San Marino, known for its air of gentility and perhaps most famously as the home of the Huntington Library & Gardens, will host a new regular event starting tomorrow night. City Farm, which organizes farmers markets in unique locations, including on the Warner Bros. studio lot and at Yamashiro restaurant, kicks off the San Marino Farmers Market Friday from 2 to 7 p.m.
This municipality might not have any multifamily housing within its borders, but there will be wood-fired pizza, fresh produce, artisanal ice cream and raw honey sold at the intersection of San Marino Avenue and Huntington Drive. Despite a number of farmers markets in the general area - the South Pasadena Thursday evening market, for example, has a well-established presence - Nick Spano of City Farm believes the demand isn't entirely met in this particular town.
See also: The Ultimate L.A. Farmers Market Guide + Google Map!
While San Marino has "worked hard to preserve its bedroom community and small-town vibe, there hasn't been a lot of growth for businesses," he says. "There are a lot of younger families in the community, and they want to have something to look forward to and something to do in their own city limits."
The initial suggestion for this locale came from Jane Glover, an owner of Yamashiro, where Spano spearheaded the nighttime market, which has become an anticipated Thursday night summer Hollywood ritual. Because other entities failed in previous attempts to bring a farmers market to San Marino, Spano "really tried to address the concerns of the community." Partnering with the city manager, Chamber of Commerce and Recreation Department helped smooth out potential stumbling blocks, and eventually the San Marino City Council approved the motion to let the market happen.
As for the goods on offer, Spano aims for a roughly equal mix of produce, prepared foods and packaged specialty items. For those who want to eat late lunch or dinner at the market, the Flatiron Truck and Corn Maiden Foods will be there. Bulgarini and Coolhaus will take care of shoppers' frozen dessert needs. Olive Wood Pizza and Urban Pie will fire up pizzas in their mobile ovens on alternating weeks.
Others in the San Marino market lineup include DoValle Pasta, Simply Conscious Foods and Bloom Honey/Jefferson Farms, along with well-known SoCal farmers market stalwarts McGrath Farms, Avila & Sons, and the South Central Farmers' Cooperative. Home cooks can bring their dull blades on Friday to Man of Steel for on-site sharpening. (Despite the San Marino Farmers Market logo referencing its best-known 20th-century resident, there won't be a vintage P.E. Red Car to climb aboard.)
Spano and market organizers chose the location since it's "the main artery of the city" and in front of City Hall. (This portion of road off of San Marino Avenue has a natural barrier thanks to a pronounced curb and landscaping.) In the spirit of cooperation and support of Friday's newest happening in town, "All the local businesses have given up their parking to make the market happen," he says.
Mayor Dennis Kneier will be on hand tomorrow evening for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. This might be a small town, but it's got quite the distinguished political history. "We get to throw a big party in San Marino, and it's as close to a party as you're going to get with a farmers market," Spano says.
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San Marino Farmers Market: Fridays, 2-7 p.m.; 1427-1477 San Marino Ave., San Marino; (323) 388-5040, lacityfarm.com. Open year-round.