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New Sunset Strip farmers market starts May 31

May 3, 2012 | 12:50 pm

Gutierrez Farms

One of the most high-profile of the many farmers markets opening this spring is slated to start May 31 on the Sunset Strip, in a parking lot just east of the old Tower Records, right next to the former location of Spago West Hollywood. Sponsored by the Sunset Strip Business Assn., it will be held Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m. Diana Rodgers, who established the Santa Monica Main Street market and then steered the Mar Vista venue to success, is serving as a consultant for the Sunset Strip event, which will start with 40 vendors, 25 of them farmers.

Selecting growers of proven quality and integrity is trickier than it might seem to the layman, but Rodgers has managed to recruit an all-star lineup, including Fairview Gardens of Goleta, Sage Mountain Farm of Hemet, County Line Harvest of Thermal, and Shear Rock Farm of Santa Paula, for vegetables; Polito Family Farms of Valley Center for citrus; Tenerelli Orchards of Littlerock for stone fruit; Cuyama Orchards for apples; Oasis Date Gardens of Thermal, a legendary grower new to farmers markets; Forbidden Fruit Orchards of Lompoc for blueberries; DeyDey's Best Beef Ever of Lompoc; and most intriguingly, Fontanella olive oil, grown on five acres of mature trees in Pacific Palisades.

The market organizers have made a special effort to enlist support from chefs of the district’s many restaurants, who will have an hour set aside for them to shop, from 4 to 5 p.m. Each week a local restaurant will showcase a few of its dishes in a “pairings pavilion,” making use especially of the market’s produce.

Two potential challenges appear to be traffic, which is beastly in the area in late afternoon and early evening, and parking, which is available at a discounted rate of $5 at three nearby lots.


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Photo: Diana Rodgers, left, with Frances Burciaga, a partner in Gutierrez Farms. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times