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!
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.
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.
(All photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)