Photos by Nadira Fatah
6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Los Angeles tourists and residents enjoy visiting the shopping complex known as The Grove. With several retail shops, restaurants and entertainment opportunities- it makes sense why people would ignore the second half of the large location. Past Zara, but near the Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurant-the Original Farmers Market is placed behind the glitz and glamour of The Grove. As a constant visitor of the mega outdoor mall, I am guilty of avoiding the hidden Farmers Market. I may have utilized the market as an easier form of parking or a pickup/drop up zone; however, I never actually spent time in the area. I decided to add this as an activity for my Los Angeles bucket list and in March I finally completed this long-awaited task.
The 600,000 square foot location is half Grove and half Farmers Market. One street separates the two different areas. What many people don’t know is that the Grove is technically on the Market’s land. In July 1934, the Los Angeles landmark opened for business and has been pushing on since then. Author Fairmont Gilmore and his partner purchased the land. Ten years later they decided to split the two into its own separate areas. At the time, Gilmore’s land provided a space for nearby farmers to sell their produce to local residents. It also provided oil visitor's cars thanks to their Gilmore gas station. Celebs such as Mickey Rooney, Johnny Carson, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis Presley visited the area’s early installment of the local restaurants. In 1990, the area had a huge expansion and added extra space for vendors, restaurants, and attractions. This expansion proved to be successful by making it a local retailer's heaven. The market is similar to a bazaar or even the fame LA alleys. Tucked and tightened are over 50 booths selling various items such as food, and toys. I was immediately overwhelmed but excited to see where this market could take me.
Walking towards the “Third & Fairfax” location, I did not know what kind of crowd to expect. Unfortunately, I visited the market on the most popular day of the year: St. Patrick’s Day. Crowds of people surrounded the tight area all while partying with their green beer to the cultural music playing in the background. One of the area’s highlights is its attention to cultural celebrations. Time and time again, this area has been awarded for their various holiday festivals including Christmas, Fourth of July and even Cinco De Mayo. The area’s attention to cultural development might be due to the surrounded vendors from various races. Each vendor at attendance supplied food from all backgrounds. Italian, Sweeden, African, and Asian (just to name a few). With this cultural enhancement, this place is a paradise for a foodie. To the left there’s pizza and to the right, there is a New Orleans inspired cafe. Cornered by all of these amazing treats, I was not too sure what to eat. It was so chaotic, I was not even sure what to necessarily write about for the longest. (I considered having a review on several of the merchants but, I decided to save that for a future post.)
The first place I tried was the local bar in the back. Yes, this already mecca of a location sells alcohol! E.B’s Beer & Wine is probably the widest out of all the shops to fill in those thirsty customers who need a good drink and great place to watch the weekend games. After enjoying a pint, I went to get my next item of choice, an ice cream cone. I purchased a cone from Local Ice, a place that offers your favorite frozen treats all developed organically. I can honestly say that this is one of the best ice creams that I’ve had in a long time. The rich cold vanilla cone soothed the hot day at the market. Finishing the cone, I decided to check out the groceries section of the market. Here I am with the Farm Boy produce placed in the outer aisles. The fruit looked delicious and healthy. This location has piles of fruit from apples to surprisingly dragon fruit. It even offered customers the opportunity to browse through their favorite items and create their own smoothie from scratch starting ($4). The produce was magnificent in taste and size, making it worth the affordable rate. Beyond the food, the area also offered various shops provided by DIY designers. These crafty shops currently are selling jewelry, candles, toys and home decor. The best part is that all these items were created locally by the vendors. When you’re finished eating your way through the market, you can also stop by to handle your everyday errands. Space has its own shoe repair shop, key making station, postal service, and barbershop.
Overall, this location was amazing and provided everything anyone could ever need for the day. Due to its large size however, I was not able to touch on every single thing the market had to offer. In the near future, I will be doing several posts reviewing all of the merchants and restaurants in the location. For now, if you would like to find out more about the different merchants check out their website.
Small Farms, Sustainable Practices
Souvenir Shopping Haven
-Park at The Grove's parking structure, The Original Farmers Market garage does not offer validation.
-Go early and keep the season in mind.
-Check the Farmer's Market website for special events like summer concerts and family activities.
- Come with cash. This place is not really card user friendly.
MON- FRI: 9AM-9PM