Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Santa Monica Farmers Market versus Carmageddon – It’s on

By now, just about every Angeleno worth her SigAlert subscription knows that the 405 Freeway is going to shut down for 53 hours in mid-July. From the 10 to the 101 Freeways, the 405 will be impenetrable from around 7pm on July 15th to 5am on July 18th. Buses are being mobilized. Plans are being drawn. Farmers markets are preparing. After all, what’s a Westside fresh produce shopper to do in the midst of the Carpocalypse?

Fear not West L.A., because the Santa Monica Farmers Market has your back. The city has three farmers markets that run on the weekend, and all plan to weather the 405 closure. I spoke with Darra Henigan, who is the Farmers Market Coordinator for the city of Santa Monica. She assured me that despite the thousands of people who visit the markets on the weekend, “We want everyone to know we’re open for business.”

Sure, they're open, but how are the accomodating the traffic? “We’re encouraging people to walk and bike to the markets,” Henigan elaborated. “Santa Monica is extremely bike friendly and accessible. Plus we have a bike valet at our Sunday location on [2640] Main Street and an excellent Blue Bus system that runs through the area.”

Still, what if your favorite local farmer can’t make it into the city? After all, the farmers come from all over the state. The Santa Monica Farmers Market has this covered as well. They’ve already announced a “Host a Farmer” program, where generous residents of the city have offered to house a farmer for the weekend. To avoid mini-farmers markets popping up in driveways all over the west side, out-of-town farmers will still be able to park their vehicles in the Santa Monica City Lots.

Transportation is also accomodating everyone’s weekend plans. As the Santa Monica Daily Press reports, “For those who have no choice but to brave traffic, extra buses will run in the Westside and the San Fernando Valley, and additional Metrolink trains will also operate. Bus fare will be free on Metro's Red, Purple and Orange lines.” The Market’s downtown Saturday locations are Arizona Avenue between 4th and 2nd (8:30am-1:00pm) and 2200 Virginia Avenue between Pico and Cloverfield (8:00am-1:00pm). The Sunday location is 2640 Main Street (9:30am-1pm).

Despite the thorough preparations, not everyone is planning on making the run (or walk) for fresh produce. Derek Mast is a resident of Culver City who often shops at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market. Not this weekend. When asked what his plans for produce were for shutdown, he replied “We’re thinking of getting out of Los Angeles and cruising to Monterrey or something. Our plan is not to be in L.A.” 

Image: Flickr/llstalteri 

Correction: The Santa Monica Farmers Market would like it to be known that bike valets have now also been confirmed for both of the Saturday markets that weekend.