Overflowing with colorful produce from California’s rich agricultural land, Santa Monica’s farmers markets are a literal feast for the senses. Better yet, strolling the open-air gatherings is a quintessential slice of genuine Southern California life—which, around here, happens to mean bagging your berries alongside A-list celebs and lauded chefs. And with easy bus access and bike-friendly options like bike valets, arriving is easy. Here’s the scoop on each of Santa Monica's farmers markets. By Elizabeth Jenkins
DOWNTOWN FARMERS MARKETS
Arizona Avenue, between 4th & Ocean
Wednesdays 8:30am to 1:30pm
Saturdays 8:00am to 1pm
Chefs from all over Los Angeles County converge on Wednesday's Santa Monica Farmers Market for first pick of the goods. And with 75 farmers spread out over four blocks, the selection is vast. Roots also run deep. Three growers—Flying Disc Ranch in Thermal, Mike and Sons Egg Ranch in Ontario, and Scott Farms in Dinuba—have set up shop here since the market opened in 1981. (Tip: Free 90-minute parking is available in the structures on Second and Fourth Streets, and bike stands are plentiful.)
Claiming the title “Organic Market,” Downtown Santa Monica's Saturday farmers market offers the largest percentage of certified-organic growers of any market in the city. Additionally, each weekend features menu options from downtown restaurants. Other highlights include Valerie Confections, which sells seasonally inspired pastries, handpies, and cakes, both sweet and savory, and Thao Farms, which offers an assortment of Asian staples such as taro, turmeric, lemongrass, and ginger.
VIRGINIA AVENUE PARK/PICO BOULEVARD FARMERS MARKET
2200 Virginia Ave
Saturdays 8am to 1pm
The park setting, across from a public library, adds a tranquil, family-friendly vibe to Santa Monica's Pico Market. Seek out Wild Local Seafood, which draws both celebrated chefs and home cooks. Three parking attendants help keep traffic flowing and a free bike valet makes it tempting to leave the car at home. Look for free monthly preserving classes taught by LA County Master Food Preservers and a monthly Master Gardener booth.
MAIN STREET FARMERS MARKET
2640 Main St
Sundays 8:30am to 1:30pm
Set between the historic Victorian House and the California Heritage Museum, this Sunday farmers market in Santa Monica is a favorite for local families. Groundwork Coffee Company provides fresh-roasted coffee to aid early-rising parents, and live, kid-friendly bands perform everything from bluegrass to French tunes. Other interactive activities like face painting keep the kids smiling all morning long. Main Street businesses, like Fedora Primo, which sells Panama hats, fedoras, and more, set up booths alongside growers like Wieser Family Farms, whose lilacs are a favorite in spring.