I visited the Los Angeles Farmers Market on Sunday with my wife. If I understand my history correctly, I had not visited this place since I was a young child in the 60s. I'm a Los Angeles native. In fact, I was even born in LA many years ago at the old Queen of Angeles Hospital. I know the city well, but not this venue.
Because I had visited as a child, I expected to see what my faulty memory had constructed to describe the place. In my mind it was a cavernous old building full of loud people, odd food stalls full of food I did not like, and heat. I remember it being hot for some reason. I remember it being odorous too, and not in a pleasant way. I was surprised to find that it was not in a cavernous old building, but that it was still full of loud people; lots and lots of loud people. I was further surprised to realize that it is actually America's first mall food court. Now that The Grove is parked next door, I will forever remember it as The Grove's food court. You can by fresh fruits and vegetables from one or two stalls, but it really is just a collection of food stalls and odd shops stuck on the end of a fancy shopping center.
I was also surprised to find that it is an indoor and outdoor experience. You can wonder in and out of the sunlight as you drift between buildings. I found the lighting wonderful. However, the profusion of photographers suggested that the place is well covered and you will find almost nothing unique or new. I saw a dozen different-high end digital SLRs within five minutes of entering the complex. I had my Nikon D7000 and and my 18 to 200 general purpose lens with me. I felt underpowered and a bit envious. I should have brought my pro gear.
I saw two celebrities during my visit. Anthony Denison from The Closer walked past me as I entered the complex. My wife later ran into him again while shopping in The Grove. I also think I saw Jane Adams from Hung. I'll call it a 75% sure sighting. If it was not her, the person I saw was her doppleganger.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a Taschen store located in the iconic Farmers Market annex building (Shown above). I bought the hardcover edition of 50 Photos Icons. I could have bought 20 more books. I love Taschen.
I was also surprised to find that the whole complex is dog friendly. It made for a wonderfully diverting experience. I shot a few dogs. Talked to a few dog owners, and enjoyed the whole scene.
My favorite shop was Mr. Marcel Gourmet Market. It's full of stinky cheese, wine, and great French stuff. Oh… and they have amazing knives too! Sadly, I left with only food and few new memories.
If I had used my memory as a guide, I would have never visited the Farmers Market. I'm glad I went. Although now that I've visited, I am sure it will be on the list of places to take visitors. I'll have to add it to my tour package.