The Saturday morning Farmer's Market in Pasadena draws enormous crowds, especially during summer months. Every third or fourth vendor offers strawberries - very much in season, and all advertised unashamedly as 'the sweetest.' Stone fruits, berries, even a few apples - along with a glum-faced farmer whose booth promises that his hydroponically grown tomatoes are 'like a tomato should taste.' When I saw this legend on a banner over his booth I started to laugh. I have yet to find a really good tomato (other than from a backyard garden) in any grocery, high-priced or tumble-down, anywhere on the west coast.
The beefsteak tomatoes grown in the southeast are beyond compare.
Haven't tasted the tomatoes I purchased from the cheerless farmer yet. I'm counting on them having a happy taste - despite his gloom.
A year or two ago the parking lot at the market was redesigned. Apparently in order to make every driver crazed. Bumper cars in a maze. Each entrance overflowing with long lines led by a gas-guzzling vehicle, blinker on, unmoving - waiting forever to squeeze into a too-small space. Exiting is as difficult. Every driver in a moving car maneuvers triumphantly down a single lane, while all the other lanes merge to a standstill.
Post script - the tomatoes did not 'taste like a tomato should' - no big surprise. The next time I went to the market the crowds were as big, and the drivers were just as impatient.