Gloria Putnam, owner and resident of Altadena’s historic Zane Grey Estate, is a DIY foodie. She keeps goats (for milking and cheesing) and chickens (for the eggs, natch), she grows her own produce, she’s involved with the effort to launch the Arroyo Food Coop, and now she’s taken to hosting the greatest hippie happening Altadena has seen in decades: the Altadena Urban Farmers’ Market. Launched in October, the market returned for what is hoped to be a monthly appearance on Sunday, and as with the pilot market, the turnout was tremendous: hundreds of happy locals in clogs and hand-knitted scarves, clutching cloth bags and running into neighbors and friends while they browsed.
The “farmer” part of the market still needs work. Participants included only a few produce growers, and their goods vanished apparently within minutes of the market’s opening at 1 p.m. The vast majority of the tables were devoted to prepared foods from micro-producers—and we mean micro. The guy selling his home-roasted coffee, for instance, had never sold his beans before. There was vegan chili, excellent pumpkin bread, cookies of every kind, hugely popular butternut squash soup, a gorgeous layer cake, barbecue sauce, jars of granola and, allegedly, some goat cheese, although we never found it. (Perhaps it had sold out.) And the sort of crafts that put one to mind of Big Sur in the ’70s. And a very popular cookbook exchange organized by our friend Joseph Shuldiner.
All in all, it’s a wonderful community happening that Altadena has clearly been waiting for. To keep apprised of future markets, become a Facebook fan of the market via this link.