By Michael Collins
While other farmers markets are better known in the Southland, none can match the bounty and beauty of the Westwood Farmers Market, situated in the West Los Angeles VA campus every Thursday afternoon from noon to 7 p.m. Nestled in the 14-acre Vets’ Garden, the market has more than 30 farmers and vendors on the luscious fruit-tree- and rose-bush-covered grounds under towering century-old trees. Unlike scorching-hot Hollywood’s or foggy Santa Monica’s farmers markets, the weather is temperate, music is live, parking is free, and the tranquil grounds allow for an amble back in time.
The Vets’ Garden provides veterans with rehabilitation, employment, and training programs, and a pretty place to chill on land deeded to our soldiers in perpetuity from an 1888 land grant. Staffed by horticulturists and volunteers, and supervised by an occupational therapist, the VA program is open daily to patients of the VA medical center who have been referred by a vocational rehabilitation specialist.
The market offers a kaleidoscope of leafy green vegetables, multicolored spuds, and more berries and fruits than West Hollywood. Sausages, fresh flowers, bread, and cheeses galore contribute to the fragrance of blooming trees and freshly tilled dirt. The second and fourth Thursdays of the month feature arts and crafts vendors.
Westwood Farmers Market is perfect for an outdoor lunch or early dinner with plenty of reasonably priced Greek, Cajun, and Mexican food. Dessert arrives piping-hot from the oven with agave-nectar-sweetened rhubarb, apple, pear, and peach cobblers made from fresh fruit. A pleasant reminder of what Los Angeles was like before the teeming masses arrived. See Westwood FarmersMarket.com.