Imagine a social grocery shopping experience, one in which you interact directly with the farmer’s who grow the produce your purchasing, where you’re surrounded by music and good atmosphere, and where you might run into and spend time with friends. That’s what a Farmer’s Market is. Today, I experienced 7 distinct ways to enjoy the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market.
1. Eat Brunch at the Farmer’s Market
I arrive at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market on bike, park it at the free bike valet, and walk past the band to the back left corner where you can find a variety of brunch food. I often find myself at the Crepe stand, but in an effort to diversify my experience, I went to the Omelet Bar and order an omelet packed with veggies. I sat down at a table on the Victorian patio to enjoy my brunch solo while observing people and listening to the band.
2. Buy Produce at the Farmer’s Market
I finish my omelet, wipe down the table and quickly stand up for an elderly couple with plates looking for a place to sit. I stroll over to and through the produce section once, just looking at the variety of vegetable and fruits offered today. Just as I’m about to get to the end and start walking back, a girl offers me a kumquat, which look like ping-pong ball sized oranges. “You can eat it all” she says, so I pop it in my mouth. “How much is it?” I ask, “$4 a basket” she answers. Sold. I walk back through the market and also pick up 2 lbs of satsuma mandarins and a basket of dates.
3. Read a Book at the Farmer’s Market
Having finished my brief shopping experience, I walk back over to the Victorian and notice more tables being open. I snag a table toward the side, but where I still have a good view of the crowd and band. I pull out the book I’m currently reading Onward by Howard Schultz. It’s a great book about the transformation of Starbucks during the return of Mr. Schultz as ceo, written from the heart, I would suggest this book to anybody.
4. Meet Up with Friends at the Farmer’s Market
I’d probably been reading my book for about 20 minutes when my friend Heather-Leigh texts me to tell me she’s arrived. I’d texted her earlier in the morning to join me at the farmer’s market. I put down the book and walk over to meet Heather-Leigh and her friend Danny, we shared hugs and wished each other a happy new year. We did a slow stroll-through of the farmer’s market together as we caught up on how our holidays were and what we’re looking forward too. While a brief interaction lasting 10 minutes at most, it’s always a pleasant experience to catch up with friends.
5. Talk to People You Meet or See at the Farmer’s Market
Just as I’d split with Heather-Leigh and Danny, and start walking back through the farmer’s market, I’m stopped by my friends Alex Lightman and his girlfriend Eddy. Alex is often the smartest person in the room, and every conversation I have with him, I walk away inspired. He has an uncanny ability to suggest the right book to the right people at the right moment. The three book I now have to read are Finite and Infinite Games, First Things First, and Mastery. While you can’t plan running into people, it’s something that inevitably happens when you regularly attend any weekly event.
6. Go on a Date at the Farmer’s Market
My girlfriend calls me just as I say bye to Alex and Eddy, telling me she’sarrived at the market. We hold hands and walk through the market together, chatting as she picks up some fruits and vegetables. This is one of the rare places where you can tackle chores (grocery shopping) while going on a pleasant date.
7. Go Somewhere After the Farmer’s Market
Farmer’s Markets are often near other businesses; the one in Santa Monica happens to be a block from the beach and right on Main Street. As my girlfriend and I sit down on the lawn to enjoy some fruits, I notice we’re sitting next to Espree and her friend Dan, who’d just joined Originate, an accelerator I’d been interested in learning more about. After chatting briefly, all four us have to retrieve our bikes from the valet which closes at 1:20pm. Wanting to continue our conversation, we bike over to Main Squeeze, where we sit down to enjoy some fresh squeezed juice.
If you live around Santa Monica, hope to see you at the Sunday Main St Farmer’s Market some time!
Which farmer’s markets do you go to, and what do you enjoy buying?