a fun way to get some exercise while finding wholesome food to give the diet fresh variety.
We visited four Farmers’ Markets that are easily accessible from the Gold Line (from south going north): East LA Civic Center (Saturdays, 9 am – 2 pm); Little Tokyo/City Hall (Thursdays, 10 am – 2 pm); Highland Park’s Old LA Market (Tuesdays, 3 pm – 7 pm); and South Pasadena (Thursdays, 4 pm – 8 pm). Each of these markets has its own personality, even though some vendors sell at more than one of them.
In this post, we’ll give you an overview of all four, with details about each in posts to follow. If you get to them first, please give us your comments.
All four are certified organic markets. We found the produce to be beautifully fresh and the variety tempting. All fruits, vegetables, fish, eggs, etc. were harvested within 24 hours. Farmer/vendors were from Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties.
The prices – especially since we’re not strictly organic shoppers – are not bargains. Vendors may dicker a bit, particularly if you’re buying in quantity or at the end of the market, but generally prices are as marked.
Here’s where you weigh a number of factors. It’s more conscientious to buy local rather than cheap and transported from around the globe. Buying local supports California’s family farmers. The variety is greater and the food is fresher than at regular supermarkets. And shopping at Farmers’ Markets is a fun activity.
OK, that’s the why. Now here are some tips on how. Bring cash – not all vendors accept credit cards. Wear comfortable shoes and prepare for weather changes (it gets chilly at sundown). A folding shopping cart can be useful if you’re going to be very tempted, otherwise large cloth bags should be sufficient to group your purchases for Metro riding.
There are many more Farmers’ Markets accessible from Metro Lines – we started with the Gold Line because one of us lives near a Gold Line station – and we promise to explore them. If you’d prefer to jump on another Metro Line, you can find a listing of certified organic Farmers’ Markets at http://www.farmernet.com/events/cfms and another account of taking Metro to Farmers’ Markets at http://www.metro.net/news/simple_pr/metro-031207b/. (Note: The Chinatown Farmers’ Market is currently closed.) Please share your experiences with us!
East Los Angeles Civic Center Farmers’ Market (Saturdays, 9 am – 2 pm):
The Locale Is a Noteworthy Gold Line Destination
The East Los Angeles Civic Center Farmers’ Market is a very short walk from the Metro station, in the parking lot behind the East Los Angeles Public Library – look for the blue tents. It took us a moment to spot the location as we disembarked. One of the highlights of this market is the setting adjacent to this beautifully redeveloped complex overlooking Belvedere Park – the lake view makes a fab backdrop for enjoying your lunch from the market’s vendors.
Little Tokyo/City Hall (Thursdays, 10 am – 2 pm):
A Food Fantasy Just 5 Blocks from the Gold Line
You can’t get a more quintessential Downtown location than the Little Tokyo/City Hall Farmers’ Market on the South Lawn of Los Angeles City Hall, on First Street between Main and Spring Streets. This market is a great place for a workday break with an al fresco lunch.
Highland Park’s Old LA Market (Tuesdays, 3 pm – 7 pm):
A Colorful Neighborhood Adventure at the Gold Line Station
Prepared food, fresh produce, and children’s activities are situated on Avenue 57 perpendicular to the Highland Park Gold Line station. The neighborhood has strong Hispanic roots which flavor the market. The colorful murals decorating the buildings along the avenue give a fiesta feel to this venue.
South Pasadena (Thursdays, 4 pm – 8 pm):
Large Selection with Old-Fashioned Neighborhood Feel
Right off the Gold Line at Meridian Avenue and Mission Street, this a large, established market with a strong neighborhood feel. The aroma of the prepared food – from pupusas to Korean barbeque – wafts across the Gold Line platform, while the sound of live music beckons. This market is a popular after-work dinner and shopping stop.