One Good Life in Los Angeles

Roslyn's observations about places and events around Southern California

Shopping and strolling through seventy decades at Farmers Market and the Grove

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Farmers Market sign

Farmers Market sign

A study in contrasts, the original Farmers Market and the sophisticated Grove live amicably side by side. Farmers Market opened in 1934 when several farmers drove their produce-laden trucks into an empty lot at 3rd and Fairfax and a Los Angeles institution was born. Seventy years later in 2004, the Grove was completed. The location offers the best of both worlds: more than 90% of the small shops and stalls at Farmers Market are still independently owned and operated, whereas just steps away the Grove offers shopping at upscale chain stores such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria’s Secret and Nordstrom.
Jellied fruit slices

Jellied fruit slices

As everybody knows I am not a shopper. But I enjoy the ambience at the Farmers Market as I browse the diverse stalls offering everything from fish tacos to fresh cuts of meat to wonderfully tacky souvenirs and even shoes. One of my secret vices is jellied fruit slices. I’ve checked out candy stores all over the city looking for these superb candies but they are hard to come by. I was delighted to find them here so I bought half a pound to take home. But they never made it—every slice was gone by the time I hit the borders of Culver City!  

Farmers Market Gilmore gas station

Farmers Market Gilmore gas station

A replica of one of the original Gilmore gas stations greets patrons at one of the entrances. Gilmore struck oil on his property while searching for water for his cattle and needless to say the cows were soon replaced with oil wells. His independent oil company eventually became the largest in the west.

A relaxing pastime is to sit for a while and indulge in some serious people-watching. Three million visitors from all over the world (not to mention the local folk) are attracted to the Farmers Market annually so you will hear a myriad of languages as people walk by.

When I visit here it is easy to imagine I have been transported back to a Los Angeles that existed in simpler, less stressful times.

For a complete change of pace, just past the clock tower, the Grove brings you back to the 21st century. Suddenly the jeans and Hawaiian-shirt tourists at the Farmers Market have transformed into well-dressed fashionistas. Smart and elegant, the Grove is as different from its next door neighbor as Schwarzenneger and DeVito were in the movie Twins.

Los Angeles Grove fountain

Los Angeles Grove fountain

You can sing along with Dean Martin as he accompanies the dancing fountain (built by the same company that installed the fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas) or rest your weary shopping feet by taking a ride on the trolley which sits on an historic undercarriage from a 1950s Boston street car. After scooping up a platinum or diamond trinket at the fine jewelry store, why not relax in one of the 3,000 plush seats at the Grove Theatres? You deserve it.

Being more of a jeans and t-shirt kind of person myself, of the two places I probably feel more comfortable in the aisles of the Farmers Market than the snazzy sidewalks of the Grove. But both are quintessential Los Angeles, which is why I love this city, with different cultures and ways of life co-existing and mingling to produce something distinctly “LA.”

I especially enjoy being out and around in Los Angeles over the holidays as the city turns into one giant display with colorful lights, Christmas trees and street decorations everywhere you turn. Farmers Market and the Grove are no exception.

For more information go to www.farmersmarketla.com and www.thegrovela.com.

For a photo gallery click here.

(All photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)

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Author: RMW

I am an explorer and creative person. I've had many jobs, careers and interests... everything in life and the universe fascinates me. Born in Brighton, England, I've lived my entire adult life in Los Angeles. Recently I rediscovered photography and I am busy learning everything I can about it. It's a great excuse for getting outside, wandering around and stopping to look at things.

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