Farmers’ markets are the best way to find not only fresh and organic fruits and vegetables, but often the best place to shop for late summer produce that bigger chain grocery stores forgo. Even though Los Angeles is urban through and through, this city has both farmers’ markets organized by the Southland Farmers’ Market Association, as well as stands hosted by the farmers themselves. Shoppers will find everything from heirloom tomatoes, peaches and late summer squashes to verdolaga, sapote and sudachi. That being said, here are the five best markets for late summer produce in L.A.
Santa Monica Certified Farmers Market
Arizona Ave. at 3rd St.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
The largest grower-only Certified Farmers Market in Southern California, the downtown Santa Monica Farmers Market on Wednesdays features more than 75 farmers for the freshest produce available. The Wednesday market (also open on Saturday) is the largest open market in the area. While stands open at 8:30am to the public, top L.A. star chefs (Joe Miller, Govind Armstrong, David Myers and so many more) arrive earlier to shop popular late summer produce such as Blue Lake and Yellow Wax beans, kohlrabi (a type of cabbage), specialty Japanese eggplants and verdolaga (a succulent often used in salads and soups). Parking is easy in one of several city lots surrounding the market, and the first 90 minutes are free.
Underwood Family Farm
3370 Sunset Valley Road
Moorpark, CA 93021
A popular destination for the entire family, Underwood Family Farm welcomes shoppers to literally hand pick produce straight from the earth. Most picked items are priced by the pound including Roma tomatoes (available through August 31) and pick-your-own blackberries, raspberries and strawberries (available at the Somis location at 5696 Los Angeles Ave. in Somis, CA 93066). At-home chefs will also enjoy the seasonal French morning melon, yellow carrots, summer squash including crookneck, scallopini and sunburst, gold beets and a variety of unusually colored peppers such as chocolate, purple and white. The Underwood Farm is one of the best places to bring the kids during pumpkin season.
8730 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
One of the best Persian/Israeli/Mediterranean grocery stores in Los Angeles, Elat Market is always busy because Angelenos know they can find some of the best and cheapest produce in the city. Even though it is often a challenge to get through the narrow market aisles, it is worth every ounce of energy. You’ll find delicious blueberries, nectarines, peaches, turnips, tomatoes, lemons, parsley, cilantro and many more fresh herbs. While you are there, also check out the wonderful array of spices, fresh hummus and pickled vegetables. A trip to Elat Market is definitely a worthwhile experience.
5251 Hayvenhurst Ave.
Encino, CA 91436
A family tradition as well as a family business, Tapias Bros. Farm Stand is a local neighborhood farmers’ market located in the valley and open every day. One of the last farming families in the valley, Tapias is known for its fresh fruit and vegetables. Harvested on site, local shoppers visit Tapias specifically for its chili peppers, onions, zucchini, sweet corn, strawberries, tomatoes, pumpkins and Christmas trees. Children love visiting this farm stand in the fall to take the corn maze challenge and for pumpkin patch festivities.
3760 S. Centinela Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
A haven of all things Japanese, Mitsuwa Marketplace is a truly great source for fresh Japanese produce. While this market is not a traditional farmers’ market by any means, Mitsuwa does offer fresh vegetables for at-home cooking. Find a variety of mushrooms including bunashimeji, enoki and eringi shimeji, Japanese eggplant and the delicious Kabocha Japanese pumpkin. Also available are radish sprouts, Japanese cucumber, Nagaimo yams and Satsumaimo Japanese sweet potatoes. Additionally, you will find late summer Asian pears, persimmons and sudachi (from the citrus family). On your way in or out, find a snack on an authentic bowl of ramen or hand-crafted sushi.
Related: Best Expensive Sushi In Los Angeles