Now that summer has come to a close, kids are headed back to school, and adults stream back into their offices, the Sunset Strip Market is looking to be the “5 to 9” for those used to a “9 to 5.”
Three months after the event’s much-anticipated debut, the Sunset Strip Market has seen a wealth of success in West Hollywood, attracting several of the Boulevard’s best eateries to host the weekly Supper Garden, as well as local residents looking for a place to venture on an evening stroll from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday nights.
“It’s been a wonderful addition to the neighborhood,” said Courtney Kemp, communications manager for the Sunset Strip Boulevard Association. “We’ve received a lot of positive response from the residents and the businesses, which is really a great accomplishment.”
Unique in comparison to the stereotypical farmers market, which typically happen on lengthy streets and often cause those streets to be blocked off, the SSM is stationed at a parking lot at 8755 Sunset Blvd., a location that in Kemp’s estimation has done wonders to increase foot traffic as opposed to the normal street traffic.
“This is one of the highest trafficked streets in the city, possibly the country,” Kemp said. “So closing it down for a weekly event would probably not be the best idea. But this lot has been the perfect size for everyone to come. It’s never crammed.”
In addition, according to Kemp, with the substantial amount of cars that cruise along the Boulevard, eyes are bound to wander off and see what the commotion is at the farmer’s market.
“This event has great walkability,” Kemp said. “They’re so many people who live around here who can just walk down the strip that wouldn’t have thought of it previously. But now they have an excuse to get out here and walk.”
Kemp said Thursday that attendance has remained steady during the initial three months of the event. Surprisingly enough, the end of summer, in the world of farmers markets, actually is a positive.
“Summertime for farmers markets doesn’t typically draw the highest attendance rates because people are out of town and their schedules are a little off,” Kemp said. “In the fall, people get back in their pattern and you get the seasonal produce coming in. We’re really hoping now that people are more familiar with the market, that they know it’s something consistent, it’s going to be here every Thursday every night.”
Market curator Diana Rodgers, who has played a large hand in farmers marketplaces across Los Angeles, says that fall is the time in which produce is at its peak, which she hopes drives more traffic to the market.
And to prove the value of that freshness to SSM patrons, weekly restaurants are incorporating farmer’s market produce into their dishes so as to allow customers to envision what they can create in their own kitchens.
“We have top tier farmers and there is great produce to be had,” Rodgers said. “The Roxy sourced 95 percent of the product in their dinner from the farmers. You can really taste it in the food, and we hope people will realize that they can make their food taste better if they buy it this fresh.”