Let’s Talk About Farmers Markets.
If you shop at your local Farmers Market, you’ll find lush heirloom tomatoes and gigantic zucchini, crisp apples and juicy berries. You’ll also find better heart health.
One recent study found that eating fresh fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Another discovered that a daily serving of beans, peas, or lentils can help lower bad cholesterol by nearly 5 percent, also reducing the risk of heart disease. The National Institutes of Health agree, while the American Heart Association encourages people to consume polyunsaturated fats, like omega 3 and omega 6, to prevent heart disease. These types of fats come from vegetables like kale and spinach, and nuts and seeds respectively. All can often be found at your local Farmers Market.
What exactly is a Farmers Market?
According the Farmers Market Coalition, a farmers market is defined as “a public and recurring assembly of farmers or their representative selling directly to consumers food which they have produced themselves.” These markets have grown in popularity since the first one opened at the corner of 3rd and Fairfax in Los Angeles in July 1934. This particular farmers market, aptly named The Original Farmers Market, is still in existence, known all over Southern California by its Clock Tower, installed in 1948. If you visit 633 W. 3rd St., you can shop for everything from pie to produce, poultry to pizza, and everything in between.
This particular farmers market is open Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Others operate several times a year, every Saturday and sometimes Sunday, or occasionally Thursdays or Fridays. It is entirely dependent on the area, the weather, and the participants. They vary in size and style, with some having a dozen or so vendors under umbrellas to others having permanent fixtures and hundreds of sellers.
You’ll find the produce your area is known for, including tomatoes, carrots, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, onions, avocados, peaches, and anything organic. Also keep an eye out for grass-fed meats and dairy.
The Best Farmers Markets in Southern California
Along with the aforementioned Original Farmers market in Los Angeles, other farmers markets to think about visiting include:
- The Beverly Hills Farmers Market featuring fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables, juices, breads, and specialty items like gourmet tamales.
- Hollywood Farmers Market where you’ll find fresh juices, dried fruits, nuts, coffee, ethnic food, baked goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, honey, fish, meats, and cheeses.
- Mar Vista Farmers Market for local fresh produce, baked goods, fish and meats, and homemade crafts.
- Santa Monica Farmers Market for locally grown fruits and vegetables, small batched cheeses, fresh seafood, natural meats, and many homemade products.
- Altadena Farmers Market for berries like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries, and traditional, wild-fermented foods.
- South Pasadena Farmers Market offers fresh produce, fresh eggs and chicken.
- Encino Farmers Market offers artisanal cheeses, fresh eggs, meats, honey, and even fresh flowers.
Other local Farmers Markets include:
- Alhambra Farmers Market
- Echo Park Farmers Market
- Larchmont Village Farmers Market
- Long Beach Downtown Farmers Market
- Long Beach Southeast Farmers Market
- Pasadena Farmers Market
Where to Find a Farmers Market
Finding a Farmers Market close to you is easy. Visit the USDAs Farmers Market Directory, as well as the Eat Well Guide and Local Harvest websites. Wherever you live and whichever market you choose, remember; eating fresh fruits and vegetables is better for your heart. That’s good heart sense.
Note: all listed Farmers Markets are as of October 2016.