Remember here when we used to go to the Santa Monica Farmer's Market every week? Then we got slammed, no, really, really slammed. We are on the east side, an hour away realistically from the opposite side of town, and we have lovely farmer's markets over here, truly we do. Additionally, my dad trucks on over to Mc Grath Farms every Monday (like here) to pick up a cargo (well not quite, but a lot!) of whatever beautiful produce they have, and we also now employ a shopper who goes to other farms directly and to the Wednesday market for us. Okay, so we're good, right?
No, not so much. There is just something about going ourselves. Getting out of our van, we're accosted by crisp beachy breezes and tie-dyed apparel. Once we enter the market however, it is a chef's paradise and probably the only reliable social circle where you can find so many typically intense kitchen people, most in slip-proof clogs, enchanted and even humbled by the abundant bounties in all directions, rendering us relaxed enough to catch up a bit with each other about where we've been eating, what we've been cooking, who we're hiring, whose for hire, what's opening.... It's conversation you can't stop and have when you're busy during prep and service.
We all know the farmers on a first name basis here and have for many years so that we can feel comfortable asking if next week will be better for their tomatoes, and the crazy thing is that they give you an honest answer and explanation like, "There just hasn't been enough water and they're growing slow." However growing slow, they remind us, means more time to develop flavor so patience is rewarded. Connecting with the farmers in this way just naturally deepens your appreciation and respect for what they harvest.
|Photos: Tara Maxey|
In this environment, competition has no home as chefs toss about exclusive information with one another like which farms are selling the most juicy and pretty summer berries right now or pointing out Murray Farms who has some really special Muscat Grapes that are not to be missed. Nature is sharing with us all of her grace and we follow the lead.
I think every chef who fights traffic and leaves their kitchen in the hands of others to make their way to this weekly sojourn will agree that Wednesdays at the market in Santa Monica are transformative.
Santa Monica Farmer's Market
8:30 - 1:30
Arizona Avenue at 2nd Street