Take Advantage of California’s Bounty at the Best Farmers Markets in LA

California is famous for fruits and vegetables, and these markets will show you why.

Santa Monica Farmers Market
Photo by Dustin Downing
Photo by Dustin Downing

People move to LA for all sorts of reasons—to make it big as an actor, to make it big as a writer, to make it big as a musician, and the weather—but if you ask a chef, you will almost always hear the same answer: it’s the produce. Living in Southern California gives us access to some of the very best fruits and vegetables in the country, with a long and bountiful growing season that has also left California cuisine eternally open to the old joke about figs on a plate.

Thankfully, that bounty is not reserved for chefs and restaurants—LA’s best farmers markets give everyone a chance to buy the incredible produce grown up and down the state. Whether you’re looking for root vegetables in winter, tomatoes in the summer, locally raised meat, or fresh-baked bread, there’s a stand for you. To help you get your hands on that glorious harvest, we’ve put together a list of our favorite farmers markets in LA:

Santa Monica Farmers Market
Dustin Downing

Wednesdays and Saturdays
When you picture an LA farmers market—rows and rows of vendors hawking gorgeous vegetables in crisp coastal air, rich moms and fancy chefs chomping fresh veggies with their too-white teeth—you are picturing the Santa Monica Farmers Market. It is a wonderland of fresh produce that is generally considered one of the best farmers markets in the country, and if you want to know what your favorite chefs will be serving at their restaurants in any given week, just swing by the Wednesday morning market to watch them shop.
Vendors to try: Weiser Family Farms, Kenter Canyon Farms, Peads & Barnetts

Walking at the HFM
Hollywood Farmers Market

If the Santa Monica market is the Point Break of farmers markets, then Hollywood is The Fast and the Furiousthe story is the same, but the visuals are a little different. The Hollywood market is also massive, with many of the same excellent vendors, a similarly well-heeled clientele, and a sterling reputation, but it’s set on a somewhat less picturesque stretch just off the Walk of Fame. Like Santa Monica, there will be crowds at peak hours, but the vendors are worth it.
Vendors to try: Harry’s Berries, Beylik Farms, Bub & Grandma’s Bread

Shopping at the TCFM
Torrance Certified Farmers Market

Tuesdays and Saturdays
The South Bay may not strike you as a produce destination, but the Torrance farmers market is one of LA’s best and most underrated options. The Tuesday iteration is especially mellow, which makes it the perfect time for a leisurely stroll through the many vendors. Take the opportunity to chat with the farmers themselves, asking them what stands out about this week’s crop, and maybe for a pointer or two about what to do with their precious produce.
Vendors to try: Arnett Farms, Rancho Santa Cecilia, Valdivia Farms

Vegetables at the SPFM
South Pasadena Farmers Market

The quaint town of South Pasadena is at its rowdiest on Thursday afternoons, when the farmers market takes over several blocks right next to the local Gold Line station. The otherwise quiet community shows out for their market, which draws big crowds that buzz with the communal chaos of everyone running into someone they know. It doesn’t hurt that there are several restaurants and bars lining the market and the streets right nearby—take a break from shopping and pull some friends over for happy hour at Communal, Nicole’s, or Bistro De La Gare.
Vendors to try:McGrath Family Farm, Ken’s Top Notch Produce, Seed Bakery

Vegetables at the AFM
City of Alhambra Certified Farmers Market

The Alhambra market is a little below-the-radar, but it comes highly recommended by chefs from the SGV. It’s reasonably big and also pretty quiet, a great combination, and if you’re looking for Asian vegetables and leafy greens this may be the best market in town. Prepared food vendors are one of the market’s strong suits too, with the usual pupusas and kettle corn but also scallion pancakes, sugar cane juice, and more.
Vendors to try: Yao Cheng Farms, Bih Shan Farms, Roberto’s Hot Sauce

Berries at the MHM
Montrose Harvest Market

The foothills community is blessed in many ways, but an abundance of exciting food is not one of them—except on Sunday mornings, when the surprisingly large and well-curated Montrose Harvest Market takes over several blocks of Honolulu Ave., the area’s cute main drag. The market pops off with families out for a Sunday morning stroll, and kids dodge and weave through crowds, swinging tornado potatoes wildly around as their parents chase behind them, trying not to spill their coffee or drop their bags of veggies. It’s a fun market.
Vendors to try: The Hungry Gardens, Azteca Farm, Martinez Farms

Fruit at the CFM
Crenshaw Farmers Market

The Crenshaw farmers market has about a dozen produce vendors, a healthy if not huge number, but it has almost twice that many vendors selling other artisanal products. There are stands selling sourdough bread, water ice, sweet potato pie, flowers, t-shirts, sugar cane juice, handmade jewelry, and of course plenty of hot food. The lively atmosphere and emphasis on prepared items and goods makes the Crenshaw market as fun and happy as any in town, a real delight.
Vendors to try: Sunrise Organic Farm, Crenshaw Coffee Company, The Plant Mon

Fruit at the SCFM

The Sunday morning market in Studio City is one of the larger markets around, with a ton of farmers and also packaged food, baked goods, drinks, and several kid-oriented booths. The whole thing takes on a family friendly atmosphere, with face painting and sometimes even a petting zoo, and it becomes a lovely community gathering place for the valley’s young families. And the market gives back, too—the whole thing is a non-profit jointly owned by The Studio City Residents Association and the Studio City Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and they donate their proceeds from the market to a variety of local organizations like We Spark, Community Conservation Solutions, and lots of programs for local schools like the North Hollywood High Music Department.
Vendors to try: Scarborough Farms, LA FungHi, Coldwater Canyon Provisions

The Thursday market at Central and 43rd isn’t the biggest one, but it is well established—it’s been going strong for 19 years in South LA. There’s a solid core of farmers and plenty of good hot food options, too—check out the pupusas from farmers market mainstay Pupusas y Mas, or the fish tacos from Lemus.
Vendors to try: Griffith Family Farms, Ayala Farms, Don Beto’s Farms

The LA River market launched in May of 2022, making it one of the city’s newest markets. It’s off to a fantastic start, with a bunch of diverse and exciting vendors in a beautiful and convenient space at the LA State Historic Park. Because it’s a newer market, things are still in flux, which makes for a fun and sometimes surprising shopping experience—you never know who’s going to be there. They also do a great Market Match for EBT customers—they’ll match the first $15 of EBT funds you use with vouchers for $15 of fruits and vegetables at the market.
Vendors to try: Rick’s Produce, Sunrise Organic, Pretty Good

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Ben Mesirow is Thrillist's LA Staff Writer, and he is perfectly happy with figs on a plate. Find him on Instagram.