I don’t mean to brag but last night I made the best pasta with mussels ever! I purchased one pound of the mollusks at the farmers market that sets up every Saturday morning at Victory Park. They were wrapped for me carefully resting on a bag of ice (necessary when it’s 100 degrees in Pasadena) and more than that… one of the sellers detailed for me a step-by-step recipe for my evening’s spread. That’s what I call full service.
It was my first visit to this farmers market, which is not very large but quite complete in what one can find. I came home with several types of hot peppers, including some fiery yellow habaneros that should make me a great hot pickled onion jar. Fancy looking squashes in shapes that one hardly ever sees at the grocery store, a humongous pear, jalapeño stuffed olives, fresh bread, and big brown organic eggs also made it into my refrigerator.
The various tents announced products from nearby towns like Riverside and Rancho Cucamonga, but most were from northern cities like Fresno, Tehachapi, and Visalia. I spoke to the attendant of the Rodriguez Farms tent, from Fresno, who told me he makes weekly trips to six farmers markets just like this one to sell the harvest of his relatively small farm. From him I bought clean looking round yellow potatoes.
Shopping at Victory Park was an experience that I recommend. Take along your reusable bags (it’s the hipster thing to do, you know), leave your pets at home, bring cash, and get ready to take healthy looking vegetables, spices, oils, flowers, even seafood, back home with you.
The Victory Park Farmers Market sets up every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the 2900 block of North Sierra Madre Boulevard, right in front of Pasadena High School. Get off the 210 freeway at San Gabriel and turn north on Sierra Madre Blvd (towards the mountains). Proceed half a mile to the market and the tents should catch your attention. Parking is free.
Dena Burroughs photos