If you want rock-star chefs trailed by television camera crews under a morning's low marine layer, and farmers' stalls loaded with O'Henry peaches and Blenheim apricots and Meyer lemons and Russian fingerling potatoes and Gaviota strawberries and wild purslane and stinging nettles and fresh garbanzo beans and, well, imagine what else, then the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers Market is the place for you. It's better than a Food Network show and a lot cheaper than a trip to Whole Foods. There may be bigger markets, or those with more specialized produce or prepared foods, but this is the one you go to if you want to see Spago pastry chef Sherry Yard picking through pluots in her pink chef's jacket. Maybe it's because this market is held in a blocked-off section of Santa Monica's Promenade, or because everyone seems to know each other, or because restaurant people cluster in small groups drinking Hans Röckenwagner's coffee and speaking Italian and French, but if you wander through the crowds and stalls you'd swear you somehow strolled into a European town square on market day.

—Amy Scattergood

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