Phillip did his California Dreamin’ project on The Los Angeles Farmers Market. Below is an excerpt of his essay and the slide presentation.
Commercial about Farmer’s Market that I did last year.
The Farmers Market opened in 1934, when two guys named Roger Dahlhjelm and Fred Beck convinced a land owner named Arthur Gilmore, to use some of his 256 acres of land to host a place for farmers and local artisans to sell their stuff. The idea was very popular and the market grew quickly. In 1941, the famous Bell Tower was put in and the words “An Idea” were written on the side as a tribute to Mr. Gilmore for taking a chance on the market.
The market was successful. Each farmer or vendor paid 50 cents rent for their space. By the end of the 50’s, the market had grossed over 6 million dollars. This was way more money than they had ever expected. Arthur Gilmore even opened up a bank on the adjoining property as a way to manage the commerce. CBS Studios bought some land next to the market and that brings the market lots of business too. Today, the market sees over 3 million visitors and they create jobs for over 700 people in the LA area. More than 90% of the market shops are owned by individuals and run by families. Twenty different languages are spoken there on any given day. It is a very diverse place to go!
The shops at Farmers Market are unique. There are 28 shops in all. They have everything from vintage items to teas and herbs to clothing and gifts. Marcel’s sells imported food items from all over the world! You can buy bons bons from France and chocolate from Switzerland, all in the same store. Magee’s nuts ground fresh 100% real peanut butter every day and they sell over 100,000 pounds of it per year. Bob’s Doughnuts starts making their famous doughnuts at 4:30 in the morning. They have to because they make over 1,000 doughnuts per day!
The Farmers Market has more than just yummy food and great shops. It also has a long history and many stories. The wishing well is located outside of Marcel’s. After an average day, there will be about $35 in change at the bottom of the well. Over the past few decades, the total amount collected has been nearly one million dollars. All of the money is given to charity. There is a famous story about Liberace (a famous musician) coming to the Farmers Market during the holiday season to do some shopping. He left his convertible running while he bought nearly all of the robes and cufflinks in the market. He had them all gift wrapped and then drove off as quickly as he came in. The official website has a lot more stories about the historic events and urban legends surrounding the market.
Food and shopping aren’t the only reason people like to visit the Farmer’s Market. The market has been named the number one place to see movie stars in California by the Los Angeles Times. Most of the famous Directors and Screen Writers like to meet up at Bob’s Donuts early in the morning, before the crowds show up. However, most celebrities can be spotted at all hours of the day, shopping with their kids, dining with friends and even filming television shows such as Access Hollywood and Extra. Some of the more famous historic celebrity sightings are: Marilyn Monroe, Jay Leno, Jayne Mansfield, Walt Disney, The Beatles and President Eisenhower. It is a rumor that James Dean (an old famous actor) ate breakfast at the market on the very morning that he died.
The Farmers Market is a California hot spot. Anybody who visits our state can find all of the best things there, without having to wait in long lines or pay for tour buses. It is full of history, delicious food and great people. It started out as just an idea but it has ended up being one of the most famous places in California.