Living in southern CA with its year-round good weather, there is never a shortage of farmer’s markets to check out. Pretty much every city has one, so you never have to travel far for fresh products and handmade goods. However, only one of them is a must-see destination for visitors: the Original Los Angeles Farmer’s Market. This is the grand-daddy of all of southern CA’s farmer’s markets and is a piece of early Los Angeles history. Plus it’s just super fun.
In 1880, A.F. Gilmore and his business partner bought two dairy farms near the city of Los Angeles. 10 years later, they decided to break off the partnership and divide their land and businesses. Gilmore took control over their 256-acre ranch at the corner of 3rd & Fairfax.
When digging new wells in attempts to expand his dairy herd in the early 1900s, Gilmore struck oil. The cows were quickly replaced with oil derricks. However when the borders of Los Angeles were expanded to include Gilmore’s property, the derricks were no longer permitted to continue drilling for oil on a large scale.
And so the property remained vacant until the 1930s (1934 to be exact, the peak of the Great Depression), when two entrepreneurs approached A.F. Gilmore’s son, E.B. Gilmore, with a grand idea.
Fred Beck and Roger Dahlhjelm wanted to create a place where local farmers could set up stands to sell their fresh-off-the-farm produce, and the vacant lots at the corner of 3rd & Fairfax seemed like an ideal location. Gilmore agreed to give it a shot, and so in July of 1934, the first batch of farmers and merchants arrived to sell their goods out of the back of their trucks.
By the end of 1934, the market had grown to the point where merchants, including restaurants, grocers, and farmers, began moving into permanent stalls, turning the farmer’s market into what it is today. The fact that the market was able to thrive during the worst economic point of U.S. history is really a testament to the ingenuity of the entrepreneurs and the farmers who participated right from the start. They knew it would be a success.
The iconic farmer’s market clock tower was added in 1948. It originally featured the phrase “An Idea” painted above the entrance, paying homage to the founders of the market and the original 18 tenants. However the clock tower now lives above shops.
It has since grown into a must-see destination for locals and travelers alike, providing a unique blend of old and new LA. The market was here, in this exact same location, before Los Angeles as we know it even existed. And now it’s in the center of one of the poshest areas of the city. It’s crazy thinking how much has changed over the last 100 years.
There are dozens of produce vendors, restaurants, and specialty food shops located throughout the farmer’s market. You’ll definitely want to go there hungry, because there is so much tasty food available to purchase!
The permanent shops and eateries, as well as experiencing history, are the main reasons to head to this particular farmer’s market. As far as produce goes, there isn’t a ton available, and you’re better off buying produce from a market in any of the surrounding cities that is less crowded and has easier parking and more produce choices. Coming here for your weekly grocery shopping would be way too much of a hassle, unless you lived within walking distance.
The market is located right next to The Grove, which is arguably the best outdoor mall in southern CA. If you’ve never been, it’s definitely worth popping over there for a bit to check out all the cool stores and restaurants.
The farmer’s market also hosts events throughout the year, including live music every Friday and Saturday. Click here for their calendar of events!
6333 W.3rd St. Los Angeles, CA 90036
Telephone: (323) 933-9211
HOURS OF OPERATION
Monday – Friday: 9am – 9pm
Saturday: 9am – 8pm
Sunday: 10am – 7pm
Some merchant hours may vary. Please call individual businesses to confirm their hours.
PARKING AT FARMERS MARKET
Parking is available in either of the Market’s two convenient lots. Parking rates are enforced 24 hours a day.
Parking Rates WITH Validation
90 minutes free validation with purchase from a Farmers Market merchant
$3 for first 15 minutes after 90 minute validation period
$1 for each additional 15 minutes thereafter
*Lost ticket pays maximum
Parking Rates WITHOUT Validation
$2 for each 15 minutes
*Lost ticket pays maximum
Additional parking is also available in The Grove Parking Structure, next door. One hour parking in the structure is free.
*Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Diners Club accepted at all parking exits.*
For more information, visit the Original LA Farmer’s Market website.