June 7, 2012
Guess Who’s Judging The Beverly Hills Farmers Market Pie Contest?
Last month I visited the Beverly Hills Farmers Market for the first time. This Sunday, I’m a judge in their annual “Piesta”—a pie making contest combined with a pie -eating contest and other festivities.
I like this market—it’s a good place. I expected, I don’t know, upscale Bev Hills prices and attitude, but instead I found that a bunch of farmers, fruit and farm animals have a way of making the most upscale of places instantly haimish.
That’s Beverly Hills for “homey.”
The BHFM is not crazy-crowded like Santa Monica Farmers Market. It has a much larger selection than many markets—everything you need, in fact—a lot of prepared food stalls, a small petting zoo for the kids, and a mellow feel. Some farmers market transport me—they overwhelm me with a sense of the beauty and abundance of this world; they inspire a kind of walking gratitude, a constant sense of wow and thank you, or, to be more precise, thank You. They aren’t quasi-religious places for me, they are flat-out religious places for me. When I travel, what do I insist on seeing in every city? The synagogue, sure, but also the farmers market (okay, and the fish market, but that’s just me). A sense of holiness infuses both.
And there, smack in the glitzy city of Beverly Hills, you can feel it too.
And, this being Beverly Hills, all that comes with the occasional celebrity sighting.
True story: I was standing at a booth admiring the season’s asparagus when I heard a familiar voice chatting up the vendor. It was Wolfgang Puck. He was alone, dressed in jeans and a fitted purple T-shirt, picking up a few things, tasting and talking. I introduced myself and asked him—yes, I really did—“Do you come here often?” What can I say, I can talk to prime ministers and politicians and celebrities, but I do get a little tongue tied around chefs I admire. He said he does like the market—he’s a regular. Then he went over to taste the balsamic vinegars.
Whether my close friend Wolfgang is there or not, I’m looking forward to returning this Sunday at 11 am for the Piesta (press release and details below). I’m judging along with the L.A. Times’ Jonathan Gold,and KCRW’s Evan Kleiman.
That means I get to eat a lot of great pie made with California fruit on Sunday. And do an extra hour at Circuit Works on Monday…..
See you at the Piesta. Come on by and say hi.
The Press Release: