Pico farmers market offers quality produce at fair prices

The Pico boulevard farmer’s market is open for business. Going on 15 years, the market brings local produce to the public of Santa Monica at reasonable prices.

Among the selection, one can find seasonal fruits and vegetables, along with fresh-cut floral arrangements.

Many vendors agreed that traffic appeared slower than usual this past Saturday, but this hasn't always been the case.

Tomas Ipatzi of Ipatzi Nursery has been participating in the market since its beginning, delivering an array of floral species to his customers.

“It fluctuates from one week to another, but for the most part it’s good business," said Ipatzi, comparing many of his flowers to ones found at local supermarkets such as Ralphs and Trader Joes, adding that they cost up to thirty to forty percent more there.

“At those prices, why would you even bother buying flowers?”

Ipatzi, who is a typical example of the family-owned business model found at the Pico farmer’s market, bypasses distributors and “fairly” adjusts prices based on supply and demand.

Vendor Candi Louriero is an example of another family owned business offering seasonal apples, and is proud to offer organic food at markets such as the Pico Farmer’s Market.

While many of the vendors did not have organically grown fruits and vegetables, Loureiro ensures that her produce has been one hundred percent organic since the day she began farming.

Local customers “are on a budget, know their budget, but still want healthy food," said Louriero about her family's decision to sell at the farmer’s market.

People are becoming more of aware of the food they’re putting in their body, and as Loureiro put it, “even children are turning to their parents and saying ‘mommy, can I eat this right now?’"

The Pico farmer’s market isn’t the first to offer locally grown produce by vendors to the public, and certainly won't be the last.

In fact, both Loureiro and Ipatzi claim to sell their produce to over fifteen different markets held across Los Angeles in a week.

When multiple markets appear on the same day, others will be called in to sell so the vendor can attend both (if the vendor can afford to).

The distributors who fill this community are part of a bigger picture, and Pico is one of the many brushstrokes of the process, and that mission is to supply as many members of the community as possible with fresh food at affordable prices.