The Original Farmers Market—is a historic Los Angeles landmark and tourist attraction, first opened on July 14, 1934.
Unlike most farmers’ markets, which are held only at intervals, the Original Farmers Market is a permanent installation and is open seven days a week. The Market features more than 100 restaurants, grocers, and tourist shops, and is located just south of CBS Television City (at the corner of 3rd Street and Fairfax Avenue). It is adjacent to The Grove outdoor shopping mall; an electric-powered streetcar runs between the two sites.
At the turn of the century: In order to expand his dairy herd, A. F. Gilmore started (1905) drilling for water on the ranch; he found oil. Gilmore Oil and the A.F. Gilmore Company are off and running. Together A.F. Gilmore with his son, Earl Bell, turned their Gilmore Oil Company into the largest distributor of petroleum products in the Western U.S. In the 30s, a stadium is built to promote the oil company by hosting sporting events such as open wheel car races.
In July 1934: 18 farmers and merchants park their trucks on vacant Gilmore land, selling produce to local housewives. Vendors pay 50 cents a day in rent. The idea (“invented” by Roger Dahlhjelm and Fred Beck) is so successful that by fall, Farmers Market has stalls and shops, restaurants and special events. The first Fall Festival is held October 1934 – an annual event that continues to this day.
In May 1939: Gilmore Field opens “The Hollywood Stars”, owned by real stars such as C.B. DeMille and Barbara Stanwyck, play home games at the field, one of the most intimate professional baseball diamonds ever built. Pre- and post-game meals at the Farmers Market are a hit with baseball fans. Only when the Brooklyn Dodgers move to L.A. in 1958 is the field torn down.
Farmers Market opens a new building on Fairfax Avenue offering retail and office space: Called The Dell; it expands over the years to include dozens of shops.
In 1948, Gilmore Drive-In opens on Third Street. It offers benches up front so pedestrians can enjoy outdoor movies, too. The Drive-In snack shop features a baby bottle warming station for the first Baby Boomers.
The Gilmore Company sells a portion of its land and Gilmore Stadium is razed to make way for CBS Television City: Commerce expands with the opening of Gilmore Bank in 1955. Farmers Market is a celebrity hot spot with special appearances by numerous Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe.
1980’s: Farmers Market grows to include more than 120 shops, the multi-generation family run stalls overflow with fresh produce, meats, seafood, cheese, and pastries, as well as souvenir-worthy treats like fresh organic spices, freshly roasted nuts, and handmade candy.
In 1991 the Los Angeles City Council declares Farmers Market a Historic Cultural Monument: New development continues, including the former site of the Gilmore Drive-In which, in 2002, becomes The Grove, a popular shopping center.
History displays at Farmers Market include:
Gilmore Sports Kiosk—All kinds of sports had their home on the Gilmore property and near to where the Farmers market stands. From football to baseball (The Hollywood Stars were a minor league baseball team) to midget car racing and jai’alai (a hand ball game).
Farmers Market Clock Tower—which overlooks Farmers Market Plaza and the main entrances to the Market, has welcomed visitors to the Market for more than half a century. It was first erected in 1941, replacing the Market’s previous icon, a windmill. The Farmers Market Clock Tower now houses a “Taschen" book shop.
Let’s take a look some interesting “stalls”, shall we?
Huntington Meats & Sausage—A true old-fashioned butcher shop, offers traditional roasts, steaks, chops, ground beef and much more. Huntington is also one of the city’s exclusive purveyors of Harris Ranch meats. p.s. In any given week, the Huntington Meats & Sausage will sell 1200 pounds of ground beef.
Bennett’s Ice Cream—is one of the last of a vanishing tradition: Scott Bennett and his staff make their own ice cream from fresh ingredients mixed on the spot (you can watch the process through Bennett’s kitchen window).
Mr. Marcel Gourmet Market—is the most sophisticated grocery store in town – traditional, exotic and unique; it is a cook’s delight. You’ll find a magnificent deli counter offering cheeses and cold cuts from around the world, a wine cellar which is as international as it is large, and (a favorite among locals) a large collection of old-fashioned pickle and olive barrels. p.s. On any given day the Monsieur Marcel Gourmet Market will sell 100 pounds of cheese.
Bob’s Coffee & Doughnuts—An L.A. institution. Thanks to Owner Bob Tusquesllas and his crew, the raised donuts here are made the same way they’ve been made for over 40 years: with a rolling pin, natural yeasts, and several hours of kneading. p.s. The recipes for Bob’s Doughnuts are in bank vault safe deposit box.
Magee’s House of Nuts—Magee’s wide, superior variety of nuts has been a tradition for decades (opened 1917). Pecans, walnuts, macadamias and several varieties of peanuts are all available by weight or in charming gift boxes.
There’s a special treat here: the fresh nut butters are scrumptious and, if your timing is right, you can watch the machine which makes fresh peanut butter work its magic. (Lucky us!) p.s. The Beatles love their visit to Magee’s Nuts; they even signed the Thank You note pronouncing the nut shop “fab”.
Magic Nut and Candy Company—formerly known as Ultimate Nut & Candy Company, world-wide selection of nuts and candies occupy the counters here. p.s. In any given week, the Magic Nut & Candy Company will sell 500 bags of caramel corn.
T (Tea Shoppe)—Here you’ll find hundreds of teas galore from Ceylon, India and China, among other exotic sources. Full compliments of tea accessories are available as well. p.s. On any given day, the T (Tea Shoppe) will sell about 50 ounces of loose tea.
Dylan’s Candy Bar—located on the eastern end of Farmers Market Plaza. Dylan Lauren’s (Ralph Lauren’s vivacious daughter) creative shop is filled to overflowing with sweet treats from chocolate concoc-tions to gummies and gobstoppers, all displayed in an amazing setting, an energetic presentation of hundreds of treats everybody loves.
Trolley Rides—A green double-decker battery powered Trolley, built on the undercarriage of a 1950s Boston street car (35 feet long and 13 feet 4.75 inches tall), gives free rides between the Farmers Market and the Grove.
The Grove—is retail and entertainment complex in Los Angeles just south of CBS Television City, built, owned, and operated by Rick J. Caruso and his company Caruso Affiliated on parts of the historical Farmers Market. p.s. 每次到 The Grove 總是忍不住懷念，住了一個夏天的 Santana Row! (http://www.santanarow.com/)
The Spirit of Los Angeles created by sculptor De L´Esprie. It is a magnificent bronze statue of a male and a female angel soaring skyward. The statue not only serves as the centerpiece of The Grove, it is a signature piece for the City and an enduring symbol of the limitless opportunities Los Angeles offers. The bronze Angel´s wingspan is 10 feet wide and stands 18 feet high on top of a 22 foot hand limestone column.
Dancing Fountain built by WET Design, the same company who built the fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The fountain is located in front of the theatre at the heart of The Grove.
CBS Television City—is a television studio complex (opened in 1952) located just north of North Market, was once part of the Gilmore dairy farm; it was also the site of Gilmore Stadium.
p.s. It’s hard to believe that when Bob Tusquellas, owner of Tusquellas Seafoods (opened 1966), Bob’s Coffee and Doughnuts (opened 1970) and Tusquellas Fish & Oyster Bar (opened 1982) went into the doughnut shop, he knew nothing about doughnuts.
Just as Bob said that anything with yeast is difficult. Making doughnuts is definitely not easy; is a craft, an art. It’s like painting, it’s different every day. “The Market is my life; it’s meant everything to be here." Thanks to his passion, now I can have the delicious doughnut.