Suddenly, La Cañada Flintridge is au courant. This week, the USDA kicked off National Farmers Market Week with an updated version of their National Farmers Market Directory. The directory is published online at www.farmersmarkets.usda.gov.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said that “8,144 farmers markets are now listed in USDA's National Farmers Market Directory, up from about 5,000 in 2008.”
California ranks number one, with 759 registered farmers markets in the USDA directory.
There’s a lot of money tied up in local farmers markets. According to the USDA, local farmers markets and other direct food-marketing ventures sold nearly $7 billion last year, up from $1 billion in 2011.
La Cañada broke into the farmers market scene about a decade ago. Our market is held on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the lot next to 1300 Foothill Blvd., across from Memorial Park. There’s bread, honey, beef, cheese and lots of fruits and vegetables, straight from the growers.
For those who can’t make the Saturday market, there are other local alternatives. The Montrose Harvest Market runs on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the 2300 block of Honolulu Avenue, with baked goods, fruits, vegetables and the occasional pony ride. The new Old Pasadena Farmers Market, at Holly Street and Fair Oaks Avenue, draws shoppers on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. See www.oldpasadena.org/farmersmarket.
On Tuesdays, there’s the Pasadena Certified Farmers Market (Villa Parke Center) 363 East Villa, Pasadena, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., www.pasadenafarmersmarket.org.
There are two good local Wednesday markets — the Altadena Farmers Market, 600 W. Palm Street, Altadena, open from 4 to 8 p.m., and the Pasadena Certified Farmers Market (Playhouse District) near Fuller Seminary in the 500 block of East Union Street, from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.
On Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., try the Glendale Certified Farmers Market, 100 block of North Brand Boulevard, Glendale, or the South Pasadena Farmers Market www.southpasadenafarmersmarket.org, right next to the Gold Line station, Meridian Avenue and El Centro Street, from 4 to 8 p.m.
If you work in downtown Los Angeles, on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. you can check out the market at the Bank of America Plaza, 333 S. Hope Street. Like La Cañada’s market, this is a California Certified Farmers Market, www.ccfm.com/site/locations.php. You may see the some of the same vendors who sell at our Saturday market on Foothill Boulevard.
Whatever the day, whatever the month, wherever the location, keep in mind the quintessential zucchini poem by Marge Piercy. The poem is called “Attack of the Squash People” and it begins with these words:
“And thus the people every year
in the valley of humid July
did sacrifice themselves
to the long green phallic god
and eat and eat and eat...”
ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @anitabrenner.