We Need To Talk About The Sunset Strip Farmer's Market

"Well, there goes the farmer's market."

That was the thought ringing through my mind when a news-blast announcing the June 14th debut of the upcoming "Thursday Night Farmer's Market on The Sunset Strip" hit my inbox.

This ain't your grandma's farmer's market, that's for sure. Rows of produce sold in the morning haze of the sun, the only aural accompaniment coming from fellow passersby, local farmers, and perhaps the odd accordion or acoustic guitar playing softly in the distance? Forget it. This one's from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (making it a bit more like, a farmer's market happy hour?) and takes place in the parking lot of the old Tower Records. Oh yeah, and it's going to rock and/or roll!

"The new Sunset Strip Market is not your typical farmer's market," West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang is quoted in the press release. And that's certainly true. In fact, the question is: Can this even be considered a real farmer's market?

Among the hip accoutrements coming next month:

- "In following with The Sunset Strip's reputation as a entertainment destination, live music, comedians, and performance artists will appear weekly."

- "The Pairings Pavilion," an area where "local and international" (emphasis ours) chefs create dishes that are paired with certain craft brews or local wines.

- "The Veggie Valet," a locker-like pen where shoppers can leave their various purchases so they can drink and carouse at the party-like atmosphere of the night market.

Now, I understand the appeal of not having to carry around your groceries. And there's something to be said about getting the word about sustainability and locally-grown food out any way possible. And, trust me, I understand the allure of a party-like atmosphere. I do like to par-tay, as the kids say. But the whole thing seems a bit ... off.

Farmer's markets are about community, visiting with your neighbors, getting to chat a bit with the people putting food in your stomach. It's the reason that piazzas, plazas, whatever-you-call-them-in-your-country exist. Farmer's markets are not a place to get done up, dance, drink, and be seen about town. Just because an event throws the words "farmer's market" at the end of its official name doesn't make it so.

Could this be awesome? Of course. I'm going to reserve my complete judgment until I actually visit the event. But using the already-quoted words "in following with The Sunset Strip's reputation as an entertainment destination," this farmer's market's certainly already starting out in a bit of a hole.

[Photo by Flickr user MPR529.]

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About the Author

Rick Paulas has written plenty of things, some of them serious, many of them not, scattered over the vast expanses of the Internet. He lives in Los Angeles and is a White Sox fan.
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