Thursday, August 03, 2006

My Favorite L.A. Place

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My Happiest Place on Earth
If you know me well, you know that my favorite place in Los Angeles is the Original Farmers Market. Meet Me At 3rd and Fairfax, the motto of this place, has been my mantra for most of my life.

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Vintage Farmers Market Postcard - 1950's

When I was a child, the Farmers Market property was huge. The parking lot stretched out for blocks. There were small out-buildings used for storage in the same style of architecture as the Market. The Gilmore Adobe (built in 1852) was behind high walls and a big iron gate. The courtyard, with its beautifully manicured lawn, is completely surrounded by trees and shrubs, so the front gate is the only view available. From the gate, you can see the veranda shaded with the overhang of the red tile roof. The porch has potted plants and flowers on it. It's so beautiful. The public is not invited into the adobe, trespassing is forbidden. Today, the Adobe is used as the corporate offices for the Market. I think the courtyard and garden are available for small corporate events. I was inside the gates once as a member of the Los Angeles Conservancy. One day, maybe this beautiful landmark will be opened to the public. On March 6, 1991 the Gilmore Adobe was designated Los Angeles Cultural and Historical Landmark #534a. You can read more about the history of the Farmers Market here.

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Later, in my teen years, I used to shop alot at the Farmers Market Annex. This was a duplicate architectural version of the Market, across the parking lot. This is where the secondary parking lot for the Market is now (near Chipotle). There was a western clothes shop (I bought my summer white mocasins there); there was a store where you could have your name written in gold and fashioned into a necklace; there were dress shops, hairdressers, an antique mall. There were also little out-buildings in the parking lot that sold baskets, parakeets and all kids of fun stuff. Later one of these out-buildings became a book store.

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Lots of oil and tar here at Gilmore Field
Before The Grove shopping center was built next door and around the Market, you could always park easily. Since The Grove is a regular shopping center and stays open until 9 or 10pm, the Market was forced to change it's hours too. Instead of closing at sundown, the Market stays open until 9 or sometimes later. The Grove has upped the bar of excellence as far as food is concerned at the Market. When I was a child, none of the restaurants were that great. Today, many of the places are really good.

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Sigh. I miss the old, quiet days at the Market, but am happy that it's still there (since 1934) and that The Grove has made it even more of a tourist destination. It's still a wonderful place to buy fruit, veggies, fresh meat and poultry and other delicacies. There's free entertainment year-round and it's great for people-watching!

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I hope to see you there sometime soon. Meet Me At 3rd and Fairfax.



At 2:57 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The Farmers Market sounds like a cool place to hang out!


At 5:09 PM PDT, Blogger Ana said...

Ellen, the Farmers Market is one of my favorites too. I only remember it from the early sixties and it was and still is a great place to visit. I liked the old but I certainly like the new too. The trolley is fun the department store is very nice and it has that European feel of a walk street, then for some of us who remember the old we see and remember what was.

Happy Knitting,

At 6:11 PM PDT, Blogger Laurie Ann said...

I'll meet you. I'm leaving right now so I can get parking this time. arrghh!

At 8:06 PM PDT, Blogger Julie said...

I went to Fairfax HS, so the Farmers Mkt was my playground as well. I worked at Dupars (first as a clutzy hostess, then as the pie girl), Little Johns Fudge Shoppe, Thee's Bakery, and Mrs Fields. I found love there and had my heart broken there and I went home once or twice with a stray kitten so it wouldn't be poisened by the maintenance crew. I even rode my bike one very hot day to the Western Clothes shop and passed out on the floor due to dehydration. Love the Market, so many memories.

At 8:24 PM PDT, Blogger Pam said...

I felt like I was actually there as I read your stories wtih your great pictures!!

At 9:14 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it too! I am there all the time especially in the mornings. I like to knit and then shop for my family's dinner. I also like to make things for SFTH. I willlook for you to say hello. nancy

At 4:15 AM PDT, Anonymous Sydney said...

Great bring to us.I also remember the Old Town & Country Market across the street(long gone)....Thanks for the pictures...Sydney......PS. The drive in on Sepulveda & Pico in the 50's & early 60's was Roberts Drive In.......

At 9:19 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ellen --

Loved your post. I still have a gold "ID" bracelet that I got for my sweet sixteen at the jewelry store in the Farmers "Dell" as I think it was called. And I too remember the old "Town & Country" with Fishers Hamburgers where they wrote your order in pencil on the plate!

No memory of drive-in on Pico & Sepulveda? How can that be when I grew up right there....

I'll look for you at the ball game.

-- Jo Anne

At 10:41 AM PDT, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

Thanks Everyone for your great memories of the Farmers Market and the surrounding area! Keep the comments coming! I Love 'em!!!!

Ana! I'll buy you b-day breakfast next Saturday if you come to the Market!

Julie! You are so lucky to have worked at the F. Mkt. When are you coming back to visit?

Pam! We'll be at the F. Mkt. on Saturday, 8/12 for breakfast! Maybe you can join us. Check with Drew for the info.

Hi Nancy! I think we do know each other! Is your photo in the upstairs dining area gallery?

Sydney! I, too remember Town and Country. Fisher's was great. Andre's Italian food is still there! Remember Brit's Dept. Store?
Ahah! Roberts Drive-in at Pico and Sepulveda! Thank you for remembering!!!

Jo Anne! Remember the place at the DELL where you could get personalized stationery? Mine always said, "Tellin' from Ellen."

At 12:37 PM PDT, Blogger MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

I just saw an ad for one of those name necklaces in gold plate - $200. My, how times have changed, huh?!

Great seeing you at the aforementioned FM last nite!

At 5:12 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I do remember the stationary store. My Aunt who lives at Park La Brea (60 years) always bought all of us the pads with our names. Sadly, I cannot remember what mine said. We still get Andres sometimes when I go to visit her. I like the mushroom sauce.

-- Jo Anne

At 1:25 PM PDT, Blogger Darcy said...

Farmer's market and I only met 10 years ago but I have alot of great memories.
I've laughed so much at those Saturday nights at karaoke with friends,(Fire Marshall shut downs)
enjoying all kinds of good bands live,and of course the Mardi Gras. My family can't get enough
farmer's Market when they visit but I do miss the antique store AND that parking was easier before
The Grove opened but I forgive them because I can be in a big comfy chair with my drink and
popcorn in 15 minutes for a movie or in 10 I can be having a great time with all my favorite
chicks with sticks! To me F.M. gives a sense of community in our car culture City of The Angels.
See ya at 3rd. & Fairfax!

At 8:29 AM PDT, Blogger sappmama said...

This is a wonderful history of the Farmer's Mkt! It's personal and so informative. I love it. I've yet to go for the live entertainment. Now I will.

At 5:21 AM PST, Anonymous oriental wrought iron gates said...

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