The much-loved Malibu Farmers Market has become a town square of sorts, drawing everyone from locals and out-of-towners every Sunday with its array of fresh food, produce and much more.
Written by Jasmine Jetter | Photographed by Tierney Gearon, Julie Wuellner & Suzy Demeter
The Malibu Farmers market is considered one-of-a-kind, not only because of the beautiful location, but because it offers a large array of organic, unique foods that tantalize locals, celebs, beach goers and travelers from all over the world. The market is 75% organic and has a large selection of gluten-free, vegan and body detox items such as charcoal lemonade, and unique seed milks such as pumpkin, sunflower seed, almond and coconut.
Founder Debra Bianco is a second generation Italian New Yorker who grew up in the kitchen, surrounded by a love of food. She and her mother wandered street markets looking for the very best.
“When we cooked, we cooked with love,” she said.
The Malibu Farmer’s Market epitomizes this passion for food and the wonderful experiences it can engender, bringing together people from all walks of life. On any given Sunday you’ll find shoppers both young and old, families leisurely shopping together for fresh produce and flowers, as well as local Pepperdine students sampling the latest from Malibu Oil Essentials.
Another unique aspect of the Malibu Farmers Market is the The Farmers Café, which offers a rotating, diverse selection of gourmet cuisine for even the most discerning of taste buds, making it a phenomenal destination spot for people to come and eat. It’s not unusual to see world-renowned celebrities sitting at tables covered with floor length purple linen tablecloths enjoying Indian samosas, Greek baklava, Challah, Pad Thai and grilled vegetables drizzled with Curry.
Indeed, for Malibu-ites a visit to the market on any given Sunday is sure to yield the familiar faces. And while celebrity sightings are plentiful, Bianco says she doesn’t discuss the high-profile visitors out of respect for anonymity. Plus, she says, the food is the real star.
Maintaining and nurturing community is very important to the market and to the founder. This passion for brining people together was one of the things that inspired the Malibu Market Long Table events, which will glow under a white tent every other month to benefit various environmental causes. The food is a medley of dishes hand-picked from the market’s vendors and farmers. The next brunch will raise money to help animal victims of the recent wildfires and mudslides that ravaged Southern California late last year and in the beginning of 2018. It is events and the support of causes like these that define the ethos and mission of the Malibu Farmer’s Market. The purpose behind opening the Malibu Farmer’s Market was to generate funds to donate to various environmental causes.
“It is clear that given the current fires, smog, global warming that our environment is under attack and we need to increase our efforts to connect to the earth and educate others, especially our youth,” said Bianco. “The future of our planet is not by chance, but by choice.”
This has been the mission of the parent non-profit of the Malibu Farmer’s Market, The Cornucopia Foundation. Since its inception in 1998, the foundation has endeavored to develop programs to help both children and adults better understand the natural world. Various causes that the market and Foundation supports include: California Wildlife Center, Nature Bridge, St. Martins Animal Foundation, Western Alliance for Nature and Poison Free Malibu.
“When American Indians make a decision they think seven generations ahead, how it will affect the earth and the people," Bianco said. "That is why I think the children are most important to give the tools to improve our environment.”
The Cornucopia Foundation was the first in Southern California to get hands-on environmental education into the schools during school hours. This educated students in concepts such as bio-mimicry, bio-dynamics, perma-culture and bio-diversity. The most recent project is the installation of filtered purified water stations in all schools in Malibu. In addition, the Malibu Farmers Market and Cornucopia Foundation plan to provide stainless steel water bottles to the teachers of Malibu. Looking ahead, they want to encourage and educate students to be ecologically responsible for the future of their environment. Each bottle will have the logo #backtoearth to remind them of their connection to mother nature. Ongoing revenues earned from the Malibu Farmer’s Market continue to support projects like these as well as many other environmental causes.
Stemming from the passion of Bianco to offer the best to all of your senses, the Malibu Farmer’s Market is much more than just a regular market. It is a vision of community effort to bring people of all walks of like together and to support the planet while providing a healthy cornucopia of delectable food. The Malibu Farmer’s Market is open every Sunday 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. all year all year round, rain or shine. MM