Farmers market madness


Amelia Scharff

Every Sunday, Tom Baker ’22 looks forward to the sweet, fresh grapefruits he buys at his local farmers market in Studio City. While he strolls along the tent-lined pavement with his mom, he feels connected to his community and looks forward to eating what he knows to be the best produce in Los Angeles.

“Every week, we get the grapefruits,  and the stand is run by a person named Cassie and her husband Nacho,  and they’re this sweet old couple that just lives on the farm,” Baker said. “They are super cute,  and they like doing it just for fun.”

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, getting out of the house has been hard for Baker, who not only prioritizes his safety but also finds himself constantly occupied with school and volleyball practice. Since the pandemic began, he has started visiting the farmers market weekly.

“I’ve been going probably for three months or four months,” Baker said. “My mom and I go every weekend, and it’s nice to get out and go somewhere.”

Baker said that going to the farmers market makes him excited to eat the delicious produce he bought over the course of the week and brings him a moment of peace in what he feels to be a stressful world.

“Just slowing down and taking a moment to just walk and get some fruit is something so simple, but [I like] not having to worry about college or tests and all that long-term stuff,” Baker said. “I think it always makes my mood better and [gives me] the space to feel relaxed.”

Josie Jennings ’22 also attends the farmers market in Studio City, but she especially enjoys it because it fits into her environmentally sustainable lifestyle.

“We go because it gives us access to more local and sustainably grown food and organic food,” Jennings said. “I think there is a lot less packaging at the farmers market than at the supermarket, and you can bring your own bags and stuff, which we also like.”

Unlike Jennings and Baker, World Languages Teacher Simona Ghirlanda stopped going to the farmers market when the pandemic began.

“Because going there is typically a pleasant experience, the tendency would be to hang around, run into acquaintances and take one’s time,” Ghirlanda said. “I hang around people as little as I can, both indoors and outdoors, and so I do my groceries, fast and furious, in one run a week.”

Although she hasn’t been able to visit any farmers markets for almost a year, Ghirlanda said that she enjoyed going before the pandemic because they reminded her of the markets in France, where she grew up.

“Going to those markets ‘en plein air’ has always been a treat to me since I was a child, and I would go with my grandmother and my mom,” Ghirlanda said. “I also believe in supporting small farmers and businesses  the European way, and so it is one less nice thing that I can do at this hard time.”