Los Angeles famous Farmers Market has been in operation since 1934 when it first opened as exactly that, a market for farmer's to sell their produce. Today it still operates with a market-feel but houses shops, restaurants and catering stands, proudly selling goods and food from around the globe. It has become a hot spot for both tourists and locals and is definitely worth a stop in if you're after something a little different and best of all, cheap!
The LA Famers Market was in fact one of the first in the world and started in July 1934, when Roger Dahlhjelm, a businessman, and Fred Beck, an advertising copywriter, had an idea for the large section of empty land known as Gilmore Island at the corner of Third and Fairfax in Los Angeles. They asked the owners if they could invite local farmers to park trucks on the vacant land to sell fresh produce to local shoppers, and once given permission to do so, advertised the space on the radio. For 50c a space they invited farmers to sell their produce (typically fruit, veggies and flowers) on the tailgates of their cars and trucks and initially attracted 18 farmers who wanted to give a go. The farmers set up camp, waited for people to take an interest in what was going on and started watching the sales roll in. The market was an instance success and before long the area was packed with shoppers and farmers, eventually turning into a much bigger event and today is a must-see tourist attraction in Southern California.
Visit the Farmers Market today and you will find a wealth of different shops including a barbershop, several jewellery and accessories stores, clothing boutique's, bath and body shops and gift stores, but what we really love is its 30-plus catering stands, which offer top-notch food on a backpackers budget. There is a wealth of different stands and restaurants to visit but we've picked out just a few of our favourites that we thought you might enjoy!
Du Par serves up classic American comfort and is open 24 hours a day! Renowned as being the quintessential 'local favourite', the diner serves up gigantic salads, soups, burgers and sandwiches, as well as the all-time favourite onion rings, crab cakes, and chicken strips. This diner offers no-fuss but delicious food in a stereotypical American setting.
Bryan's Pit BBQ offers a Texas-style barbecue serving up beef, pork and chicken dishes (dinners and sandwiches always available) and savory side dishes. The barbecue sauce is so good that locals often ask to buy a container of the stuff and the friendly owners are always happy to oblige. A must-try when in the area!
China Depot is family run restaurant that has been serving tasty Chinese at this shop for decades. Regulars swear by the delicious chicken and pork dishes and boast that there's something very special about the rice too. If you're after a break from the heavy American food then this restaurant is a winner.
There's no surprise as to what Little Spain serves up. The perfect combination of a restaurant and grocery store, LIttle Spain serves the best of authentic Spanish cuisine from paella to tapas, all created from recipes which have been in owner Alejandro Pages' family for generations. The shop features fine imported food, wines, spices and ingredients. Offering interior and patio dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it is an ideal location for early evening wine and nosh.
After you're done with the savoury cuisine, a quick stop at Bennett's Old Fashion Ice Cream is exactly what you need. This little desert haven serves up the best chocolate brownie sundaes, a huge range of ice creams and sorbet, frozen yoghurt and waffles, and simply can't be beat at the market.
So, there you have it, a quick overview of LA's famous Farmer's Market. To really appreciate at it, join the other three million visitors that attend each year and get yourself over there! Several of the stores and stands only take cash so make sure you go prepared and get there with an appetite! As the locals say 'meet me at 3rd and Fairfax.'