Santa Monica's Wednesday Farmers Market: Local Food Lover's Paradise
Giddy is an understatement. Heck, yours truly is like a little kid on Christmas morning at the farmers market. I'm pretty sure I prance in and out of the tents, grinning with delight. For local produce, seafood, nuts, and flowers get me going every time. Especially when the stuff is hard to find, like the prettiest heirloom tomatoes you've ever seen and multi-colored carrots and bell peppers galore.
Santa Monica's famous farmers market on Wednesday mornings...well, it's just about as awesome as they come. A place I like to go by myself, where I can peruse through the hundreds of vendors' displays of produce, meat, and flowers. A place where I can delight my senses with tastes of local and succulent concord grapes, smells of blooming exotic flowers, and the sounds of an enthused mid-week morning hustle. A place that is just one of the hundreds of reasons I do so whole-heartedly love where I live.
Recognized as one of our country's largest and most diverse grower-only Certified Farmers Markets, the local food lover's paradise sees several thousands of shoppers every Wednesday, including famous restaurant chefs. It's delightfully crowded and the vendors are exceptionally well-versed in their products. Friendly and quick to offer samples, it sure beats going to any grocery store I know of... Yes, even that fancy shmancy one with green lettering and local, organic fare...
So, on a personal note, I quit my full-time job. Can we just say, "Devil Wears Prada?" Yeah, I am 29 and boast a Masters' degree as well as tons of life (and career) experience. I just....couldn't...do it anymore. But I don't consider the decision "giving up" because what I'm doing now takes a lot of courage...and effort. Working for myself, in multiple avenues. It's tricky and it's definitely going to take some time to really "get on my feet" but the "benefits" and rewards are so freaking worth it.
One of those rewards? Having a flexible schedule that allows me to enjoy the Santa Monica Farmers Market every Wednesday morning.
Today, I thought I might just give you a photo gallery, if you will, of some of the gorgeous eye-candy I get to relish weekly. Not trying to rub it in or anything, more or less just sharing something that brings me happiness.
Did anyone know that these white beuties are why we call eggplant "eggplant." Is it bad that I didn't know that?! Think I might have to buy a handful next time I go. They have to boast their own unique flavor and texture.
Beautiful pomegranates just basking in the California sun.
I'm such a sucker for berries. Especially when they're grown locally.
Can we say heirloom tomato heaven? Oh how I love thee so. Honestly, each variety has its own subtle flavor, I can't even begin to pick a favorite. There are tons of vendors with the gorgeous fruit and more times than not, they are ripe and ready to be eaten.
Ahhhh, California artichokes. Roasted or grilled, the native California veggie never ceases to impress me with its deliciousness.
SQUASH BLOSSOMS! You know I bought a basket of these. Recipe coming soon.
Because Fall is upon us.
Yeah, I had to. Duck eggs are on another level of lusciousness. Such a huge yolk. A rich, melt-in-your-mouth, enormous yolk. Quack.
Another California "exclusive." Local grapes, of all kinds. I picked some Concords since I couldn't remember a time that I had ever indulged in the juicy purple orbs of goodness. Wow. While they do have seeds, which is slightly off putting, they carry so much amazing sweetness. Addicting is an understatement. Remember the grape juice you drank as a kid? Yeah, they're like that but 100 times better. I may have just found a new favorite fruit.
Oh the shiny peppers glistening in the sun.
There's something about fresh green beans. A bit nostalgic, really. I love the memories I have of my grandma and I breaking off the ends in preparation for a big pot of Southern-style, ham hock infused green beans. Haricot Verts are something special too. I love steaming them and tossing them in a fresh green salad. I've never eaten Italian wax beans, though. Any suggestions for recipes using them?
I am a sunflower freak. So much so, they are my wedding flower.