Los Angeles Farmers Market 1964

I had lunch at Farmers Market today and oh, was it good! It’s never easy for me to decide what to have there but upon a trustworthy recommendation I tried Magee’s famous corned beef on rye for the first time. It was the best I’ve EVER had. Far thicker than average slices of succulent, salty pink meat between two pillows of rye bread. I dabbed each bite with delicious homemade horseradish and occasionally added a forkful of slaw to the mix. It was truly a taste treat sensation of the highest order.

This year Farmers Market celebrates its 70th year. According to the legend it started in 1934 when local farmers began gathering on the corner lot of the Gilmore Ranch at Third and Fairfax, to sell their fruits and vegetables. By the 1940s, next to Hollywood and Vine, it had become the most famous intersection in town. Farmers Market blossomed into a must see tourist attraction and “Hollywood’s” most charming watering hole and marketplace combo.

After all these years it is still home spun and family run. The fact that corporate America has barely crept in to this place is a miracle. For that matter, the fact that Farmers Market has survived in this town is even more of a miracle. Rumor does have it however that neighboring CBS Television City will not be there for too many more years.

Like Olvera Street, Farmers Market is one of the few places in Los Angeles where if you blur your eyes ever so slightly you can easily imagine that you have traveled back in time to the 40s 50s or 60s. It is one of the best places in Southern California to experience a time warp. At a glance it has barely changed in decades.

There is a very special and predictable natural high that I experience every time I go to Farmers Market. If by chance I happen to be passing by the butcher, baker, or candy maker while they’re creating product, I without fail, will stop to gawk. Quite often I find their ritual performances mesmerizing, sometimes even hypnotic. There are many other factors that trigger this euphoria but above all else I think it’s because I feel a sense of community there unlike anywhere else I go in Los Angeles.