Ever wake up in the morning and think “my food isn’t Fresh enough”? Have you stared into the void of your fridge to find nothing appetizing? Well how about you refresh your pantry and palette with a visit to the Lakewood Farmers Market!
I came to a parking lot turned veggie forest. “Grand Opening” it was. Fairly crowded, there was still plenty of room to walk around and not feel “packed in”.
Before I could even search for a way to quench my hunger, I hear drums, I hear chanting, a chorus of bells, chimes and proud voices. In a clearing of the marketplace everyone gathered to watch a man in ceremonial robes. He was from the local tribe, doing their ceremonial dance. He swayed and swung with feet, hot on the asphalt, and after 5 minutes, he finished. But as soon as he finished. The second performance began. This time, a little quicker tempo. He kept in step. The song got faster still. Drums playing harder, chanting getting stronger, and he moved faster still. Next thing we know, the elder of the tribe joined the fray, moving with the music. They danced in unison, the drums now pounding, the chanting turning to shouting. They danced at a speed that would have broken me. After another 6 minutes. The music came to a crescendo, the performers now swinging as they jumped locked in motion and steps, spun and spun. Then with abrupt stop, it ended. We applauded furiously. Saying it was good would be an understatement.
The first stand was run by an elderly couple who were incredibly friendly and inviting. Their fruit-stand had all the crowd pleasers for the hungry: sweet oranges, huge carrots, giant cucumbers. Looking for something new? How about a custard apple? The got some fruit you might not know of yet.
As if to compliment them, the next stand over had all the veggies. Cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus galore. Whatever you needed to fill up the soup sides, they had. They had fresh spices too, even Dill!
Across the way had the odd duck. Mountain Meadow Mushrooms. Truth be told, they are my favorite stand. They had fresh, unbruised mushrooms in a wide variety. Oyster, SnowPuffs (enoki), and maitake. Mushrooms are packed with vitamins and are great fried, baked, roasted, what have you. If you’re having a hard time picking, they have a variety pack for sampling.
The next stall was called “Soap for People” (Proceeds for dogs). The selection was wide as it was wild. He blended simple scents with wild spices; the man had vision, and recommendations. I took home a simple “vanilla” and still to this date, the scent is pleasurably strong.
One stall was just honey. Stacks of honey, from different bees that collected from different flowers. It’s hard to describe the subtle differences in honey from agave and honey from dandelions. You’ll just have to come down and see for yourself which you like best.
Halfway through my shopping, another performance broke out. It was a Hawaiian Cultural dance with local highschoolers and teachers. They went through multiple dances. A number of songs they danced to were performed by the live band they brought. Lots of drums. Lots of spinning. Everyone loved the performance, but honestly, they just seemed happy to be there, and that was really awesome.
After watching all that dancing, I had finally remembered. I was famished, and right around the corner was the answer. The food court!
First food stall in sight was Gil’s Oyster House. It was fresh seafood. Everything was on the menu: Salmon, sword fish, tuna, and tilapia to name a few. And of course, oysters. With decent prices and a full selection, I was hard pressed to pass it up. But I hungered for something…… starchy.
The market had such a giant selection of food, that I felt I had more choices than a food court.
Yalla Tizers offered a healthy alternative to chips that incorporated salads into chips and dip.
2 stalls were a Latin food and drink station combo. La pupusa Feliz had Burritos, Huaraches, and tacos, and everything one could ask for, but still…. I needed something… Starchier!
On the other side, every fruit juice you could want on a burning day. But I’m a sugar fiend, “one horchata please” it was good, creamy and cold.
There it was. The simplest title for the simplest food. Tamales, my salvation! With piping hot chicken tamales and horchata in hand, I feasted! In one foul moment. 3 Tamales disappeared into the void and all was quiet. True happiness is a belly full tamales as hot as burning coals. But one thing was missing…
KettleCorn! If the banner reads as the food, it must be good. So far, this rule seems to ring true. Armed with 1 bag of spicy corn and 1 bag rainbow corn. I constantly teetered between hot and spicy to rich and creamy, crunchy goodness.
The market still had more to offer, with cream cheeses, cakes, pies, nuts and even face painting. But I had already accomplished my mission, one only has 2 legs, and it was nearing the end of my day.
With that said, I now go here every other Saturday. And with it being a 10 minute drive from the Lakewood Self Storage, it's an extremely convenient lunch. All I know is Tamales sounds like a great reward after going through one’s storage. Overall, I couldn’t recommend this place hard enough.
Come on down to Lakewood’s Certified Farmer’s Market on Clark Ave & Del Amo Blvd every Saturday, 8am – 1pm and get your grub on!