Thursday, May 04, 2006

Going Local: Vermont/Adams Farmers' Market

Note: This post is part of an ongoing report on my efforts to eat locally for the month of May. You can read about my goals, exceptions and guidelines here.

Squash blossoms, debugged.

Wednesday is the farmers' market day in Los Angeles--well, Santa Monica to be exact. It's the day for the biggest and most diverse market in the greater LA region, the one that local chefs go to, the one highlighted each week on KCRW's Good Food. Yet, unless you're the aforementioned chef or collecting unemployment, it's daytime hours make it virtually impossible for us working stiffs to visit.

So, needing to refresh my local produce on Wednesday, I did not take an extra long lunch and head to the beach but instead left work just a tad early and stopped at the much smaller market in the St. Agnes Catholic Church parking lot just before the intersection of Vermont and Adams, a much poorer section of town than tony Santa Monica.

The Vermont/Adams market was all about green and orange. Most stands were awash in either various lettuces, collards, bok choy, cilantro, parsley and other big bunches of leafy greens or piles of oranges. There was a honey guy and an egg gal, and one prepared food stand selling icees and popcorn. Most sellers and customers were Hispanic, and my pathetic Spanish got me the location of most of the farms (predominately Riverside, east of LA, within my 100 mile radius) but not much more than that. One guy had some bunches of what I call snakegrass, he called horsetails. I asked about it and he said people make tea out of it to help with their kidneys.

I picked up squash blossoms, basil, carrots and some large, finger shaped radishes. Squash blossoms were new to me--they smell delightfully squashy and worked well in an egg scramble with fresh basil and chives. I cooked 'em up whole, but first removed the stems and stamen. Mine were also alive with teeny, tiny bugs, so be sure to wash them carefully as well.

Vermont/Adams Farmers' Market
Wednesdays, Sept-May 2 pm-5 pm, June-Aug 1 pm-6 pm
1432 W. Adams, St. Agnes Catholic Church
Just west of Vermont/Adams, on the south side of the street


Henwhisperer said...

I hope you are enjoying your eat local effort. You won't be able to eat locally after National Animal Identification System (NAIS) goes into effect. Under this scheme by USDA/APHIS/NIAA anyone who raises even one livestock animal must obtain a premises id number, individually tag each animal and finally, have to report individual animal movements or face a stiff fine for non-compliance.

All of this information will be kept in databases by the state government or private companies, while the
federal government will have the right to access the databases as it
deems necessary. The only exception from individual identification
and tracking is that large industrial agricultural producers will be able to use just one group number for an entire confinement house of poultry or swine. Small producers, who do not manage their animals in isolated groups, will not qualify for this convenience.

NAIS does not distinguish between large corporate factory farms and
the smallest family producer, hobby farmer, or the grandmother with a
few laying hens. Many families may be made criminals due to their
religious convictions and concerns over privacy and property rights.
Small and medium-size farmers and ranchers will be driven out of
business, and the consolidation of our food supply into the hands of
a few large, multinational corporations will continue. NAIS must be stopped.

Please visit to see what is happening all around the country to stop NAIS. You can also visit my blog to get more information.

Erin S. said...

Thanks for the info henwhisperer--I will look into it. Just a thought--it might help people get more involved if you could boil down some of the problems with NAIS into one paragraph or so. As someone who works for an org that deals with issues most people don't think about every day (foreign policy), I've learned the shorter and simpler, the better!

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