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The Mother of Them All


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I was nearly overwhelmed by the abundance on my return after several years--somehow in recent trips home, I hadn't made it to this market, though I had gone to other, smaller ones. I went regularly to this market from its beginnings in the early 1980's, when I lived in Santa Monica. And I saw a few faces that I recognized from the past. But the size of the market stunned me after so many years, and my regular forays to the Dupont Circle market.

Santa Monica market stretches out in a cross shape over 5 blocks, on both sides of the streets. Many vendors sell the same things, of course, citrus galore, and many avocado sellers with varieties we never see on the East coast. Summer fruits aren't in yet, but sparkling berries abounded--strawbs, raspberries, black and blueberries. Lots of asparagus and peas. A stand selling only chanterelles--the big, meaty ones we used to forage in the local mountains in Winter. Two date merchants. I managed to find some tender little Barhi which don't ship well, but are the creamiest, sweetest variety. Seller/growers of nuts and olive oil. Many Asian greens.

As in the past, there is almost no meat sold here. One of the two egg vendors had some chickens for sale. Two cheesemakers. And, somewhat disappointingly, the fish truck from Santa Barbara was missing. I used to be able to get the sweetest, freshest shrimp and the best wild-caught salmon I've ever eaten.

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Hey, Z!

1) Any pictures?

The size of the market complements the size of supermarkets in S. CA, something we all have on the east nowadays, but I remember my first trip to Ralph's (or Gelson's--I forget) when I was in high school and just gawked. I envy you the local avocados, citrus...

2) What's w the paucity of animal stuff? Is it the we-just-eat-fish and whole grains thing? Eggs have too much cholesterol?

You can go to Cowgirl Creamery for the cheese, I suppose.

No dairies? God, CA even has commercials about milk, but maybe just for the huge agribusinesses and it's not something smaller farms do? Assuming these are small farms...

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Hey, Z!

1) Any pictures?

The size of the market complements the size of supermarkets in S. CA, something we all have on the east nowadays, but I remember my first trip to Ralph's (or Gelson's--I forget) when I was in high school and just gawked. I envy you the local avocados, citrus...

2) What's w the paucity of animal stuff? Is it the we-just-eat-fish and whole grains thing? Eggs have too much cholesterol?

You can go to Cowgirl Creamery for the cheese, I suppose.

No dairies? God, CA even has commercials about milk, but maybe just for the huge agribusinesses and it's not something smaller farms do? Assuming these are small farms...

There was someone selling raw milk. I forgot to mention that. I think the biggest issue is that the market was started and is still run by fairly militant vegetarians. Secondarily, farmland with enough space for dairy or meat animals is very expensive in So.CA. I don't guess that spaces open up for new vendors very often. Most of these folks have been coming to this market for many years.

I didn't bring a camera. Sorry.

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