Old McDonald’s Farmers Market at Spring & Clark — Bring The Whole Family
2011-04-14 · By Deana Rodriguez
A few months ago, as I was driving up Clark Avenue on a Sunday morning, I was drawn to a batch of colorful balloon arches and a unicyclist on the southwest corner of Clark and Spring Street. A stilt-walker, with lanky legs and smiling face, was spinning a Farmers Market sign. That was enough to convince me to turn around. What was this circus-like farmers market all about?
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve always appreciated my “regular” Sunday farmers market, but I usually left the easily-bored kids at home with Dad or Grandma. However, this certified Farmers Market was colorful, fun and bustling… A newer, larger market, with a dedicated area for kids! I saw bounce-house slides, a petting zoo, a kids’ train that choo-choos around the outer limits of the market — Interactivity!
Dear Old McDonald’s Farmers Markets
(and Managers Jeff & Aileen Friedman):
You’ve got a gold mine here – You’ve made shopping for fresh, local veggies fun for the whole family!
The Farmers Market at Spring and Clark
Since then (when the weather permits), I’ve anticipated packing up the kids and husband, grabbing my reusable bags, and meeting Grandma at the corner of Spring and Clark on Sunday mornings. From 8:30am to 3:00pm, the market forms a big square in a large parking lot, surrounded by plenty of extra parking.
The booths are arranged so that hot, cooked foods and eating areas are assembled along the south edge of the square — My husband and older son tend to linger near the curly-potato booth (and when you see it you’ll know why). When you walk up the west-most aisle toward Spring Street, you’ll find baked goods, ethnic foods, and prepared and pre-packaged foods with samples at just about every booth. It’s like CostCo for the non-bulk, non-processed crowd. Old McDonald’s also donates booth space to a number of non-profit organizations, and donates a part of their proceeds to the homeless community.
Farm-Fresh & Handmade
Grandma likes to hang out with my boys on the north side of the market; she appeases their requests to bond with the bunnies, chickens, pigs, ponies and goats, and supports their giant hamster-ball and temporary tattoo habits. Meanwhile, I wander the aisles, admiring the eastern edge of booths with handcrafted items: macramé stuffed animals; organic soaps and handmade purses; handmade jewelry of all types; all-natural clothing; custom-made outdoor furniture and décor; made-to-order airbrushed items, and much more. Of course the booths in the inner aisles, particularly at this time of year, are abundantly full of colorful plants and flowers and sweet, hearty fruits and vegetables, with more samples and smiling faces than you can shake a toothpick at.
Entertainment & Family Fun
To top off this cirque-de-produce, the Market also offers a variety of entertainment. An Elvis impersonator and the Long Beach Jr. Concert Band drum corps appear every week, and there’s usually a local band playing popular music, or other voluntary musical performers.
Returning to the car with my filled bags of fresh greenery peeking out the tops, we pass the big Banana dancing to the Band of the Week while the Master Ming balloon artist twists balloons and the Bubble Man in the gold lamé suit makes giant bubbles for the kids.
Who needs to wait for Barnum or Bailey? We’ve got a great, earthy festival that comes to town every week right here!
For more information about the Old McDonald’s Farmers Market at 5000 Spring E. Street (at Clark Avenue), visit oldmcdonaldsfarmersmarkets.com.