By Aaron Blevins, 6/14/2012
New Farmer’s Market Opens in Parking Lot
The iconic Sunset Strip is well-known for its music venues and a deeply-rooted rock ‘n roll tradition, but if all goes as planned, the Sunset Strip Business Association is hoping to make a name for its newest headliner: fresh produce.
The Sunset Strip Market opens today at 5 p.m. in a parking lot owned by the city of West Hollywood at 8755 Sunset Blvd. The effort, more than a year in the making, is expected bring a nighttime market to an area in need of such offerings, said association president Todd Steadman.
“We’re doing this to build community between the residents and the employees on the Strip,” he said.
Steadman said the new farmer’s market is geared toward residents and employees within walking distance, in hopes of premiering local farmers and producers. Organizers also hope to benefit local businesses with the increased foot traffic.
Steadman referenced a National League of Cities study that claimed that, for every $1 spent at the market, an additional $3 are spent in the surrounding community. The study also stated that 60 percent of market patrons also visit nearby stores, he said.
“That’s the idea behind the market,” Steadman added.
Diana Rodgers, who curated the vendors at the market, said the food vendors provide some healthy and delicious items. Patrons will also have an opportunity to meet local farmers and learn more about the source of their food, she said.
“It’s exciting,” Rodgers said. “We have some of the best organic farmers around Southern California.”
Vendors will sell a plethora of items, including produce, organic chicken and eggs; natural, grass-fed beef; almond products; vegetable seedlings; pistachio products; cheeses; krauts; kombucha drinks; Korean food; baked goods; Alaskan salmon and other seafood; jams and jellies; California oysters; household and personal care items; flatbread pizzas; sandwiches; beer and wine; and more.
Rodgers said more and more residents are concerned about the source of their meals. She said the Strip’s farmers all work within a reasonably local distance from West Hollywood.
“There’s been a movement to get back to farm-to-table,” Rodgers added.
She mentioned Refyll, which sells biodegradable soaps. The vendor sells its products out of refillable bottles, which residents can use to purchase more soap later. Rodgers said the idea is to not waste packaging.
“It’s really kind of cool,” she added.
Refyll is the only vendor who will not sell food items at the farmer’s market, aside from an alternating booth for local businesses who sell items that are relevant to the market.
While the market’s products are the main attraction, there will be plenty of entertainment as well. Courtney Kemp, the association’s communications manager, said different businesses will present the music, which will be a little more relaxed than the heavy metal that bellows from the Strip’s various music venues.
“It’ll be a great meeting spot in addition to being a farmer’s market,” she said.
The Standard, Hollywood, will present the first night’s musical selections as part of its “Desert Nights” showcase. Performers include Dawn Mitschele, Phantom Tortoise and Sotto.
The market will also feature a farm-to-table menu created by a local chef, who will use products from the market. Eveleigh’s executive chef, Jordan Toft, will be on hand this evening. Upcoming chefs include those from RH, Mirabelle and BLT Steak LA.
In the Pairing Pavilion, patrons will be able to select an organic, sustainable wine to complement their meal of the day. Kemp said sustainable wines from the Hess collection will be available, as will beers from Los Angeles-based Golden Road Brewing.
Additionally, organizers will offer residents assorted board games, Bocce ball and an area to leave their dogs.
“It’s a really great community event,” Kemp said.
Though organizers hope that patrons will walk or ride their bikes to the market, parking will be available. The city lots at 9056 Sunset Blvd. and 8459 Sunset Blvd. are $1 and $2 per hours, respectively. There are also several validated $5 self-parking lots and validated $5 value lots.
For more information, call (818)380-0400 or visit www.sunsetstripmarket.com.