New tastes await at the Eagle Rock Certified Farmers Market. Photo by Katie Hughes
Look for changes at the Eagle Rock Certified Farmers Market where the weekly fresh fruits and veggie selections will no longer be the only draw for locals on Friday nights.
Now in its 16th year, the Eagle Rock market has drawn a steady crowd of patrons who come down to the intersection of Merton and Casper not only the farmers’ wares, but to sample prepared foods in the “International Food Court,” hear entertainment – like the Elvis wannabe – and watch kids bounce and slide themselves silly on inflatables.
Lately, since the holidays, the vibe at the market seems a little weak with few booths and scattered entertainment. Naturally, it’s seasonal (you just can’t get peaches this time of year!) but it’s no surprise that the market is in need of a booster shot.
Market organizer Michael Noguiera, along with Eagle Rock mover and shaker Mary Tokita, envisions a revitalized market that embraces not only more selections of tasty, local and organic produce, but also offers a “town square” forum. A series of monthly speakers are planned for each month with topics of culinary interest and more (see below for current schedule. Check the FB page of the Eagle Rock Certified Farmers Market for updates and new information).
“We just need to revamp and reimagine the market,” says Noguiera at a recent Market Friday night when he was racing back and forth between vendors. In broadening the market’s reach, Noguiera says he’d love the market to be the place where local artists could come and show their stuff. “Maybe they can sell their art, or just show what they can do,” he says about the bounty of artists that live not only in Eagle Rock, but Highland Park and other nearby neighborhoods.
Tokita has been tasked with the job of researching and reaching out to other local potential vendors to make Eagle Rock their Friday night home. She would love to see more sustainable farmers and diversity in the types of products sold. She reassures that the current vendors will definitely still be “part of the scene,” but that new offerings – in both the fresh produce and food court – will “fill in the gaps” with new tastes.
“Today we have new vendors who are selling some very unique items,” she says about the Soledad Goat’s Cheese and Diva’s Crepes. At one booth, three vendors are showcasing their wares: Seasonal spreads offers apple plum glazes and other unique homemade spreads; Alegria Xocolatl uses variations of flavors in organic dark chocolate, and Sunshine Jewelry has a selection of handmade bling.
With the reboot in its beginning stages, Tokina says that an official date for the market’s 16th anniversary will probably be set for some time in April. “It’s the market’s Sweet Sixteen and we want to do it right,” she says.
To keep in touch with happenings at the Eagle Rock Certified Farmers Market, join the Facebook page. To become a vendor, contact Noguiera also on that Eagle Rock Certified Farmers Market Facebook page.
Speakers slated for ER Farmers Market:
- April 5: “Vegetable Gardening” – Yvonne Savio, director of the UC Cooperative Extension Common Ground Program (LA County’s Master Gardener program).
- April 19: “The Plant-Based Diet,” Cooking Demo of Seasonal Food from the Occidental College Vegan Club.
- April 26: “Street Food Vendors in LA,” Janet Favela, East LA Community Corporation.
- May 3: “Urban Agriculture,” Al Renner, LA Community Garden Council.
Also committing are Teri Wahl of Auntie Em’s and Eric Warren of the Eagle Rock Historical Society
Brenda Rees is a writer who lives in Eagle Rock