American Nomad Blog
About this blog
American Nomad covers the best of U.S. travel—from vacation deals to festivals, weekend getaways, travel tips, and more. A seasoned traveler and Moon author, Laura is the perfect guide to help discover new gems when traveling domestically.
- A Southern Girl's Wintertime Adventure in Yellowstone
- One Novelist's Odyssey Across America
- Gearing up for a Family Camping Trip
- Mint Juleps and More at Oak Alley Plantation
- Avoiding Identity Theft While on Vacation
- Money-Saving Travel Tips from Nomadic Matt
- Fashion, Fun, and Convenience for the Modern Traveler
- In Search of Irish Museums Across America
- The Inspiring Journey of a Solo Kayaker
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 2
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 1
- Experiencing Yosemite with YExplore
- Two Travel Contests Worth Mentioning
- A Word About the TSA's No-No List
- A Reader's Advice About Airport Security
The Charms of an Urban “Farm”
In the July/August 2009 issue of Westways magazine, the official periodical of the Automobile Club of Southern California, writer James Bartlett extols the virtues of the Original Farmers Market (323/933-9211, hours vary daily) in Los Angeles. Situated at Third and Fairfax, the long-standing market celebrated its 75th anniversary this summer.
When it began in July of 1934, it was little more than a collection of parked trucks on a spacious piece of land owned by the Gilmore family. Previously, the property had housed a dairy farm and, later, a stadium that staged races, rodeos, wrestling matches, swimming competitions, and the city’s first professional football team. As the Great Depression continued to plague ordinary Americans, two entrepreneurs approached Earl Bell Gilmore with an idea: inviting farmers to sell their produce and other goods directly to the public. Needless to say, it turned out to be a brilliant idea.
Customers traveled from all over the Los Angeles area to purchase fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers from the tailgates of the farmers’ pickup trucks. Whether it was the laidback ambience, the available goods, or the easy commerce, the Farmers Market became an immediate L.A. institution – popular among tourists and locals alike. Today, the Market has evolved into an expansive, open-air shopping center, just a quick stroll (or trolley ride) from The Grove, an upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment destination in the heart of Los Angeles. Attracting millions of visitors annually, the Farmers Market – designated by an iconic clock tower – contains a wealth of groceries, produce stalls, shops, and restaurants.
My husband and I have been there more times than I count. We appreciate the year-round availability of fresh produce (which, I should warn you, can certainly range in price), and we’ve enjoyed many inexpensive meals there, too – from California rolls at Sushi A Go Go to gumbo and shrimp po-boys at The Gumbo Pot (my personal favorite).
Of course, that’s not all that the inimitable Farmers Market has to offer. There, you’ll find meat, poultry, and seafood markets; tempting bakeries; clothing and jewelry boutiques; gift and beauty shops; specialty stores like Light My Fire (an incredible condiment emporium); and a ton of eateries, boasting everything from Brazilian barbecue to French crepes to Greek cuisine. You’ll indeed be hard-pressed to go hungry – or be bored – at the Original Farmers Market, an ideal place for watching people and spotting celebrities. More than likely, it won’t be the lack of choices – but the plethora of them – that will overwhelm you.
As always, I’m open to ideas for future posts. If you have any suggestions, burning questions, or destinations that you’d like me to explore in greater detail, please comment below or contact me at laura [at] wanderingsoles [dot] com.