Friday, March 10, 2017

Sunny Santa Monica's Farmers Market.

The weather has been showing off lately.  After a very wet California winter the sun has peeked out and the thermometer has been calling us outside.  I wont lie, I may have skipped a day of dishes and left them for tomorrow so I could use that time to take a nap in the sunshine.  Its been that perfect.  Its also coming up on one of our most favorite times of the year and this year we have a sad side of it.  The Easter Jeep Safari is quickly coming and we don't think were going to make it.  There are only so many days of vacation to go around and we have our cruise to Alaska and trip to Vancouver to think about.

The Easter Jeep Safari, put on by the Red Rock 4wheelers, should be on everyone's bucket list.  The quiet little town of Moab Utah buzzes with the excitement of the most incredible off road meetings in the world.  No matter what your off road experience or your taste for trails is they will have something for you.  They even have a vendor show where you can get amazing deals on the latest and greatest off road gear.  Don't fear if your choice of vehicle isn't a Jeep.  They are welcoming to any off road vehicle but you might get a little heckled, if you are near me anyway.  Did I mention that Brandan is thinking about buying a Toyota 4 runner?  That is a story for a different day but you should know that he is in a little bit of a dog house on that one.  I have gone way off course here.  We will gush about the wonders of Moab and the Easter Jeep Safari soon, but for today we want to tell you about the Santa Monica Farmers Market.

The longer we live here in Sunny SoCal the more I hear the call of the ocean.  I never did understand it.  Sand is a beast to clean up and those waves are powerful.  I'm still not quite over the ocean claiming my Oakley's in a past post when we were still learning the ocean lessons.  There is no denying that the ocean is beautiful though.  From frothy waves to huge swells, every beach and every day can bring something completely new in its own way.  We still haven't traveled the PCH but we will and in an open top Jeep if I can get my way.  Maybe we will compromise and rent a sporty convertible.  Time will tell but an open top seems like the right way to travel with a view like that.  Wednesday we traveled down to Santa Monica to see the farmers market.

On the corner of Ocean and Arizona you can see a sneak peek of what lies ahead.  Parking here is $2.00 for 12 minutes or $20 for the day.  We didn't choose to park here though.  A few streets down is the Santa Monica Pier.  The pier has parking for $6 a day and its well lit with a view like no other.  As we were walking the path from the pier to the market we saw people having a blast.  There were the water lovers splashing in the ocean, the rollerbladers who were going up the stairs when we saw them (I cant even stay standing on those but these guys can do stairs?), the people on Segways and flocks of people on bikes.  It all looked like so much fun.  You can rent the bikes and Segways from local shops and kiosks if you decide to join the fun but don't come prepared.  After a few minutes of walking we rounded the corner to see a huge farmers market.  There was a good amount of foot traffic there but the streets were blocked off to cars and the tents were side by side for a few blocks, also running down the side streets.

The market went on for ever.  We were able to see it all but plan on spending some time there.  Quite a few of the people there had rolling baskets similar to the wagons I dragged my kids in when they were younger but with tall fabric sides.  This was a big deal for them and I am guessing where they did a majority of their food shopping.

In 1981 Santa Monica established a weekly farmers market to connect the farmers to the community.  It has since grown to twice a week and prides it self in being mostly certified organic. Its a hot spot for local restaurants to pick up items and make connections for their supplies.  While we were there we saw two different chefs in their white chef attire making deals with the vendors.  This isnt fast food were talking about here.  The variety is crazy.  Of course you can get your normal local oranges off the trees you see while driving through the town.  I wasn't prepared though for the hundreds of options in greens and the heirloom variety's you cant find in a local market.  We picked up two sized of oranges in 10 pound bags.  The small ones were $5 a bag and the large were $8.  These weren't organic which is a rare thing here.  I saw people passing these up who were fully dedicated to a 100% organic diet.  We also picked up a variety of carrots ($2.50 a pound) in different colors.  We are having those for dinner tonight so I cant tell you how they taste but the purple ones will be a first for me.  We picked up some fresh rosemary ($1 which will go with the carrots tonight) and dill (that I have no idea what we are going to use it with but it smelled so great that for $1 I couldn't pass up).  We got sungold cherry tomatoes ($4.50 a container) and kumquats ($3.50) to snack on.  We got a block of goats milk cheese ($7) and my adventurous boy and I got some raw milk and milk kefir($2 a single serving bottle).  The kefir packed a punch.  It was like extra tart greek yogurt but thinned out to drinkable.  We had a cold in our house a bit ago and I though the natural probiotics would be a great bonus.  I think next time Ill just pop a probiotic pill.  

(Here is your trigger warning: I have opinions).  Overall the farmers market was cool.   I will be back for sure.  Id love to try each of the cabbage varieties in our weekly menu.  I wont be doing all of my shopping here though.  Firstly because it was a 2 hour drive due to the 405 always being a mess and secondly I'm just not sure how people work these costs into their food budget.   I get that its a priority to eat healthy and that if we take care of our bodies they will take care of us.  I spent a little over $40 for a few snacks and a side dish.  I feel like I could fill half a cart at Sprouts or Aldi and still stay with the organic standards of the market.  The local thing is a definite plus but probably not enough to get me to do all my shopping there.  Id rather save the money and take my family to Hawaii.  That felt super critical but I promise I don't mean it with any malice.  We are all different and have different ideas about things in life.  If we were all the same then this would be a pretty dull place.  I'm so thankful for the chance to have the choices I get to make in life.  I am so grateful for the freedoms we enjoy everyday that we don't give a second thought to.  And I'm grateful that I can rant on this blog about an amazing day I had and the blessings I get to enjoy every day.

As a bonus, here is a photo of two tiny squirrels racing around the grass under a tree overlooking the beautiful blue ocean on a blue sky kinda day.   Get out there and make some memories guys!

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