Santa Monica Farmers Market
When it comes to sourcing the best in fresh local produce, the year-round Santa Monica Farmers Market is a must-stop destination among chefs and foodies alike. Each Wednesday from 8:30am to 1:30pm this thriving, growers-only open air market brings 75 of the top producers from across SoCal to downtown Santa Monica, making it the largest and indisputably most popular grower-only marketplace in the entire state.
Other markets soon appeared, and the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market (SMFM) was officially launched on Wednesday, July 11, 1981. It’s founders hoped to increase foot traffic to the downtown core, and over 25 years later, they’ve achieved that goal – the market now attracts approximately 9,000 shoppers weekly.
Real Farmers, Real Food
To ensure that every one of the 75 vendors at the Wednesday Downtown Santa Monica Farmers’ Market are genuine producers, the market managers maintain a strict program that includes regular on-farm inspections and careful vetting of new vendor applicants. Stalls are audited using mystery shoppers, and even the labeling is closely controlled to ensure shoppers know exactly what they’re buying.
Verified Local Food Program
There are two product classifications at all California Certified Farmers’ Markets (also known as State Managed Farmers’ Markets, or SMFMs); Cerfified Agricultural Products and Non-Certified Agricultural Products.
Certified products are raw, non-processed fruits, vegetables, raw unshelled nuts, honey, and eggs, as well as cut flowers and potting plants. Non-certifiable products include all forms of certified products that have been processed by the farmer, such as jam created using berries they’ve grown, as well as roasted nuts, livestock, dairy products, fish, and poultry.
Consequences for non-compliance are swift – any vendor found skirting the strict rules is immediately ejected from the market, and they can only return if the manage to make it through the rigorous investigation process.
Premium Quality Produce
The market is a literal treasure trove of the best homegrown produce and agricultural products that California has to offer, and it’s the place you’ll find both some amazing, unexpected gems like Harries Berries, Babe Farms, Forbidden Fruit Farms ; Certified Organic cold-pressed olive oil made from hand-harvested olives crafted by Buon Gusto Farms of Ventura, California; and even heirloom, non-GMO papayas from Golden State Papaya – an innovative farming start-up growing fruit inside of pest-free greenhouses.
Of course there’s also a wide variety of vendors selling traditional, seasonal California as well, including Beylik Farms, a multi-generation farming family that grows a huge variety of local tomatoes, avocados, peppers, and herbs; Bill’s Bees, a long-time beekeeper selling a wide variety of natural honey products such as raw honey, pollen, and beeswax.
More Than Your Usual Farmers’ Market
One of the things that makes the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market a real draw for chefs and food-lovers alike is that fact the market serves as the epicenter of culinary arts and community events in the area. Each week there are numerous special events based around the market and its’ vendors, including cooking demonstrations using products sold on the market and holiday-themed entertainment.
Each week, the Wednesday market showcases a restaurant from downtown Santa Monica, providing local businesses with an opportunity to spotlight their feature dishes using products purchased right in the market.
So whether you’re a professional chef, passionate home cook, or simply looking to connect with your local farm community, you need to check out the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market.
About The Author
Produce Services of Los Angeles is a proud partner and produce supplier to over 400 restaurants throughout Southern California! We carry a full line of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables along with dairy and dry goods! Not only do we support local farmers and source local produce whenever possible, we support up and coming talent in the food community.