We all go our own way through grief, but the town of El Monte hopes the return of its weekly Farmer’s Market will help the community grieve.
The market is the first community event after the city suspended all city programs following the deaths of El Monte police officers Sgt. Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana on June 14. It runs from 5-9 p.m. Thursdays at the site of the former Valley Mall on Main Street between Santa Anita and Tyler Avenues in El Monte.
Keeping up with summer traditions is one way to find happiness during a pandemic. Savoring the simple joys of strolling through a farmers market can be a source of joy on tough days.
“As our community continues to heal, I hope our events bring a sense of normalcy and unite our community like never before,” said Alma Martinez, City Manager.
The El Monte Farmer’s Market kicked off in 2020, with over 5,000 attendees roaming its stalls offering certified produce, food trucks, live music and raffles. This summer, as in the past, El Monte police will be on site.
“I am grateful to the residents and community of El Monte who showed our department tremendous support as we mourned the loss of two of our officers together,” Police Chief Ben Lowry said. “We look forward to attending these city events so we can repay this support and do what we love most, interacting with our community.”
From Pasadena to downtown Whittier, Certified Farmers Markets have become a staple of many neighborhoods, a regular stop for locals to shop for fresh produce, plants, artisanal food and crafts.
The Temple City version, open from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sundays, fueled by the pandemic. Reduced with Covid protocols (such as one-way entrances and exits), markets were a safe way out of the house during the lockdown.
I’ve always been a market girl myself: eager to find out what fruits and vegetables were in season, checking vendor stalls, and almost always coming home with the same things: a plant and my market purchases. onions, garlic and tomatoes. . I would spend a lot of time discussing the merits of different kinds of tomatoes. Who knew there was brandywine, persimmon and green zebra tomatoes?
On more ambitious days, I pick up avocados, with the intention of trying a new recipe. Invariably, I ended up mashing them in a bowl with sugar and milk, a childhood treat. But the sight of stalls selling summer squash, mushrooms, cherries, peaches, apricots, plums, eggplant and all the local bounty is always welcome. I grab some fresh bread and a pot or two of hummus, and I’m happy.
Duarte joined the market circuit when he launched his own farmers market in June. Located in the Santa Teresita Hospital parking lot, the market is held from 4-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays at 819 Buena Vista St., Duarte.
And I’m sure markets held in Monrovia, Pasadena, San Dimas, South Pasadena and West Covina will mark “National Farmers’ Markets Week,” August 7-13, with their own community celebrations.
At El Monte, I imagine anyone who loved Sgt. Michael Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana and remember walking through Farmers Markets in the past and loving the little things of El Monte, will walk the aisles this summer and remember. Good things. The small things. The simple joys of summer. Bittersweet.
Anissa V. Rivera, Columnist, “Mom’s the Word,” Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Whittier Daily News, Azusa Herald, Glendora Press and West Covina Highlander, San Dimas/La Verne Highlander. Southern California News Group, 181 W. Huntington Drive, Suite 209 Monrovia, CA 91016. 626-497-4869.