Farmers Markets
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Farmers market best of the best

Fruit farmer Bob Polito, left, of Polito Family Farms, grows the less common, more flavorful items that place the Santa Monica Farmers Market among the three or four best in the nation. Although its main event is on Wednesday, Santa Monica also has farmers markets on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, making for an embarrassment of riches. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
A mini Brussels sprout is one of the less usual, more flavorful items that make the Santa Monica Farmers Market a must for chefs and produce professionals. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Although the Culver City farmers market on Tuesday afternoons is one of the youngest in the area, it features such all-stars as Peter Siracusa of J&P West Coast Seafood, whose wild-caught fish sells out quickly. (Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times)
Plump strawberries are an irresistible draw at the Encino farmers market, which attracts thousands of people on Sundays. (Los Angeles Times)
The bright, leafy green vegetables at Robert Dautch’s stand are always a big draw at the Ojai farmers market. The 26-year-old Sunday event is just off the sleepy main drag. (Los Angeles Times)
Pick your favorite bloom at the Santa Barbara farmers market. The huge Saturday gathering is nearly on the same level as the Santa Monica market on Wednesdays (many of the same vendors are in attendance), although there are enough differences to make the visit worthwhile. (Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times)
The Ferry Plaza building in San Francisco is a food lover’s dream, but the real farmers market action takes place on Saturday mornings. Though the gathering is fairly small, the farmers in attendance are among the best in the state. (Randi Lynn Beach / For the Los Angeles Times)
The huge Torrance farmers market — it’s roughly the size of a couple of football fields — is the essence of laid-back South Bay style. Come Tuesday and Saturday mornings, the crowd consists of a diverse blend of home cooks simply shopping for dinner. (Stefano Paltera / For The Times)
Purple cauliflower peeks out from below a leafy arrangement at the Ventura farmers market, where the setting is much like a family affair thanks to the many participants who also happen to work in the area. After more than 20 years, the Saturday event is still going strong. (Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
Walker Farms offers a mix of pecans, walnuts and apples at the Pasadena Victory Park market. Tucked away in an affluent corner between Sierra Madre and San Marino, the Saturday event is large yet manages to feel neighborly. (Christina House / For the Los Angeles Times)
Yinjin Maile, 6, snacks on an organic baby Gala apple at the Hollywood market, which aside from a bevy of vendors has an incredible lineup of prepared foods, arts and crafts and, of course, the best star-gazing around. In fact, all that people-watching fun coupled with the street-fair vibe might just cause you to forget what terrific fruits and vegetables are sold at the Sunday gathering. (Annie Wells / Los Angeles Times)
Syrus Lamberson, 4, cranes his neck for a closer look at the offerings from an apricot stand at the San Luis Obispo farmers market. On Thursday nights, the downtown area becomes one big street fair, with local and Central Valley farmers lining the streets, assorted musicians at most every corner and, everywhere, the scent of barbecue wafting in the air. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Unexpected finds at the Los Angeles City Hall farmers market aren’t always of the food variety. Jewelry and other fashions are thrown into the mix of produce, vendors and prepared foods at the Thursday event downtown. (Karen Tapia-Andersen / Los Angeles Times)
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