It’s prime farmers’ market season—although truth be told, it’s always prime market season here in Southern California—so herewith is our guide to the best farmers’ markets in the San Gabriel Valley, organized by day. Every day but Monday brings at least one worthwhile market!
Pasadena – Villa Park
This offshoot of the big Saturday Pasadena market is a smaller certified market, with the usual fresh and organic produce and a small selection of prepared foods.
363 E. Villa, Pasadena, 626.449.0179, pasadenafarmersmarket.org. Tues. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Pasadena – South Lake
The area’s newest market is a seasonal one, although if it’s a hit it may continue. It’s a sibling of the big Saturday Pasadena market and is run by the same folks, so you’ll see the same focus on local and certified organic produce and not much in the way of prepared foods—which you don’t need anyway, given how many cafés are in the neighborhood. Just across Lake and a block north, for instance, is Cham Korean Bistro, which also emphasizes fresh, quality produce, so it’s perfect for an after-market dinner.
Shoppers Lane at Del Mar Ave., Pasadena., 626.449.0179, pasadenafarmersmarket.org.Wed. in summer 3:30-7 p.m.
Glendale Farmers’ Market
A friendly, mellow market with more food than crafts and a goodly selection of organic produce. It’s a certified market, so all the vendors in the central produce area are from California and are selling directly. There’s an excellent selection of citrus, including some varieties you don’t see elsewhere, and a good potato guy, too.
N. Brand Blvd. between Broadway & Wilson, Glendale, 818.548.3155, downtownglendale.com. Thurs. 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Pasadena – Robinson Park
Another offshoot of the big Saturday Pasadena market, this one runs from April through September. It has maybe a quarter of the stands found at its parent, but that’s enough to be of real service to residents of northwest Pasadena and Altadena.
1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, 626.449.0179, pasadenafarmersmarket.org. Thurs. 3:30-7 p.m.
South Pasadena Farmers’ Market
This neighborly, charm-packed certified market used to be better for prepared foods than produce, but new manager Greta Dunlap is kicking things up a few notches, and now it’s the best market east of Hollywood. There’s an abundance of great produce, including amazing mushrooms from LA Funghi, berries from Pudhill, grass-fed beef from J & J, and a range of vegetables from the wonderful South Central Farmers’ Cooperative. As for the prepared foods, they’re also terrific: rotisserie chicken, pupusas, tamales, addictive grilled corn on the cob, and the excellent Carmela ice cream. It’s a lively scene, with live music, balloon animals, teens meeting teens, moms pushing strollers, and friends meeting to shop and then walk to one of the many good nearby restaurants, some of which offer market-night specials. The Gold Line station is here, so leave your car at home!
Mission St. & Meridian Ave., South Pasadena, 626.403.2820, SouthPasadenaFarmersMarket.org. Thurs. 4-7 p.m.
Eagle Rock Farmers’ Market
This small but convivial evening market has live entertainment (often a good Elvis impersonator) and a lot of prepared foods, most notably a good Filipino barbecue place and tasty pupusas. Not all the produce is organic and/or farmer-direct, so make sure to ask. If you have little kids, you’ll appreciate the activities for them; if you don’t, consider starting your evening market stroll with a glass of wine at Colorado Wine Company around the corner.
2100 Merton Ave., Eagle Rock, 323.225.5466. Fri. 5-8:30 p.m.
Monrovia Farmers’ Market & Food Festival
More a street fair than a market, this weekly happening attracts families, packs of teens, seniors and date-nighters. It’s mostly crafts, vintage goods and prepared foods, but you’ll find a few produce stands. Lots of performers and kids activities, too.
Myrtle Ave. between Olive & Colorado, Monrovia, 626.357.7442. Fri. from March-Dec. 5-9 p.m.
La Cañada Flintridge Farmers’ Market
A compact weekend market with fresh and organic produce, flowers, prepared foods (nuts, oils) and a few crafts vendors. Alas, there are no eggs, meat or seafood, but the produce quality is high.
1300 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada, 818.591.8161, lacanadaflintridge.com. Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Pasadena – Victory Park
This large and popular market on the edge of Victory Park is full of excellent farmers, including Ha’s apples, ABC Rhubarb’s herbs, Gless Ranch’s citrus and Weiser Family Farms’s eggplants, melons and sweet onions, as well as a fish vendor and a great beef and poultry guy. Good flowers, too. Although there’s lots of socializing between friends running into each other, there are almost no cooked-food vendors; neither will you find craft booths or children’s activities. It’s all about the farmers here. The same group runs the good smaller market on Tuesday mornings at Villa Park and the new summertime market on South Lake.
N. Sierra Madre Blvd. & Paloma St., East Pasadena, 626.449.0179, pasadenafarmersmarket.org. Sat. 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Alhambra Farmers’ Market
A well-established market with a good selection of produce, food products and flowers, this market is known for its hard-to-find Asian produce, including the wintertime Wong pummelos so prized for Chinese New Year. Not all the produce is organic, but the market is a certified one, and most are raised spray-free. Besides fruit and vegetables, look for the egg stand, the nuts, the burrito guy and, of course, the bacon-wrapped hot dogs.
Monterey & E. Bay State St., Alhambra, 626.570.5081, cityofalhambra.org. Sun. 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Eagle Rock ‘n Roll Farmers’ Market
Live music is a focus at this small market, but there’s some good produce, too, mostly from the South Central Farmers’ Cooperative. It’s not a scenic spot, on the edge of the Target parking lot, but it’s worth a browse if you’re in the area on Sunday.
Upper parking lot, Eagle Rock Plaza, Colorado Blvd., 866.966.9495, pdmarkets.com. Sun. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Montrose Harvest Market
One of the showiest markets around, this Sunday-morning scene has a bounce house, pony rides, live music, antiques vendors and monthly special events, in addition to the expected produce, prepared food and flowers. Honolulu’s shops and cafés do a brisk business, too.
Honolulu & Ocean View Ave., Montrose, 805.637.6635, shopmontrose.com. Sun. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Monrovia Market in the Park
New for the summer of 2010, this small market is found in Library Park and has a decent selection of organic and/or local produce, as well as flowers, baked goods and prepared foods.
100 block of W. Lime Ave., Monrovia, 626.303.6600. Sun. 9 a.m.-2 p.m.