Farmers Market Series: The Original Farmers Market [52 in 52]

Days: Open 7 Days (Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day)
Time: Monday-Friday 9am – 9pm, Saturday 9am – 8pm, Sunday 10am – 7 pm
Location: Northeast corner of Fairfax Avenue and Third Street in Los Angeles
Parking: Parking is available in either of the Market’s two lots (2 hours free validation with Farmers Market purchase). There is an entrance to the large Market lot on Fairfax just north of Third Street and another entrance to the lot on Farmers Market Place. Alternate parking is also available in the The Grove’s parking lot next door (1 hour free, 2 hours with validation from select Grove merchants).

View Original Farmers Market (Los Angeles) Location in a larger map

What better way to kick off the Los Angeles Farmers Market Series:  52 Farmers Markets in 52 Weeks than with a visit to the Original Farmers Market on Third and Fairfax!  The vacant lot where farmers used to park their trucks to sell produce to local housewives has morphed into a must-see tourist attraction in Los Angeles.

History

The area that stretches north to south from Beverly Blvd to Third Street and east to west from Pan Pacific Park to Fairfax Avenue was (and still is) referred to as Gilmore Island because the City of Los Angeles had grown around the rural farmland, owned by the Gilmore Family since 1880.  Over the years the land housed a sports stadium, baseball field, farmers market, dairy farm, oil field, Gilmore gas station, Gilmore Bank and the Gilmore home.

The land on the southeast corner of Beverly Blvd and Fairfax Avenue, which is now CBS, was once Gilmore Stadium (home to the Los Angeles Bulldogs football team before the Rams came to town and the site of President Truman’s “Stiff Upper Lip” speech).  The area on the south side of Beverly Blvd between Genessee Avenue and The Grove Drive was once Gilmore field (home to the Hollywood Stars baseball team).  The current Farmers Market building was once a dirt lot where farmers parked their trucks and set up stalls to sell produce.

You can read more about the rich history of Farmers Market here.

Today

Today Farmers Market attracts locals and tourists for a one of a kind shopping and eating experience.  The Market has dozens of shops and eating areas that surround numerous patios with tables and chairs.  You’ll find produce, meat, poultry, fish, baked good and specialty foods.  The shops include art and collectibles, clothing, accessories, gifts, souvenirs, beauty supplies, jewelry, housewares, books, stickers and toys.  And there are dozens of dine-in (or out) spots serving world class cuisine.  There is something for everyone.  For more information visit www.farmersmarketla.com.

My Visit

I arrived at Farmers Market at about 10:30 am on Friday and found plenty of parking in the Market Lot on Fairfax Avenue between Farmers Market Place and Third Street.  I walked by the historic clock tower (a fixture since the early 1900s) and into the market.  I strolled up and down the aisles marveling at the huge selection of groceries, shops and restaurants.

Farm Boy and Farm Fresh Produce offer fresh seasonal produce.  Huntington Meats & Sausage has meats from Harris Ranch and a large selection of sausage.  Marconda’s Meats also offers a wide range of beef and sausages as well as cold cuts.  Farmers Market also has two poultry sellers, Farmers Market Poultry and Puritan Poultry, as well as a seafood vendor, Tusquellas Seafood.

There are many bakeries and specialty food stalls – breads, pies, pastries, cookies, fudge, toffee, candy, nuts and hot sauce (Light My Fire has hundreds of hot sauces!) to name a few.  Other shops I passed included clothing, art, gifts and souvenirs, Bath & Body Works, jewelry, Sur La Table, books, Farmers Market Newstand, Kip’s Toyland (a wonderful independent toy store) and Sticker Planet (all stickers all the time :-) ).

The restaurants include both sit down/dine-in establishments like Johnny Rockets, Marmalade Cafe and Chipotle as well as many walk-up counter restaurants surrounding the patios.  Tusquellas Fish & Oyster Bar offers an amazing array of seafood options.  Moishe’s boasts the best Mediterranean food.  The counter at the French Crepe Company is always filled with happy people devouring delicious crepes and sandwiches.  The Gumbo Pot is a favorite serving gumbo, po’boys, fish, chicken and shrimp.  Sushi A Go Go gets rave reviews for the most flavorful sushi in Los Angeles.   And of course there is the delicious pizza from Patsy D’Amore’s Pizza, the world famous coffee and doughnuts from Bob’s (even dinosaur doughnuts for the kids) and the heavenly ice cream from Bennett’s Ice Cream.  There are dozens of other places to eat, for a complete list click here.  Rest assured that you can bring the entire family here and find something for everyone.  Kids love to watch the staff at Bennett’s making their ice cream from scratch and the folks at Littlejohn’s English Toffee rolling out candy in the window.

Plan Your Visit

If you have never been to the Original Farmers Market I highly recommend a visit.  It won’t be your last.  It’s a wonderful place to eat and shop and enjoy the market ambiance.  And maybe while you’re there you’ll see some of the fascinating informational kiosks and you’ll take the time to savor the rich history.   I think you’ll enjoy it.  I know I did – I can’t wait to go back again soon.  If I lived closer I’m sure I’d be a weekly fixture.  The Farmers Market website has information about all the shops and restaurants plus a wonderful set of pictures depicting the market from the early 1900s until the present.  Take a look before your next visit and you’ll be sure to notice many of the historical features during your visit.  Here are some of the pictures I took during my last visit:

What are your favorite spots at the Original Farmers Market?  Share your favorite memories in the Comments section below.

Comments

  1. Camile Cozier says:

    Littlejohn’s caramels. Yum!

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