The Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers Market is one of those places in Los Angeles where it's nice to have a crowd, unlike, say, Hollywood Boulevard during summer vacation, with its jumbled claustrophobia of tourists, mimes and people dressed up like Jack Sparrow. On a May morning, with the marine layer evaporating from the ocean two blocks away and the stalls heavy with strawberries and dandelion greens, the last of the Meyer lemons and the first of the corn, the small universe of people milling between buckets of lilacs makes the closed-off Santa Monica blocks seem like a European city center, a pastoral collection of neighbors carrying baskets and carrying on conversations.
Turn a corner and you run into a table of mizuna and apples. Walk down the street, navigating parents trailing children and chefs pushing carts of produce, and you see an aspect of the city at its best: a collection of remarkable produce and genial citizens, squinting under hats, happily oblivious, at least for a few hours, to the traffic of the rest of the world. Turn the page for a catalog in photographs of what's in season in Los Angeles markets, as of this morning.