Santa Monica Farmers Market

California Strawberries

I woke up Wednesday morning expecting a gray sky and fog and wind and moisture and coastal gloom.  Well,, I should know better than to think you might ever be accurate!  The birds were chirping, the sun was shining, the sky was bright and blue!  (Also, the Jasmine plant outside my apartment was in full attack and provided me with a stellar headache, really swollen facial features, and an overall pounding, puffiness I could do without.)  Anyway, it was a glorious day in Southern California, and considering the sad, sad state of my fruit and vegetable supply at the house, I couldn’t wait to get to the Farmers Market.

It's official!!

Most of you probably aren’t so familiar with where I live, so let me tell you a little bit more about Santa Monica.  It is an absolutely wonderful place to live.  Ryan and I believe that it offers the best of both worlds.  Santa Monica provides us simple access to an enormous city—Los Angeles—and all it has to offer, which is everything you could possibly dream of, and then some other things, such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, smog, and gang violence.  Simultaneously, Santa Monica offers the charming benefits of a smaller, coastal community:  we can walk everywhere, there are dozens of independently owned stores and eateries, the streets are clean, the libraries are well-stocked and beloved and gorgeous and huge and the main branch sells frozen yogurt(!!) at its outdoor cafe.  Oh, I could go on forever… But I won’t.  One of the cool things about our living here is certainly the access we have to the Farmers Market, which is regarded as one of the best around.

Anyway, I don’t want to say too much, because words can’t describe the sensory overload I experienced at the market yesterday.  The colors, the smells, the sounds!  Ah!  It is so amazing just to look, and it feels so good, to engage in conversation with the farmer himself, to ask questions and get meaningful answers.  It is truly an experience, to feel a part of something like this.  It makes going to the grocery store seem like the lamest thing, ever.  Check out this article, just published in the Los Angeles Times, on shopping at Farmers Markets.  So, here are some pictures…

Got a box of these organic, local strawberries for seven bucks!


Squash Blossoms!!

Colorful Chard

Picking my Potatoes

I think this color is so striking.

Best Citrus Around!

How cute are these baby squash!?!

Gorgeous Flowers— had to buy something!

Asparagus & Artichokes. Also, that little white outfit on the left— that's the chef from the Loews Hotel in Santa Monica.

Yay!  You made it through all of my pictures!  Now, I don’t want to further bore anybody who’s still reading, so I’ll try to make this part two quick.  I mean, I have to at least toot my own horn a little!  I want to show you what I bought, how I finally filled my fruit bowl, and what a marvelous little dinner I made for myself last night…

Here’s what I bought from the market:

My purchases from the market

  • A pretty little yellow daisy plant that cost three bucks and is so cute!  I like to buy little inexpensive things like that just to brighten up my home/day.
  • Strawberries.  I love how everybody lets you sample one.  I chose these because they were organic, pretty, sweet, and medium-sized, and affordable, at seven dollars an overflowing three-box pack!
  • Asparagus.  It was kinda pricey but I had read this article in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago about how important it is to support the local asparagus market in Southern California because people really like them and have stopped purchasing locally because it’s so much cheaper to do it at a grocery store where they are shipped in with no love and no pride… Anyway, I just started liking asparagus, like, last week, so I indulged.  And, by the way, so worth it!
  • Meyer Lemons.  Because they are pretty and important and versatile and whatever, do I really need to explain why I felt inclined to buy a lemon?  Hmm…
  • Page Mandarins.  They are so sweet and sour and special and marvelous and a little different from what you can get at the grocery store.  I like that about markets, sampling different fruits and choosing something that is so different from what you could buy anywhere else.
  • Baby Squash.  Because they were too cute not to buy.
  • Red and White Fingerling Potatoes.  Because I might use them in a soup or for a starch side dish this weekend, and I just felt like buying something that wasn’t going to rot right away.

So, it was a success!  And I wanted to make a nice dinner for myself, which I did, using the lemon and asparagus.

Please note my now bountiful fruit bowl!

The rest of the stuff came from the vegetable crisper, because I wanted to save the squash and potatoes for a bigger meal.  And really, only the asparagus needed to be used ASAP.  I decided to do a little tilapia fillet cooked with veggies in parchment, which was so easy and really unbelievably satisfying and a cinch to clean up.  I also roasted the asparagus and made a little couscous on the stove.  Yum.  I just did the fish in parchment atop a bed of baby spinach, carrots, celery, and onions, with a few slices of Meyer lemon and lemon pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley, red pepper flakes, a little honey, and some olive oil.  Then I sealed up the parchment pack with staples and put it in the oven at 375 for about 15 minutes while I cleaned up the kitchen and set the table.  Oh, marvelous!  Here are some pictures:

Apparently, raw fish doesn't photograph so well.

"Bake me, Lauren, please!"

Wonderful Baked Tilapia

Dinner, and new flowers!!

I hope you enjoyed all of these pictures.  It’s not as good as being there, of course, but I really wanted to share all of this.  Oh, and by the way, this post is absolutely about how awesome Los Angeles is.  Even if the Mets swept the Dodgers, a day like this makes it a little easier to swallow.  Au revoir.

6 Responses to “Santa Monica Farmers Market”
  1. bobbi weiner says:

    mmmmmmmm!! I am so hungry, yet I just had lunch. I so enjoyed reading your blog, I can’t wait for more. You are an inspiration for us foodies. Your way with words is also impeccable.

    Hungry for more…..
    Love you

  2. Monet says:

    Well…you’ve pretty much convinced me. I’m moving to Santa Monica next week. I’ll bake bread, you’ll make fish, and we will spend every freaking day at that BEAUTIFUL market. I’m so jealous! The farmer’s markets in Colorado are abysmal. Your fruit and veggies made me want to weep…happy tears, of course…they are so beautiful. Isn’t it amazing how wonderful a simple piece of fruit is?
    So yes…your mission now is to find me and my Ryan jobs…
    Much love!

  3. Mom says:

    Another great episode in the life of Lauren! I so like the green asparagus on the blue plate contrasted by the white of the fish.

    Happy blogging!

  4. roxan says:

    One of the things I LOVE about living in LA are the abundance of farmers markets! When I went to UCLA we would walk over to the one in Westwood Village. Now, I have access to one pretty much every day of the week. I was just at the one at Pershing Square yesterday and got this huge fruit called a Chirimoya – I had never heard of it before. I tried out a coupld CSA programs but have decided I’m better off with visiting the Farmers markets on a regular basis.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] I never get to them.  There is one a few blocks from here on Tuesday evening, and it’s no Santa Monica Wednesday, but it’s better than nothing.  I would like to go to two markets a month, at least, and I […]

  2. […] Lauren is obsessed with where she lives.  She believes Santa Monica is heaven on earth and is beyond blessed to call this place home.  Click here for a previous post in which I brag about Santa Monica and its farmers’ market, too… […]

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