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New weekly farmers' market begins on 5th Street this weekend

By Rachel Garcia
Published: Friday, July 06, 2012, at 08:19AM
Rachel Garcia

Two Bits Market, located on Fifth Street between Broadway and Spring Street, will sell coffee, iced tea and breakfast and lunch items at Downtown's new farmers' market.

Downtown residents looking to get their hands on fresh strawberries or peaches will have another shopping option beginning this weekend, with the opening of a new farmers' market on Sunday.

About 15 to 20 vendors are slated to set up shop, offering produce, baked goods, juices and grass-fed beef. A few prepared foods, like hummus and tamales will also be available according to Howell Tumlin, president and CEO of Southland Farmers' Market Association, the nonprofit organizing the new market.

Fifth Street between Spring Street and Broadway will be closed off for the regularly scheduled event which will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Sunday.

Blogdowntown spoke with store operators on Fifth Street and found mixed opinions about how the new farmers' market will affect business. While some expressed concern about street access to their stores, no one was opposed to the market.

The Last Bookstore is located on the street where the farmers' market will set up. Store Manager Katie Orphan said that the people organizing the market were doing a good job keeping her in the loop early on and allaying her fears.

"Our biggest concern is restricted access [to the store] because of the booths and vehicles," said Orphan. She said she is unsure how the farmers' market will affect business and that she is waiting until Sunday to find out.

Two Bits Market sells organic produce, sandwiches and a few specialty items. Instead of being threatened by the added competition from produce vendors, the small shop will set up a booth of their own. They plan to sell pastries, coffee and some breakfast and lunch items, according to Brian Murphy, a partner at the store.

The Rite Aid on the corner of Fifth Street and Broadway, which does not sell fruits or vegetables, declined to comment.

The market is purposely scheduled for the weekend to accommodate Downtown residents who can't make it out to one of the weekday markets located in the area, according to Blair Besten, executive director of the Historic Downtown L.A. Business Improvement District, who helped spearhead the new market.

"This is truly to provide fresh and healthy produce for the residents," Besten said.

The new farmers' market is attempting to appeal to people who live in the newly renovated condos and apartments as well as those living on a fixed income, Tomlin said. For example, vendors at the market will accept EBT.

"It's a challenging community and we're trying to find the right mix [of vendors] to appeal to it, Tomlin explained. He said that finding the perfect combination is part of what makes this market so exciting.

For those Downtown residents and visitors going to the farmer's market this month, Tomlin highly recommends a few fruit staples.

"Head straight to the cherries, peaches, apricots and plums," Tomlin said. "They're what make the market most delicious this time of year."


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