The Santa Monica Farmer’s Market here in L.A. is a funny, funny thing. It’s sort of an institution. People get very serious about this market.
I’ve been coming here for 20 years and the antics never disappoint. It’s basically a little village that congregates and then disperses without fail – rain or shine – every Wednesday. But as eye catching as the produce is, it’s the people watching that’s not to be missed.
Business people, homeless people, yogis, hippies, moms and of course all kinds of farmers.
But the chefs are my favorite.
Oh, those chefs. There is not one ‘type’ to them, but what they do all have in common is immense bravado and the desire to arrive well before anyone else to clear out all the specialty produce before the poor, destitute common folk like us have a chance at it.
The Los Angeles Times has been covering this phenomenon for years, discussing whether the chefs have the ‘right’ to get first dibs on things. Believe it or not, there is actually a lot of public resentment over this.
I say who cares.
Rather than the debate, what I find much more interesting is the bravado of it all. The chefs walk the market like peacocks with plumes fully spread amongst a sea of the rest of us regular pigeons. While some show restraint and wear street clothes, many of them don their full regalia (even at 9:00AM): bandana, chef’s jacket (monogrammed with their name and restaurant name), requisite clogs or crocks and an entourage of one – or two – ‘attendants’ to push their massive cart of horded produce.
This is not to be missed.
Weaving through the crowd of mere mortals (ie, us) they seem to take pity on people (like me) who at 11:00AM have already more than missed the coveted goods.
Yesterday that would be zucchini blossoms.
But I say chefs be damned! I have a little veggie patch in my own back yard which just so happened to have two fat blossoms on it this morning, just screaming to be filled with goat cheese, then gently cradled into a pool of sizzling olive oil until ever so slightly golden in color.
A perfect little snack enjoyed not in a fancy restaurant, but in my humble kitchen, alone on a sunny spring afternoon.