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Cash Crops : Farmers' Markets Help Satisfy Appetite for Just-Picked Produce

June 25, 1992|R. DANIEL FOSTER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

REGION — Weary of produce that's unnaturally cold, uniformly shaped, and waxed and stacked like so much sugared marzipan?

Perfect produce is on the rise. Soon, you'll be able to create a bioengineered Caesar salad with the help of gene implants.

Fortunately, you can take a step back in time and buy straight from farms that offer fresher, tastier selections: at area farmers' markets. Ten such markets operate in the San Gabriel Valley, Glendale and northeast Los Angeles.

"There's a big demand for farmers' markets now from cities that want to revitalize urban centers," said Marion Kalb, director of the Southland Farmers' Market Assn. "It's a great way to mix people from different economic and social backgrounds. It gets them talking together, not at each other."

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday July 2, 1992 Home Edition Glendale Part J Page 2 Column 1 Zones Desk 2 inches; 38 words Type of Material: Correction
Farmers' Market--The Times reported incorrectly June 25 that the Highland Park Farmers' Market would move to Eagle Rock Plaza June 26. Gretchen Sterling, co-manager of Associated Farmers' Markets, said the move was delayed until next spring by technical difficulties.

Farmers' markets are also choice spots to swap recipes, query growers about your own back-yard crops and discover unusual produce.

The following markets are certified by the Los Angeles County Department of Food and Agriculture; all produce is grown in California.

Eagle Rock

Formed three years ago, this market recently announced a move from Sycamore Grove Park in Highland Park to Eagle Rock Plaza. The first sale in Eagle Rock is scheduled for Friday.

The market features a full selection of fruits and vegetables, plus bakery items, fish and, on occasion, olives.

Organic lettuce, baby vegetables and dandelion greens are sometimes offered.

Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Eagle Rock Plaza parking lot, 2700 Colorado Blvd. (818) 449-0179.

Glendale

Begun in May, the Glendale Farmers' Market is easy to spot with its colorful orange-, yellow- and blue-striped canopies that front the Exchange shopping area every Thursday morning.

Hydroponic tomatoes trucked in from Riverside County are featured, as are fruits, vegetables, fish, honey and olives.

Chinese vegetables arrive from Merced and include bitter melon greens, Chinese spinach, broccoli, long beans and daikon radish. English and snap peas are also sold.

Merchants from the Exchange also offer coffee, baked goods and cut flowers.

Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in front of the Exchange, 100 block of North Brand Boulevard. (818) 449-0179.

Alhambra

Started by the city eight years ago, the Alhambra Farmers' Market features 50 growers who offer standard fruits and vegetables as well as a bumper fall crop of fruits from the Central Valley.

"We carry 10 varieties of Asian pears, and also persimmons, pomallo (soccer ball-size non-acidic grapefruit), Fuji apples grown in coastal mountains, cherimoya, Mexican and Asian guavas, and wampi ," market manager Carolyn Hills said, adding that wampi is a small, sour-tasting citrus.

Bread, honey, nuts, dried fruits, cut flowers, house plants, trees and shrubs are also sold there.

Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in a parking lot at Chico Street and Stoneman Avenue. (818) 570-3244.

Monrovia

The Monrovia Farmers' Market features 25 growers who sell a wide assortment of fruits and vegetables, cut flowers from the Monrovia Floral Co., bakery items and fish.

Craftspeople from around the San Gabriel Valley also attend the 2-year-old market, displaying jewelry, clothing and decorative items.

An added attraction is a flock of wild parrots that descend on nearby cypress and camphor trees each afternoon. "They're quite colorful and very noisy. They've been around since the 1950s," market co-manager Gretchen Sterling said.

Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m. in Library Park at Lime and Myrtle avenues. (818) 449-0179.

City Hall, Pasadena

Formed in 1986, the Pasadena Farmers' Market features 15 growers who set up in front of City Hall.

"It's a gorgeous place to have a market with the Italian Renaissance plaza as a backdrop," market co-manager Sterling said. The market's standard fare of fruits and vegetables is combined with bakery items, fish, cut flowers and a dozen variety of olives from Lindsay.

Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at City Hall, 100 N. Garfield Ave. (818) 449-0179.

Victory Park, Pasadena

The Victory Park Farmers' Market, in operation since 1984, features 40 growers offering fruits, vegetables, olives, cut flowers, fish, bakery items, honey and nursery stock.

"There's a local Pasadena man who brings in drought-tolerant plants," co-manager Sterling said. "And growers from Vista and Compton sell bedding plants, fruit trees and some exotic house plants."

Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the 2900 block of North Sierra Madre Boulevard in Victory Park. (818) 449-0179.

Villa Park, Pasadena

The Villa Park Farmers' Market was formed 12 years ago by the Associated Farmers' Markets, a Pasadena-based group that uses area church funds to create markets.

Sixty vendors gather each Tuesday to peddle a large selection of fruits and vegetables, eggs, honey from local beekeepers, cut flowers from a Palos Verdes Estates grower, bakery items and fish--including red snapper, sea bass, halibut, shark, catfish and shrimp from San Pedro waters.

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