Watts Healthy Market
This market is centrally located in the neighborhood of Watts at Ted Watkins Memorial Park on 103rd and Central Ave.
I found the market to be pretty good, albeit limited in selection. There was about 1 booth per food type - citrus fruits, greens, potatoes/onions, etc., and while most farmers told me they did not use pesticides, only one was USDA Certified Organic - that was the famous South Central Farmers cooperative's booth (I suggest checking them out - very interesting story). There was one tent where food stamp recipients could check in and get vouchers which every vendor accepted as payment. This tent also had representatives from the WIC program handing out pamphlets, nutrition guides, and books with recipes that could be made with produce bought at the market. I wouldn't say the tent, or the market, were particularly packed, although there was a decent flow of people.
At the market I bought:
- 1 bunch of Organic Kale = $1.50
- 1 large bunch of Organic mint = $1
I also took down prices for many items including apricots, romaine lettuce, bell peppers, and broccoli. As the weeks go on I will be putting prices for each food item into a spread sheet and comparing them at the various shopping sites. Look for the full price report later this month.
L.A. Central Avenue Market
Cute little market in a parking lot at 4410 McKinley Ave. Like the Watts Market, this one was easy to find and had plenty of signage. It was also very small, but seemed to have a better crowd. Right next door there was a beat-up field (no grass) full of people playing soccer and spectators cheering the players on.
Once again, there was a very friendly table with WIC and food stamps programs representative helping people get vouchers to buy the produce. I spoke to the Farmer's Market Manager and WIC representative here at length about the fact that while SNAP (food stamps), WIC, and other USDA food program benefits are accepted at the local farmers markets in LA, most program recipients do not actually go to these markets and spend their vouchers there. The statistic for the participation rate is actually staggeringly low. I will report on that more later on. For now, put your guess in the comment section: What percentage of SNAP recipients in LA County redeem their benefits at farmer's markets?
This market also had a fantastic addition - a little booth at the end of one row with two long tables and a nutrition class going on. When I got there, there were probably only 6 people in the tent, but they seemed to be having a fun time and the whole affair seemed lively and approachable.
At this market I bought:
- A 5lb. bag of Organic navel oranges = $3
- 2 Organic grapefruits - $1
- 1.89 lbs of assorted potatoes and 1 onion at $1/lb = $1.89
Weekly total: At $35
Amount left for NEXT week (which will run 5/17-5/25): $33.84