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Hollywood market's Farmer's Kitchen has its grand opening

October 8, 2009 |  5:41 pm


Seven years in the making, the Farmer's Kitchen is officially open -- with a ribbon-cutting and about 100 people, farmers and politicians among them, all on hand today to salute the idea of making the Hollywood Farmers' Market last all week long.

The cafe, at Selma Avenue and Morningside Court in the Sunset and Vine complex, opened quietly in the spring, an effort to use surplus food from the Sunday farmers' market, provide classes and job training

"People are demanding a closer connection to what we eat," L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti said at the ceremony. He represents Hollywood.

Supporters of the Farmer's Kitchen were honored, including Morton La Kretz, a developer whose projects include the nearby Crossroads of the World and who gave the cafe financial support. Others who helped fund the project include the Community Redevelopment Agency of L.A. and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The cafe is a project of Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles, which runs the Hollywood market and several others. When the Hollywood market opened 18 years ago, a period of redevelopment had just begun, says Pompea Smith, head of SEE-LA. The Farmer's Kitchen is another effort to make a link between farmers and city dwellers, she said at today's ceremony.

As many as 10,000 people shop at the Sunday market, noted Michael Woo, of the College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona.

Set up around the cafe were bowls and baskets of produce from farmers, including Weiser Family Farms, Jim Van Foeken, McGrath Family Farm and Flora Bella Farm. After the ceremony, the cafe provided lunch using ingredients from the farms, including an arugula salad and shepherd's pie.

-- Mary MacVean

 Photo: Gill Boyd cooks at the Farmer's Kitchen. Photo by Ringo H.W. Chiu / For The Times