Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Altadena Urban Farmers Market

If the photo looks a bit homey it's because the Altadena Urban Farmers Market takes place at someone's house.

Granted, it's a big house, but it is indeed private property. If you're local you're likely familiar with the Zane Grey Estate, owned by Steven Rudicel and Gloria Putnam, a young Altadena couple. I can't claim to know them but this past Sunday I stood in the goat pen (beyond the grape vines out back) and introduced myself to Steven, just to have a chance to tell him "thank you." I'm awed at how these two regularly open up their historic home to their community.

John and I thought we might pop up to the market and buy some soap from Anne Louise Bannon (because her hand-made soap is superior to every other soap we've ever used), then pop back home. But just because we don't know Rudicel and Putnam doesn't mean we didn't know about half the people at the market, and that included patrons and vendors. Besides Anne and her wine-making husband Michael Holland, we stopped to talk politics with this one, hiking trails with that one, etc. Our neighbor from across the street was there with her daughter. Michael Coppess from East of Allen stopped to chat. Our friend the Apron Strings Baker was there! She who makes the cookies for A Penny for Your Thoughts, the coolest coffee-shop-within-a-gift-shop in Pasadena, was selling challah and cookies at the market! She sold out, of course, as did Anne. You want the good stuff, you get there early. These folks make and grow things at home. It's small business at its loving best.

Read Felicia Friesema's LA Weekly article to learn more about this unique event. Felicia herself gave me this giant, delicious mulberry when I saw her at the market. You meet the most fascinating people there.

The Altadena Urban Farmers Market is more than a market. It's a community bonding event. Yet it's possible John and I attended the final one. Let's hope there'll be another market in June.

29 comments:

Dina said...

That's a mulberry??
You were standing in the goat pen?
With goats?

Felicia said...

That is, indeed, a mulberry. A Persian mulberry. Juicy to a fault. Tastes like summer and spring got together and made sweet, sweet love.

Great seeing you again, Petrea.

Steven said...

When you see an arch like that you are looking at some serious real estate. It looks fabulous.

Petrea Burchard said...

Lots of goats, Dina! Maybe we'll have a goat picture tomorrow. Trouble is, it was almost impossible to get a picture of a goat without a delighted child in it, and I didn't get any parental permission. I have the legal right to post them, but I'd rather ask the parents.

Great to see you, too, Felicia. I ate that mulberry in about a half a second.

True, Steven. That archway is beneath what looks like an interior bridge or walkway from one wing of the house to another.

dive said...

So THAT's a mulberry! I have got to find me some of those. It looks yummy, Petrea.

Laurie said...

Wow, a mulberry! I've never had a mulberry. Now I feel like I've seriously missed out.

Bellis said...

It was my first time at the market and I hope it won't be my last. Even though I got there too late for the cookies, I met people I knew and felt a real sense of community - like in an English village fair held in the grounds of the manor house. The only thing missing was the tea stall.

Bellis said...

To experience a real English village fete, come to the British Home in Sierra Madre on Saturday June 4 between 10:00 and 2:30 pm. when they hold their June Faire:

http://www.britishhome-ca.us/JuneFaire.htm

You never know, there may even be some British movie stars there, though not, alas, William and Kate. The Queen visited one year!

Petrea Burchard said...

Persian mulberry, Dive. I have no idea if it's different from a regular mulberry. But good. Very sweet, just as Felicia described it.

Laurie, let's hope there'll be another market and mulberries will still be in season! But you'll have to line up early at the gate.

Sorry I missed you, Bellis. No tea stall, but there was coffee. And thanks for the info. I will definitely go, that sounds like my cup of tea.

TheChieftess said...

Altadena certainly is having a rough time these days re: farmers markets and street art!

Desiree said...

It's a party! I zoomed by on my way somewhere else--hope to make the next one, if they have one!

Petrea Burchard said...

Felicia's article says the county has been kind with these guys, Chieftess. So I hope it works out. By the way, the mural got a pass, too.

Hard to find parking anywhere within a few blocks, Desiree! I believe that was a complaint of a neighbor, so that has to be worked out. Let's hope so.

TheChieftess said...

May the Saint's be praised that the mural passed!!!

Glad to hear the Farmer's Market is well thought of overall...when you mentioned that it might be the last, I was concerned that they were being hassled...

Virginia said...

Oh how wonderful is this??? What a wonderful thing to do on a Saturday. Did Bozerino get to go along? :)
V

Irina said...

Wow, they opened their house to community.
I think our problems here are because we do not have this strong community tradition. Besides a lot of other reasons.

John Sandel said...

Irina, this is off the subject of Petrea's blog, but I want to say that Russia's problems are outshone by her strengths. History sometimes goes in painfully long arcs; your people are admired around the world & will bring the oligarchs to heel. I.e., your community is strong as a sleeping giant.

Margaret said...

Impressed that a mulberry looks like a chile pepper. But enough already with your superior seeming homey market. You and your always having fun.

Petrea Burchard said...

So nice to see you all. A few things to address:
V: Boz is not a fan of crowds so we left him to guard the fort for an hour or two.
Irina: What John said. Plus, Altadena is a much smaller town than Moscow!
Margaret: altaDENA. pasaDENA. southpasaDENA. It's the Dena, silly. You were invited.

Speedway said...

Looks like a gateway to special treats -- coffee, cookies, berries -- ice cream, too? Yum!

Petrea Burchard said...

Yes, and also organic skin treatments, home-grown organic herbs, a cookbook swap, hand-made pottery...

Katie said...

What a delightful market concept! I do hope they can get the right permits to keep this going. Although I'd probably skip the goat pen, I'd be very interested in the organic skin treatments and the cookies. (Also, cool the mural passed!)

Petrea Burchard said...

Katie, you'd love the goats. They're used to people, and very gentle. The children were feeding them leaves. It was darling.

Petrea Burchard said...

I forgot to mention that there are classes at the market: how to make cheese, soapmaking, a few other things. It's wonderful. I think the classes are free.

Dina said...

I would go just for the goat petting.

Altadena sounds like what my Yiddish name might be when I get old: alte Dina .

Karen Klemens said...

Steve Hofvendal from Tree People grew and sold those delicious mulberries. He's a member of the Arroyo Time Bank and is the person-to-go-to for all things citrus and fruit.

Petrea Burchard said...

Ha ha, Dina! I think it would be, indeed.

Hi Karen, thank you for the info. And were you there with ice cream?

Next time I'm going in disguise so I can do more shopping and less socializing. I didn't get to half the booths.

Anonymous said...

The Altadena Urban Farmers Market! Urban goats.. what kind is best for a home owner? Matt-Dell

Lori Webster said...

I've never seen a mulberry, either, Petrea. AUFM is a wonderful experience and I'm so glad that Gloria & Steve have started this quiet revolution here in Altadena - it's just the thing we need.

Petrea Burchard said...

Matt, I'm no goat authority. I would say "small." Anybody got an answer?

Lori, well said.