Fresh food in your ‘hood. (organic)

People seem to think because we live in downtown Los Angeles we have little to no access to fresh foods and produce. Which, I think is silly. Sure we have no Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Co-Op, Sprouts, Erewhon or even VP Discount Health and Food Mart (though I must say, I trek it here every now and then for amazing deals, they truely are discounted from their competitors), but we have MANY farmers markets that offer an amazing spread of fresh produce and meats. And to top it off, we have organic markets located in the heart of our community. Two Bits, Om Nom Organics, The Artisan and soon to be Urban Radish opening in a couple of months. Plus, Ralph’s actually offers a huge variety of organic produce and pre-packaged foods.

Two Bits Market located on 5th street (the nickel) is small, but offers fresh local organic foods, produce and organic packaged foods as well as organic coffee, cheeses, and made to order sandwiches. I am always finding my way to Two Bits for more avocados and day old bread for half the price. It’s a bargain!

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Two Bits Market~ Fresh. Local. Organic. on 5th between Broadway and Spring.

Om Nom Organics is a convenient mini market that offers all organic pre-packaged foods that are free of pesticides and toxins. Think mini Whole Foods. Everything for every meal. From pancake mix to pasta and sauces. They have a large assortment of organic teas, toddler goodies and needs, household cleaning products and needs, and even carry Babycakes! In addition to the market they have fresh foods to go! Conveniently located under the Eastern Columbia Building on 8th Street. Plus, they deliver! what? yes, they deliver in DTLA, so really there is no excuse for not eating healthy. click here for the menu.

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Om Nom Organics on 8th near Broadway.

The Artisan House located on Main Street and 6th is another mini market that offers only in-season local organic produce. As well as a variety of organic pre-packaged foods and local cheeses and meats. In addition, they house a mini liquor store of beer, wine and liquors. Plus, it’s attached to their restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Perfection! I say.

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Artisan House on Main and 5th.

Urban Radish is coming soon. Follow their story on facebook here. But with 8,200 sq.ft. of space, this is fantastic news. Said to be slated to open May 29th. Fingers crossed! This is going to be a great addition to the organic local fresh food movement.

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Designs of Urban Radish on Mateo

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Urban Radish on Mateo.

Ralph’s located on 9th between Flower and Hope Street is the largest of markets in the area. I am happy to say they offer a huge variety of organic fresh local produce as well as organic prepackaged foods. So if you find yourself in this gigantic market fear not, they have organic foods, too.

Grand Central Market located on Broadway has fresh local produce as well, though I am not sure about organic. I ask and ask, and every time I go I get a different answer. Oh well, at least it’s local right? Though it is heading into a revival with many retailers selling organic and free range foods like Sticky Rice.

Then we have our Farmer’s Markets!!!!!!

Monday~ Visit the mini markets 😉

Tuesday~ Grand Park 10am-2pm.

Wednesday~ Pershing Square 11:30am-2pm (my personal favorite).

Thursday~ Fig at 7th  9am- 3pm (Above Target) & City Hall 10am-2pm (on 1st and Spring St.).

Friday~ Bank of America Plaza 11:30am- 3pm

Saturday~ trek up to Echo Park‘s Farmer’s Market 3pm-7pm.

Sunday~ Historic Core on 5th street between Spring and Broadway. This is another treasure of farmer’s markets. 9am-1pm.

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Spring is in the air…

And I bet your allergies are in full bloom, huh? It’s time for the bees (what’s left of them) to do their job and pollinate the land with beautiful flowers, fruits, veggies and more. Too bad we can’t tell them to stay on organic plants. Shameful Monsanto is ruining everything and killing our hardworking honeybees! Without them we are all done for. 60+ other countries recognize this issue of systemic herbicide, GMO, and altering our foods… but I digress. That is a hot issue for me. I just watched Vanishing of the Bees and remembered why I only shop organic EVERYTHING.

So, Spring is here and things are growing. I am fortunate to live in an apartment that gets flooded with morning sunlight. I frequent the farmers market at least 3x a week if not more and thought to myself, why not grow the food in my 11th floor loft? So this is what I have done.

