Farmers market: Eagle Rock Farmers Market
When: Fridays, 4 to 8 p.m. (8:30 during the summer)
Where: Recently relocated, the Eagle Rock market is now held just outside Eagle Rock City Hall, 2035 Colorado Boulevard at Maywood (just west of the Oinkster).
Run by the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce, this small neighborhood market started 16 or 17 years ago. "There was a clear need for such a market," says chamber president Mike Noguiera. "Eagle Rock didn't have hardly any restaurants," he said. "We didn't even have a coffee shop." The market gave locals a place to go out and enjoy their neighborhood, as well as a place to buy fresh produce. It grew quickly, Noguiera says.
Over time, the Eagle Rock neighborhood - now home to many restaurants, coffee shops and businesses - has transformed dramatically. That's a key reason that the market, formerly held at a Merton Avenue parking lot, relocated in early May. With so many vibrant businesses in the area, Noguiera said, the chamber wanted to make the lot available for those businesses to use. Plus, moving to well-trafficked Colorado Boulevard makes the market more visible to passersby, which could help it attract more shoppers.
Although the new location is a bit smaller, squeezing the market's 30 or so vendors closer together, it offers the advantage of grassy space, whereas the previous digs were all concrete.
One thing that's special about the market, Noguiera says, is that it takes place on Friday night, which makes it an "inexpensive way to wind down" from the week. Eagle Rock area residents, many of them families with young children, shop alongside students from nearby Occidental College. There's a face-painting station and a vendor making balloon animals - not to mention kid-friendly fare such as shave ice and funnel cake.
Fresh produce booths are few, but there are several booths selling prepared foods, including Mexican, Peruvian, Korean, Salvadoran and Mexican options. Shoppers can buy a plate, settle in at one of the market's many tables and have dinner while taking in live music. The performers alternate: Sometimes there's a saxophonist, while on alternate weeks there's an ever-popular Elvis impersonator.
"It's all community," Noguiera says. "That's what it's all about."
Vendors include: Alma Produce; Mama Jen's Old-Fashioned Nut Butters; Me Gusta Gourmet Tamales; Edna's Filipino Cuisine; Alirang Korean Foods; Snowie (shave ice); Brothers Products (hummus and spreads); Ma and Pa Kettle Corn.