Access to farm fresh produce is now a little easier for East Hollywood residents, thanks to a new farmers market taking root at the Hollywood/Western Metro plaza.
It's an ideal location for public transit riders and residents who frequent the area for errands, with a U.S Bank and a shopping center nearby.
Organizers hope that the East Hollywood Farmers' Market hours from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays is an added convenience for people who can't access farmers markets that are typically scheduled during the day.
"We wanted something that would be here when people are coming home from work," said Alex Holsheimer, project manager.
On Thursday, walking through the market as cars whizzed by on Hollywood Boulevard, a saxophonist played a tune and Metro riders entered and exited the station, making it feel a little like a New York street scene.
Melissa Watson, who works at a nearby office, took some time to scout out legumes at one of the vendors. With her dog Rio in tow, she also picked up some "puppy grass" as one of the sellers called it.
"I think [the market is] fantastic and so is the location," Watson said. "Usually I take the subway to work, so this is super convenient. I'm really impressed with the variety of the vendors here. They have organic and conventional."
Within a couple of weeks, the market will accept EBT payments. Organizers will run cards and give market bucks to shoppers. For May, plans are in the works to run a Veggie Voucher promotion, which will double market bucks up to $5. The program is made possible through a partnership with Hunger Action L.A.
Getting the market up and running was a five-year effort for the Thai Community Development Center, Holsheimer said. (In the past, Thai CDC has worked to provide affordable housing, small business support and more for the immigrant community in Los Angeles.)
The Center hosted focus groups with residents, spoke with farmers about the market location and sought sponsorships. It received a $67,600 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish the market.
Holsheimer was busy Thursday afternoon helping vendors arrange stands and assessing the market's setup. It's a small space that can fit up to 12 vendors, which means organizers have to keep a narrow focus for the market.
Shoppers won't see prepared foods or retail vendors.
"We really wanted to focus on bringing good produce and affordable produce to the community," he said.