Can you see the sprouts?

Can you see the sprouts?

I am growing herbs like Italian large leaf basil, thyme, oregano, and cilantro. I am also growing Big and Delicious tomatoes, chili peppers and an avocado plant along side flowers like, Love Lies-Bleeding, English Lavender and Forget-Me-Nots. It’s very easy to do, especially if you have egg cartons around and lots of good lighting. I cut the top off my egg carton. You can use both the top and bottom to fill with seed soil to start planting. It’s good to start with the soil moist for seeds to grow, but not too wet. After filling the carton with soil, place about 5 seeds in each mound, spray gently with a mister if you have one nearby and cover with a container for a greenhouse like enclosure. I turned my glass “tupperware” containers upside-down to make a greenhouse. Seeds should start to sprout in a few days to a week depending on the sunlight hitting them and water consumption. They need to have warmth and lots of sunlight. Check the soil everyday to make sure they have enough water. I use my tablespoon to apply more water to each dish almost every day and mist the container tops every night. I would suggest labeling your dishes so you don’t forget what you planted where. I always forget. “) Paper taped to toothpicks work great for labeling. Click here for a guide to help you grow from seed indoors.

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Now, avocados are different since it contains a pit. Take a few toothpicks and insert them into the pit in order to have it rest in a glass cup or jar full of water keeping the top inch dry. Place the jar out of direct sunlight and in a few weeks you should see the plant start to sprout from the top and roots underneath. Replace the water when it gets low. Click here for more info on growing avocado plants. It’s super easy and great for teaching kids to grow plants indoors.

I am itching to grow more. Can’t wait to get organic heirloom tomatoes, organic yellow pear heirloom tomatoes, and more organic seed flowers. Remember Chia plants? They’re super easy to grow with kids or beginners. Tell me what you are growing and your experiences. I am so curious.

*I heard through the grapevine, DTLA is looking into a community garden. Hal Bastian has the land, he just needs experienced people to help run it. “I have been offered a plot of land in Downtown to start a community garden and need someone with community garden experience to volunteer to run it. If you know how to set-up a garden, decide who gets the plots and all the business aspects, please email me to hbastian@downtownla.com” quotes Hal. Let’s figure this out and be gardeners together. I need somewhere to put my compost bin goods.

“Nothing but blue skies do I see…”

The weather is warming up Angelenos. How do you spend your sunny SoCal days? Are you an early morning riser or a late night owl? My loft has huge windows that let in an insane amount of early morning light which has me waking earlier than I ever would have on my own. I used to consider myself a late night owl, but now a days I think I am swaying towards the early risers. Watching the sunrise or at least catching a glimpse of the sun just after it peaks the horizon is magical! The sky looks as if someone painted it with watercolors. As soon as I get up the first thing I do is open the windows wide and let in the morning air, so crisp and cool before the day takes over with its blanket of heat.

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Today is Pershing Square’s Farmers Market. Nearly ever day somewhere in the city there is a farmer’s market. Pershing Square is close by and has a large assortment of fresh produce with some farmers selling goods without pesticides, or so they claim. I noticed lots of people taking advantage of the weather, lunching at the tables near the center of the square. I was pleased to see a brand new plot of grass in the center, though I am not sure how long it will last. I filled my reusable bag with as many veggies to last a few days of juicing and a quick lunch with my cousin. As I was walking home, the song Blue Skies was drifting through my head… “Blue Skies… Smiling at me… Nothing but blue skies… Do I see… ”

Here is Ella Fitzgerald singing her version…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epRXoS_P0lk

Enjoy the sun in whatever way you can. Even if it’s only for a moment to close your eyes and soak up the rays, take that moment for yourself, your soul will thank you. Happy Blue Skies to you all… enjoy the California sunshine.

Pershing Square of yesteryear.

Pershing Square of yesteryear.

Pershing Square today

Pershing Square’s only grassy area.

Pershing Square today.

Pershing Square today. What happened to all the greenery? It will be nice when they finally redesign the park. Too much is concrete.

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