Be sure to watch the slideshow above. If you are thinking of the typical Farmers Market where the vending tents pop up for a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday on one of the city streets, then the Original Farmer’s Market will be a bit of a surprise. A pleasant surprise.
The original Farmer’s Market is located on 3rd and Fairfax in the Beverly Hills area and dates back to 1880 when A. F. Gilmore and a partner bought a dairy farm on what is now the land. Later the partners parted ways and among the assets Gilmore retained was the land the market is currently on.
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In 1900 Gilmore wanted to expand his herd and when drilling for more water, he found oil instead. Poor fella! It was soon a thriving oil field that LA soon grew around. The Gilmore Oil Company became a major force in the growth of the automobile industry and it opened many service stations around the nation.
Gilmore Stadium was built in 1934, just before the Farmers Market opened. It became the home for LA’s first professional football team, the L.A. Bulldogs. It also hosted rodeos, boxing matches, swim exhibitions and motorcycle races. And of course, there were the popular midget car races, the perfect fit for a stadium that was built with oil money.
Also in 1934 the Farmer’s Market was born. Gilmore’s son, E.B. Gilmore was approached by a couple of men who wanted to build a village on the corner of the property where farmers could sell their produce. E. B. gave it the nod and the the first trucks pulled in to sell their goods in July 1934.
It was a huge success with vendors soon taking up permanent stalls. It has become a favorite location of movie stars, including Shirley Temple, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, the Beatles and more.
Today the Farmer’s Market houses over 100 vendors, from produce, to specialty grocers to restaurants There is even a World Market/Cost Plus on a corner of the lot. It is a must for shopping for your holiday menu ingredients. In addition to the unique and unusual foods, the market is beautiful, open, airy… and a perfect mix of an old time Farmer’s Market and a modern shopping center.
On the market side, you will see a replica of one of the old Gilmore Oil gas stations, the famous Farmer’s Market Clocktower, open air vendors, shops and restaurants. As you move east into The Grove, it is separated from the market by an antique car parked diagonally across the walkway. I’ll be doing another post on The Grove in a couple of days.