I'm in Los Angeles for almost three weeks and kicked it off yesterday with a visit to the venerable Hollywood Farmers' Market.
Amid chilly rain (I came here to get away from the cold) and drama (a cross-dressed man drove a car into the market crowd, luckily there were no major injuries) I walked the four long arms of the market and had my usual "why don't I live here?" moments. Despite my fifth-generation native Southern Californian status, I still romp the market with the curiosity and enthusiasm of a first-time tourist, chatting up the farmers and filling up my basket.
And to think of the state of the markets back in New York...Our beloved Union Square Greenmarket is sparse this time of year, selling mostly cellared root vegetables, apples and pears way past their peak, some pretzels, a few skeins of expensive lamb's wool and some nice dairy and meat products, but the Hollywood Farmers' Market was bursting with mid-winter life:
Baby purple, green and Napa cabbages, baseball-size eggplant, proud pencil-thin asparagus, vibrant birds of paradise, Nopal cactus, baby tri-color potatoes spilled out like jewels on the table, incredible strawberries, countless varieties of citrus, $1 almost-ripe avocados, $2 oysters shucked on the spot for breakfast or to take home, and even a balloon man.
Local avocados and oysters slurped down for breakfast are enough to make me consider a move west.