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FARMER’S MARKET REPORT: Homecoming: Pico Farmers’ Market Is Back:

After a two-year absence, the Pico Farmers’ Market is returning “home” to the newly renovated Virginia Avenue Park on Saturday, November 12.

The farmers’ market was the single most requested feature that residents indicated they wanted to see in the new park space, and, starting on Saturday, the farmers will find themselves situated in a lovely grove of trees adjacent to Pico Boulevard at the west end of the park.

The Pico Farmers’ Market opened in March of 1992 on the former Smart & Final site in a concrete parking lot. Local residents and neighborhood groups had requested a farmers market for the community, and the market’s proximity to Virginia Avenue Park made the market a natural gathering place. Over the years the Pico Market became a community fixture, participated in Edison School fall festivals and sponsored cooking, nutrition and gardening workshops in conjunction with Virginia Park recreation programs. In the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, The Pico Market accommodated displaced farmers from the Saturday downtown market until buildings at the market site were inspected and deemed safe.

Prior to the commencement of park construction, many sites were considered as a temporary location for the Pico market, and the decision was made to place the market at the Santa Monica airport. Pico residents who needed transportation to the airport site were provided with a Big Blue Bus shuttle service. On the opening day of the Pico airport market, bus riders, including then-mayor Richard Bloom, enjoyed a comfortable, air-conditioned fifteen-minute ride from Cloverfield Boulevard over to Airport Avenue – a welcome respite on a very hot day.

During its sojourn at the airport, the Pico Farmers’ market attracted a whole new zip code of shoppers. A recent market survey indicated that a majority of customers at the airport market live in either the 90405 or 90066 postal delivery areas – and that many of the 90066 customers were attracted by the market’s proximity to their homes.

Has enough customer loyalty been built in to the 66-ers to follow the Pico Market back to the park? We shall see this coming Saturday. Survey indications are that most of them will.

The Virginia Avenue Park community, its neighbors, and other local residents will be the extended family that the Pico Farmers’ Market will welcome and serve. On Saturday, November 12th, come on out to the farmers’ market at the park to say hello to friends, neighbors, fellow shoppers and California farmers. We’re happy to be coming home.Pico Farmers’ Market location and hours: Virginia Avenue Park, corner of Pico and Cloverfield Blvd. Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Opening day festivities include raffles, mariachi bands, and sharing of neighborhood memories.

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