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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Early morning Santa Monica farmer's market confessions

It's Wednesday, which for everyone in downtown Santa Monica means the joy of the Santa Monica farmer's market (or for some, perhaps just a little more traffic, pedestrians with rickety vegetable carts, and crowded parking structures.) Since I belong to the first group, I couldn't resist the urge to take a quick stroll through the hustle and bustle of the awakening market when I arrived to work very early this morning. Are there others out there that enjoy walking through an empty farmer's market? Walking past the early-rising vendors, you'll see entire lives strategically and carefully packed into vans and trucks. Long metal poles clank and clack to transform into the lively culinary tent cities that bring Arizona street to life. The environment feels familial as people call "good morning" to one another, yawn with their mouths open wide, and get ready for their consumers. English and Spanish words dance throughout the market, around an otherwise still third street Promenade. As everyone arrives to this Los Angeles destination, it's quite possible you could hear any language uttered. At the height of the market, it's a certainty you'll observe wide-eyed stroller-riding children marvel at seriously giant artichokes and drool over orange slice samples. It's a constant that people will chat about the recipes they're planning to make with their families. You'll probably brush shoulders with some great chefs. However, there's something about observing an empty market that really reaffirms the respect I have for the hard-working individuals who run it. As it starts to warm up and the sun comes out, the unpacking continues-- lettuce heads, apple turnovers, cash boxes, calculators, scales, and more morning greetings. In Santa Monica, Wednesday is meaningful. Forget your middle of the week humdrum, because the market is today.
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