Fresh, seasonal produce sits on display at the Malibu Farmer’s Market. Many local farms and businesses have sold their products here every Sunday for several years.
Photos by Liza Esquibias
I know a place is special when I remember everything about it — the scents, the sounds, the colors.
Located on Civic Center Way adjacent to the Whole Foods mart — run by nonprofit organization Cornucopia — Malibu Farmer’s Market is an outdoor space occupying a quaint library parking lot every Sunday, and it is a perfect spot to enjoy quality time with friends or family.
Local farms and businesses set up stands and there is never too much of a crowd; The farmer’s market is a true hidden gem of Malibu.
I visited the farmer’s market for the first time in mid September when I wanted to cook dinner with fresh seasonal ingredients. As I walked up, vendors waved me into the small but open space, and I felt an immediate sense of joy.
After making my first purchase of a dozen eggs from Malibu local Kaliko Orian — owner of Omma’s Garden — she told me her first farmer’s market experience was in 2015, when she sold her eggs. Now, Orian said she feels connected to the authentic, communal nature of the Malibu farmer’s market and the happiness she sees it bring so many people — including herself — every week.
“We’ve got music, we’ve got placement data, we have all kinds of different food vendors — and it’s nice,” Orian said. “It’s a nice thing to do on a Sunday afternoon.”
The farther I walked, the deeper I got into a more intimate sphere of Malibu I never expected. I felt inclined to find stillness and appreciate everything the market had to offer.
Spinoza Farms sets out bins of tomatoes for shoppers at the Farmer’s Market. The market has long been a perfect place for people who enjoy buying fresh groceries for the week from local farms and businesses to come together on a Sunday.
I loved the different hues of the fresh vegetables, which still had roots attached. The vibrancy of the red Honeycrisp apples sparked a glimmer in my eyes as the words of casual conversation surrounded me. My mind quieted all sound and for a few breaths, I felt completely present.
I admired the local business owners whose smiles widened every time someone made a purchase.
A candle business that mixes Eastern-inspired and moderns aromas called Sholeh Fragrances, run by Khashayar Nattagh and his mother, displayed small bottles full of leaves used to create the candles for passersby to “scent test.” As Nattagh described to me the process of candle-making and his passion for the farmer’s market, he said it is somewhere people go to be mindful about what they put in their bodies and who they buy from.
“If you’re buying melons from here, the melons weren’t shipped from, say, Peru, and that leads to a lot less usage of fuel and greenhouse emissions,” Nattagh said. “It’s a celebration of good quality, high-quality natural food. People come together on that behalf, and I think that’s cool.”
My heart fluttered as I strolled past the flower stand — slowing my step to take in the moment — and the air blew the sweet aroma of roses my way. I observed others staring too, all of us tilting our heads as we appreciated the combinations of pink roses, white tulips and yellow sunflowers the florist was arranging.
The day was hazy and there was a warm breeze. The air picked up salt from the nearby ocean and I could smell hints of the beach. The sun peeked through the clouds of the otherwise gray sky and reflecting shadows of the tents onto the pavement, prompting me to glance up at the signs reading: “LOCAL.”
With every purchase I made, a handshake followed, and our eyes met as I promised I would return the following Sunday and every Sunday after that. After my bag began to overflow with groceries for the week, I found a quiet seat in the shade and took out a handful of strawberries.
At this point, I closed my eyes in an effort to capture the memories to hold in my mind like photographs. I realized I was afraid to forget the ambiance this place exuded — one that is peaceful and tender.
Follow the Graphic on Twitter: @PeppGraphic
Contact Liza Esquibias by email: firstname.lastname@example.org