Beat Supply Chain Woes – Shop locally at The Original Farmers Market

In 1880, AF Gilmore and a partner bought two dairy farms in Los Angeles. They divided their holdings 10 years later, and Gilmore took control of the 256-acre ranch, its dairy cattle and farmers in what is now the corner of 3rd & Fairfax, The original Farmers Market.

When Gilmore wanted to expand his dairy herd, he began drilling new wells for water. Instead, he discovered oil. Soon, the dairy herd was replaced by a field of oil rigs. The rich oil field near the La Brea tar pits continued to produce crude oil, but the drilling rigs were no longer allowed on a large scale in the city.

The Gilmore property remained largely vacant into the 1930s, when two entrepreneurs, Fred Beck and Roger Dahlhjelm, at the height of the Great Depression, approached AF’s son, Earl Bell (EB) Gilmore, with an idea to build a village on the corner of 3rd & Fairfax where local farmers could sell their produce. In July 1934, a dozen farmers and a few other merchants arrived and began selling their fresh produce at the back of their trucks.

The original Farmers Market

Lent by The Original Farmers Market and Arcadia History Press.

In October 1934, peasants and merchants, including restaurants, merchants, and service providers, moved into permanent stalls. Gilmore Stadium was built the same year before the market opened and was home to the LA Bulldogs, the city’s first professional football team. The stadium also hosted rodeos, boxing matches, swimming exhibitions and motorcycle races. Gilmore Field, which opened in 1939, was home to the Hollywood Stars, one of two professional baseball teams in LA before the Dodgers left Brooklyn.

87 years and a Grove later, the market still has the old-fashioned charm of shopping and dining, with some of the same vendors as e.g. Patsy D’Amore’s Pizza, which has been around for 75 years, and Bob’s Coffee and Donuts, which have been in the same place for 74 years.

The stadium and baseball field are gone, but despite the surrounding gentrification, a step into the market is still a step back in time. Whether you’re looking for holiday gifts, superior meats, ingredients, sweets and nuts or a fun lunch that feels like a holiday, the 87-year-old Original Farmers Market is a local paradise. Here are some of our favorites:

Magee’s House of Nuts. President Dwight Eisenhower was mesmerized by the peanut butter machine on his visit, and a few years later the Beatles visited the same store. They have a delicious selection of macadamias, pecans and walnuts. The oldest tenant on the market, they have been making their peanut butter since 1934 with only peanuts, with no added sugar.

The original Farmers Market

Magee’s House of Nuts Peanut Butter (Michele Stueven)

Monsieur Marcel Gourmetmarked. A food lover’s dream, this gourmet market is possibly one of the best in Los Angeles. They offer thousands of imported specialty foods, olive oil, charcuterie, cheeses, wines, gift items and baskets as well as demonstrations, a French bistro and seafood market for the New Year’s Eve bouillabaisse.

Kaylin and Kaylin Pickles. One of the newer additions to the market, Scott Kaylin has brought salty and sweet gluten-free and vegan pickles in New York style to the west coast. Get a bag of jalapeno, kosher dill, half sour, horseradish, mustard, spicy dill and honey mustard for your next open house host gift.

Huntington meat, poultry and sausages. Another cornerstone on the market, this old-fashioned butcher shop has a premium selection of steaks, chops, poultry, homemade sausages and meatballs as well as classes and is the protein source for quite a few of LA’s best restaurants.

Rick’s products. Rick’s Organic Fruits & Vegetables are a great place for local produce, and come from the family farm in Fallbrook. They also have a snack bar with smoothies, salads, juices, salsas, acai bowls and jams.

The original Farmers Market

Huntington Meat and Sausage (Michele Stueven)

Anaheim House of Jerky. Are you looking for a sock stopper for one of your favorite carnivores? This crazy stall offers more than 40 different varieties to choose from, ranging from traditional beef and chicken teriyaki to alligator, shark, rattlesnake and camel as well as vegan versions.

Little John’s English Toffee House. Candy master Michael Graves shows daily handmade chocolate, caramel and caramel confectionery at Little John’s, which has been a market favorite since the 1940s. There is a large selection of gift sets, including holiday offerings such as eggnog fudge and old-fashioned mint bark.

Aunt Valentina. This supplier has become a hot topic among coffee lovers for the world-famous edible coffee cup known as Waffleshot – a chocolate-dipped cone filled with espresso, coffee or granita.

If you choose to sit down and eat and give a few tips, try the margaritas or brunch on the airy Canteen bonds, perfect for people watching. Gift cards are available. The modern British pub Market pub is a fun stop for a pint, and if you’m lucky, you might just order a flight from owner Gary Twinn and Honeydipper and swap punk rock stories. Sunday afternoon around kl. 17.00 you can just catch some live music from his former musician friends in the room filled with rock & roll photography over a dish of chicken curry.

For a complete list with more food finds and info regarding Kip’s Toyland, LA’s oldest toy store, go to farmersmarketla.com and check out the slideshow to get a taste of market history.

The original Farmers Market

Take a Flight with Gary Twinn at Market Tavern (Michele Stueven)

The original Farmers Market

The Original Farmers Market (Michele Stueven)

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