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This story first appeared in the Nov. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
There are dozens of farmers markets throughout Los Angeles County, but a handful stand out for their chef patronage, specialty produce and Hollywood clientele.
Easy parking, a spacious layout and blue-chip vendors, courtesy of longtime manager Greta Dunlap, are enjoyed by the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio. The produce selection is unimpeachable, and the heirloom fruit is world-class — and priced accordingly. (Civic Center Drive between Third Street and Santa Monica)
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Considered the second-best after Santa Monica, the Hollywood market has gotten a tune-up in the past year. The first coup was landing Windrose Farm for its second market appearance anywhere, followed by farmers Shu and Debby Takikawa of the oddly named Garden of … . Already chefs are nosing around, with visits from the teams at Animal, Cooks County and Canele. Be forewarned: The Hollywood market really is two separate events occupying the same stretch. Before 10 a.m., it is a superb farmers market offering a complete selection of fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood. After 10 a.m., it is a stylish and crowded social gathering where shoppers are sure to run into someone — or everyone — they know from the Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz and Hancock Park. (1600 Ivar Ave.)
This small market is a picturesque diversion for the local brunch crowd headed to Bungalow with their strollers, Weimaraners and Pilates bellies. The vegetables and fruit are so-so, but the clientele seems more interested in the scented candles, eco-cosmetics, cold-pressed juice and kombucha. (209 N. Larchmont Blvd.)
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The chic market for “skinny bitches,” this small one has a puny produce section — not much beyond basic beets, oranges, carrots and lettuce — but it’s near Marc Jacobs and Ink.Sack. Dress code: logo totes, small dogs and gay best friends. (8400 Melrose Place)
Paparazzi sometimes stake out this compact but high-quality market to catch the likes of Elizabeth Banks and Chris Pratt, but the produce offerings are well chosen and also cover the bases for a local clientele of families, reality television stars, postproduction techs and below-the-line talent. (Intersection of Ventura and Laurel Canyon boulevards)
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Heirlooms are taking the spotlight at Windrose Farm from Paso Robles. Gjelina pastry chef Nicole Rucker buys a mix of Northern Spy and Crimson Streak crab apples for making tarts.
2. New-crop nuts
California’s nut harvest is underway, and “new-crop” nuts are front and center. Pecan pie now is on the menu at Silver Lake’s Forage.
3. Watermelon radishes
The first of the cool-weather fall vegetables are peaking, including mild, colorful watermelon radishes from Weiser Family Farms, a go-to for Curtis Stone. Weiser also has red and white sunchokes, aka Jerusalem artichokes, a favorite of Suzanne Goin at Lucques.
4. Weird citrus
Prime citrus season is winter, but fall brings oddities like finger limes from Shanley Farms, aka citrus “caviar.” Bernard Ranches has Buddha’s Hand citron, a lemon relative that looks like an electric-yellow squid.
5. Asian pears
Cocktail guru Matt Biancaniello uses these apple-crisp pears behind the bar at Roy Choi‘s Commissary.
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