From Downtown to Downey, East LA to Echo Park, Manhattan Beach to Mar Vista, and Pasadena to Palms, Farmer’s Markets are all around us in Los Angeles. Setting out into the sun to select local, sustainable produce, products, and sweets is a beneficial boost to your nutritional, physical, and mental health.
Walking through the markets, the smells of local and seasonal produce change throughout the year. Listening to vendors and neighbors welcome each other back each week brings a sense of small-town community to a big city. Breaking the daily cycles of fluorescent lights, elevators, and covered parking lots to walk out in the sun with fresh smells mid-week can reset your cabin-fever to consciousness. Doses of Vitamin D from the sun chemically change your body and mind for the better. Many local restaurants shop for their fresh produce at these very markets. Parking is usually ample with street or two-hour free available. Of course, biking or walking is always a great way to shift into the weekly tradition.
Every Farmer’s Market has its own personality. The vibes in Venice and beats in Beverly Hills are different, but what stands the same are the benefits. In February, fruits and vegetables are abundant in Los Angeles and can charge your mouth with delectable flavors, cheering up meals throughout our winter months. Adding a new fruit or vegetable to every meal can make it fun and exciting. Looking up new recipes integrating fresh flavors expands your palate and mind taking us on mini vacations with an epicurean insight to include new cultures and beyond!
This month, delicious strawberries are in season! Many citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are bountiful. February seasonal vegetables include asparagus, brussels sprouts, cabbages, and carrots. The sweet potato is an up and coming trendy root vegetable this time of year with lots of salad greens available like arugula, kale, lettuces, spinach, and more. Making a beautiful spinach salad with fresh citrus segments, almonds, and blueberries, along with a fresh citrus dressing made from delicious olive oils is all possible from your local Farmer’s Market this time of year. Soups are a popular way to stay warm during the month of February. A light vegetable soup with a crunchy fresh baked bread will comfort any afternoon.
Most Farmers Markets are open weekly or bi-weekly and bring local vendors from all around. Easy internet searches can bring up markets near your home or work to make blending them into your daily life quite easy. Swing by on your way into the office and place perishables in the kitchen fridge until it’s time to go home. Grab a coworker you are trying to help get healthier and head out on your lunch break. Make it fun and try a new market every week to find the one you like the best! Most take credit cards, although cash is definitely king.
- Get there early for the best selection.
- Don’t hesitate to bargain for a deal, especially toward the end of the day.
- Bring your own bags, hat, walking shoes, rolling cart, and cash.
Seasonal Spinach Salad with Citrus
6 cups baby spinach
2-3 oranges/grapefruits – choose different kinds – cut into segments (no membrane)
¼ cup dried cranberries, fresh blueberries, or pomegranate seeds
¼ slivered almonds
Optional avocado cubes or protein of choice
¼ cup orange juice – don’t forget to squeeze from leftover membranes!
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T champagne vinegar
1/8 tsp Stevia
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup olive oil
Pepper to taste
Wish together dressing ingredients in small bowl. Place spinach in large salad bowl, drizzle dressing to taste while tossing. Add some blueberries and slivered almonds and toss to coat. Sprinkle remaining blueberries and almonds on top. Decorate top of salad with citrus wedges. Add dressing coated avocado cubes and proteins as desired. Serve as a side salad for four or double for a main dish.