Hollywood Farmers Market, Los Angeles, Calif.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

sara and amanda at market

Seasonal Chef’s West Coast correspondents, Sara and Amanda Thompson, a.k.a my daughters, load up on seasonal provisions at the Hollywood market. It is one of the largest in Los Angeles, with the farmers’ part filling each side of one and a half long city blocks, intersected by two blocks filled with vendors of crafts and prepared foods. It’s got a great urban-street-scene vibe to it, replete with musicians playing for spare change, hawkers of political tracts and shoppers in all sizes, shapes and colors. In short, it’s a great place for people watching as well as for fruit and vegetable shopping.

– Mark Thompson

Ivar and Selma
Sundays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
(323) 463-3171

slide show

What I Bought

potatoes and onions

potato varieties (clockwise, from lower left) purple Peruvian, banana fingerling, French fingerling and Laker Bakers; (top) red and sweet white onions
Price: $1.50/lb. for fingerlings and Peruvian
$2/lb. Lakers Bakers
$1.50/bunch of white onions
$.75/one red onion

The Lakers Bakers potatoes, grown by Weiser Family Farms, are so-named because they bear the purple and gold team colors of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, now entering the NBA championship’s final round. David Karp dug up a few tidbits about the potato in one of his incomparable market watch columns in the Los Angeles Times. He testifies that they are floury when baked but really show their culinary colors when “sliced into quarter-inch-thick roundels, lightly coated with olive oil and roasted at 400 degrees for 50 minutes.” Cooked that way, Karp reports, “they turn golden brown, crunchy on the outside and are very flavorful.”

stone fruit
(above, left to right) peaches, apricots, nectarines
Price: $2.50/lb. stone fruit

fava beans and rhubarb
fava beans and rhubarb
Price: $1/lb. for fava beans
$5/bunch for rhubarb

Speaking of the aforementioned basketball finals now underway, I’ve always thought it was convenient that that event happens to coincide with fava bean season in California, because extracting the beans first from their pods and then from their skins is a labor-intensive exercise. But for a multi-tasking addict like myself, it is something that can easily be accomplished while keeping ears and an eye on a basketball game.

heirloom tomatoes and a hybrid vine-ripe tomato (upper right corner)
Price: $3.50/lb. for heirlooms
$1.50/hybrid variety

fennel and purple kholrabi
fennel and purple kohlrabi
Price: $2/bunch